As one of 22 local supermarket companies belonging to Ahold Delhaize, Mega Image SRL, the largest supermarket chain in Romania, shares its parent group’s dedication to reducing the environmental footprint of its activities.
“Mega Image is part of the Ahold Delhaize group and all its actions are aligned to those of the group,” said Vasile Casian, technical manager at Mega Image. “Our commitment is to have as little an impact on the environment as possible, and to make our actions more sustainable.”
Ahold Delhaize is aiming to reduce the conglomerate’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40%-70% by 2050 compared to 2010 levels. To that end, 13% of Ahold Delhaize sites were using natural refrigerant-based systems worldwide at the end of 2017; in Europe the figure was 33%.
For its part, Mega Image uses natural refrigerants in 170 of its more than 500 stores, including propane for chest freezers in all 170 stores, and CO2 in condensing units and subcritical systems for selected cases in some stores, said Casian. And last year, Mega Image opened its first three stores that employ transcritical CO2 systems for all refrigeration – one of the few Romanian stores equipped with this technology.
Mega Image is working with Frigo-Consulting, a Switzerland-headquartered multinational company that counts Romania among the countries in which it has opened branch offices. Frigo-Consulting has engineered and commissioned over 1,000 transcritical CO2 systems.
Casian also frequently reaches out to other colleagues in the Ahold Dehaize group on the topic of natural refrigerants.
“We share and discuss information and experiences that ultimately lead to the harmonization of solutions and equipment used for HVAC&R technology,” he said.
“Our targets refer to reaching a certain level of GWP and reducing our CO2 emissions,” he added. “To reach these targets, natural refrigerants are the best choice and the long-term solution.”
As a member state of the European Union, Romania is subject to the HFC phasedown that is taking place under the bloc’s F-Gas Regulation. Commercial refrigeration is one area in which the F-Gas Regulation, which regulates the EU’s f-gas use, is already beginning to bite. In 2022, bans on using certain HFCs with GWPs above 150 in new centralized and plug-in commercial refrigeration equipment will come into effect
New stores in Bucharest and Constanta
Last year, Mega Image opened two new stores in Bucharest, Romania’s capital, that use CO2 transcritical booster systems. The first, located in the Drumul Jilavei district, opened on in July 2018, and the second, in the Straduintei district, in September.
A third supermarket, in the Palazu Mare district of Constanta, Romania, debuted in April of this year. That store uses Epta’s Full Transcritical Efficiency concept, a CO2 booster system with external sub-cooling that harnesses an intelligent liquid receiver.
“The CO2 projects that we’ve implemented this year and last year have shown that in Romania, there are companies that know how to work with the requested CO2 technology,” Casian said.
He acknowledged the higher cost of the transcritical systems. “So far, for HVAC&R, the CO2 scenario has involved higher investment costs – 16%-45% higher than an old-fashioned synthetic refrigerant-based scenario,” he said.
To strengthen the business case for choosing CO2, Casian recommends combining it with heat recovery.
Mega Image strives to ensure that its own staff members receive all the support they need to use advanced CO2 installations, which can feature num- erous electronic devices. Minimizing the risk of accidental system shutdowns is particularly important, as downtime “can affect the profitability of shops,” Casian noted.
“Our staff in the technical department and the people involved in choosing, designing and implementing the HVAC&R technology regularly attend dedicated training and seminars on using refrigeration plants with natural refrigerants,” he said.
“The CO2 projects that we’ve implemented this year and last year have shown that in Romania, there are companies that know how to work with the requested CO2 technology.”Vasile Casian, Mega Image