Some 350 experts from over 150 companies and 25 countries gathered at the Crowne Plaza Fira Center Hotel on 19-20 April to hear from experts about the latest policy, market and technology trends driving the uptake of natural refrigerants in Europe.
Food retailers putting natural refrigerants….
“In new and remodelled stores, METRO AG has been using only natural refrigerants – where technically possible – since 2013,” said Olaf Schulze, the German retailer’s director of facility, energy and resource management.
METRO AG is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 2011 levels, primarily by reducing energy demand in stores, introducing green energy sources, and reducing refrigerant leakages. Central to this is the company’s F-Gas Exit Program for transitioning away from HFCs by 2030, which was the driving force behind a decision to begin adopting natural refrigerants in 2013.
Schulze explained that METRO AG currently operates 40 CO2 transcritical and 58 CO2 subcritical stores, with an additional 52 CO2 stores planned for 2016. “We hope to be able to say next year that we are introducing CO2 transcritical to China, India and Russia,” he said.
Belgian retailer Colruyt is planning to install hydrocarbon refrigeration systems in many stores. It has already fitted propane (R290) systems in Bio Planet stores in Mons, Hasselt and Jambes, with R290 refrigeration also to be installed in the first Colruyt and OKay-branded supermarkets in 2016. “Our goal is to equip 40 shops per year with a propane refrigeration unit,” said Collin Bootsveld, a project engineer at Colruyt Group.
…at the heart of their sustainability strategies
Delhaize, another Belgian retailer, is putting natural refrigerants at the heart of its strategy to reduce the global warming potential of its stores and slash the company’s CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020 and by 40-70% by 2050. “Delhaize Group is committed to increasing the number of natural refrigerant systems where they are feasible and cost-effective,” said David Schalenbourg, director of the Delhaize Group’s technical department for Belgium and Luxembourg.
Delhaize’s use of natural refrigerants is part of a bigger picture of corporate social responsibility towards its customers. “Our aim is to lead the way, help transform the marketplace and show others what is possible,” said Schalenbourg,
In Belgium, Delhaize currently has eight CO2 transcritical stores and nine R290 stores, with a further three CO2 transcritical stores in operation in the US. In Romania, meanwhile, the group operates 93 R290 systems.
The company is currently working to optimise the efficiency of its CO2 systems, for example by testing new ejector technology. It is also planning to roll out more plug-in R290 systems in its stores, and is testing CO2 refrigeration equipment for transport.
UK supermarket giant Sainsbury’s recently installed its 200th CO2 refrigeration system, at Abbey Wood in southeast London. Refrigeration Design Manager Paul Arrowsmith said that adopting CO2 refrigeration had already saved the firm 330,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to lighting 1.7 million domestic buildings for a year.
Arrowsmith outlined how fitting a CO2 refrigeration system at its Olympic Way store in Wembley had reduced average weekly electricity consumption for refrigeration by 37.8%, resulting in a payback period of 14.15 months and annual CO2 emission savings of 70 tonnes.
Harnessed in partnership with other innovations like heat reclaim and destratification fans, he demonstrated how the refrigeration system had become an integral part of a wider sustainability package capable of reducing average weekly electricity consumption by 56.8%.
Carrefour, meanwhile, has responded to the phase-out of HFCs under the EU’s F-Gas Regulation by fitting smaller cabinets and by investing in technological innovations like parallel compression, sub-coolers and ejectors.
For more information on Carrefour’s activities using natural refrigerants, look out for the June edition of Accelerate Europe magazine.