Over the last five years Argentinian retailers have grown increasingly aware of the benefits of CO2-based technology. “During the last [few] years, we have talked with key supermarket chains about its advantages in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Germán Smitt, a director at EPTA Argentina.
Energy savings of around 21%
One indicator of how the market for natural refrigerants is moving forward is the September 2015 installation of the system at a Walmart store in Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. The project, which is the first of its kind in this region, features two so-called ‘Packs’, each comprising four compressors for medium and high temperatures and three compressors for low temperatures.
Except for certain installation requirements specific to the location and climate, the system is exactly the same as that used in Europe.
It has a cooling capacity of:
- 270 Kw – Medium-temperature cabinets and cool rooms.
- 50 Kw – Laboratories.
- 70 Kw – Cabinets and cool rooms.
Due to the climate in Buenos Aires, the system will work in subcritical conditions during a significant number of days per year.
The installation was designed to deal with higher temperatures, while also optimising the Coefficient Of Performance (COP) and energy savings. To achieve this, the system and racks used in the installation can operate in transcritical mode for high temperatures. To help ensure efficiency, the installation also uses parallel compression and sub-cooling systems.
The system also uses Carel technology. The company’s application specialist Nicola Pieretti explains that the special feature of this plant is its “triple suction line management” with just one controller.
CAREL proposes the pR300T CO2 pack controller performing the triple suction line management in addition to fully integrated control of the system, allowing parallel compression management in the main and only one board to be compatible with small-medium rack features.”
Other projects of reference:
- CO2 cascade system at a Walmart store, 2013.
- CO2 transcritical (TC) system installed at one of local supermarket chain. SAIEP’s stores, 2014.
- CO2 TC system for SAIEP, 2015.
We find extremely positive the greater uptake of this technology in Argentina for three different reasons: improved energy savings compared to traditional systems; it is respectful of the environment and complies with legislation that will certainly regulate more closely topics regarding energy savings and pollution.”
Future outlook for CO2 technology in South America
The uptake of CO2 as a refrigerant in Latin America is still in its early stages. Brazil is one of the countries with the most installations so far (mainly cascade systems).
“In the next [few] years, we expect the technology to grow as it is becoming more popular within the industry and retailers,” said Smitt, adding: “We are also starting to take into account the suggestions of UNEP at the national level.”
In this regard, the Chilean environment ministry has launched a management plan to phase out HCFCs. Argentina is also working with UNIDO on some specific projects.
EPTA, meanwhile, is present throughout Latin America and is currently working on projects with retailers in different locations including Chile, Ecuador and Argentina.