With natural refrigerants continuing to strengthen their foothold in the Japanese commercial refrigeration market, several CO2-based showcases and plug-in units were on display at this year’s Supermarket Tradeshow 2018, held in Tokyo on 14-16 February.
Panasonic exhibits 100% natural refrigerant-based convenience store at SMTS 2018
This year’s Supermarket Tradeshow in Tokyo (14-16 February) was marked by increased competition in the CO2 refrigeration market, with new player Mitsubishi Heavy Industries joining the fray and Panasonic pushing a full lineup of CO2 products.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI) HCCV1001 CO2 10 HP condensing unit was on display for the first time at SMTS, in partnership with leading Japanese showcase manufacturer Fukushima.
The system, originally targeted at cold storage warehouses and food manufacturers, debuted last year at the International Food Machinery & Technology Exhibition (FOOMA) in Tokyo.
This year’s debut at the Supermarket Tradeshow signalled MHI’s intention to offer CO2 condensing units directly to the supermarket sector, through the partnership with Fukushima.
“This is the first time we are exhibiting our CO2 condensing unit with Fukushima,” said a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries representative.
Akira Fukushima, executive vice-president, Fukushima, commented on the positive effect that natural refrigerant subsidies in Japan have had on demand for CO2 systems.
“Compared to last year, the popularity of CO2 has considerably increased, especially due to the subsidies,” he said.
“This year is the year of CO2.”
At Panasonic’s booth, an entire HFC-free model convenience store was constructed using CO2 showcases, island freezers and hydrocarbon-based bottle coolers.
Electronic displays touted the global movement away from HFCs and towards the use of alternative refrigerants, especially natural refrigerants.
"I do not think that awareness of the revision to the Kigali Amendment and the global HFC phasedown is widespread at the moment, but we are using this opportunity at the tradeshow to help broaden this recognition," said Mitsuaki Akuzawa, general manager for Panasonic Commercial Equipment Systems.
"The response from customers this year has been very good.”