Worldwide, retailers commit to CO2 – the view from CGF’s “Moving away from HFCs…Naturally!” Summit 

By Janaina Topley Lira, Jun 11, 2013, 17:03 4 minute reading

In June 2013 the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) held their 3rd Refrigeration Summit, “Moving away from HFCs…Naturally!” hosted by leading UK retailer Tesco, who revealed plans to double their number of CO2 stores in 2013. Also in attendance were supermarket chain representatives from around the world, including Woolworths Australia, Aeon Japan, and Sainsbury’s UK, together with CO2 system supplier Advansor.

Explaining the rationale behind the CGF Refrigeration Summits, Tesco’s Climate Change Director Helen Flemming said, “Our aim has been to share knowledge so that our whole industry feels confident to use natural refrigerant technology and shift away from HFC gases.”
Tesco plans to double number of CO2 stores in the UK in 2013
According to the presentation by Joe Gomez, Head of Refrigeration at Tesco, there are several compelling reasons for Tesco to tackle refrigeration in their bid to become a zero-carbon business by 2050:
  • Over 50% of the food Tesco sells is refrigerated
  • 39% of Tesco’s energy bill stems from refrigeration
  • 13% of Tesco’s carbon footprint stems from refrigeration
Using natural refrigerants is one of Tesco’s five key goals in their Refrigeration Roadmap, which outlines the following basic requirements for retail refrigeration: failure free, leak free, natural, sustainable, and the right temperature.
Today Tesco has 149 stores around the world using natural refrigeration systems. The first of these was installed in 2009, when Tesco developed an, ‘in-house’ LPR CO2 cascade system, 45 of which were rolled-out. In 2011 Tesco began to trial off the shelf, transcritical CO2 DX booster systems, 20 of which have been installed so far. 
At the CGF Fourm Tesco has announced plans to double their number of CO2 systems in the UK. The retailer will switch all new stores to CO2 where possible, but will keep their options open across the globe to find the best option for different climates.
Aeon plans to introduce CO2 refrigeration systems in all new stores
Akira Shimizu, Head of the Construction department at Aeon outlined the Japanese retailer’s experience with natural refrigerants, and in particular CO2. From 2009 to 2011 Aeon opened 3 CO2 stores, and in November 2011 Aeon made its first public commitment to using natural refrigerants.
Aeon now has plans to introduce CO2 refrigeration systems in all new stores, and over time gradually convert Aeon’s 3500 existing stores to natural refrigerants. The 2012 fiscal year already saw the opening of 7 more CO2 stores. Energy efficiency results from these installations are promising, having so far achieved energy savings of between 20 and 30% and a reduction in CO2 emissions of about 50%.
However, Mr Shimizu emphasised that Japan has strict regulation requiring CO2 to be treated like propane, in accordance with the High Pressure Gas Safety Act. This leads to higher upfront costs.
Sainsbury's has 157 CO2 supermarket installations
According to the presentation by Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability, at Sainsbury’s refrigeration is important to the retailer because:
  • 40% of sales are for refrigerated products
  • 40% of energy consumption is linked to refrigeration
  • 40% of carbon footprint is linked to refrigeration
For this reason, the UK retailer plans to reduce absolute operational carbon emissions by 30% by 2020, as part its 20x20 Sustainability Plan.
According to Mr Crewe Sainsbury’s is the first supermarket globally to commit to natural refrigerants by 2030. Today the company has converted 157 stores to CO2, and uses ammonia refrigeration in its regional distribution centres. As a result of this investment the costs of CO2 have been greatly reduced and are now competitive with HFC system costs.
Sainsbury’s has also set-up a  "carbon academy" that includes CO2 up-skilling of refrigeration engineers.
Woolworths developing small package CO2 systems
In 2008 Australian retailer Woolworth’s stated that all new stores would be Green Stores, using energy efficient building guidelines. As part of this commitment, Woolworths’ Refrigeration Engineering Department published a strategy document outlining the “Roadmap to HFC-free Commercial Refrigeration”, and is investigating different HFC-free concepts, including:
  • COBALT (CO2 On Board All Low Temperature): These are very small package CO2 systems located at each frozen fixture, developed primarily for the smaller fleet of stores. Currently there are three such installations with another 2 planned before the end of 2013.
  • “Hybrid” Booster System for LT/MT refrigeration: The proposed system combines the existing technology of CO2 transcritical booster systems whilst lifting the efficiency for the Australian climate. It is thought this systems will add 15% extra in costs compared to a standard store, but should perform as efficiently as a CO2 DX LT/ R134a system.

Four out of ten CO2 booster systems come from Advansor
Founded April 2006, Advansor is the World’s largest producer of transcritical booster-systems. At the CGF Summit, Torben Hansen presented the company’s capabilities and expertise, explaining that the company has a production capacity of 8-12 systems per week and a reference list of 850 systems operating in 12 countries.
In 2013, Advansor has plans to further develop the following:
  • C-store low cost pack with K65
  • Pumped systems for ice rink and industrial application
  • Condensing unit; MT (3 ranges) or LT (3 ranges)
  • Warm Climate Solutions
In addition it will be rolled-out to 300 CO2 installations across Europe.


By Janaina Topley Lira

Jun 11, 2013, 17:03

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