CO2 Refrigeration Systems for Retail Food Applications in Russia

Date: 27 January 2019

Global Trends

The refrigeration systems using natural refrigerants application is gaining the increasing popularity. Natural refrigerants include: 

  • carbon dioxide (CO2, R774),

  • ammonia (NH3, R714).

  • and hydrocarbon compounds: propane (C3H8, R290), isobutane ((СН₃) ₃СН, R600).

At the moment, this refrigeration technology direction is actively developing all over the world, especially in Europe and Japan. 

The main drivers of this growth in the use of natural refrigerants are:

  • Local legislation;

  • Environmental responsibility of enterprises;

  • The described systems' efficiency in comparison with the refrigeration systems based on gas fractionation.

The main barriers are: 

  • Higher capital expenditure,

  • Large security requirements.

The equipment with R774 refrigerant is the most common in large stores with centralized cold supply systems. The equipment with built-in units, which is mainly used in small stores, is mostly produced using R290 and R600. In industrial facilities, such as warehouses and ice rinks, ammonia systems are more in demand.   

According to 'Shecco', in 2017 there were about 12.000 stores in the world using transcritical refrigeration systems on CO2, which is 60% more than in 2015.

CO2 Stories

Source: shecco 

Our partner, the company "Shecco", have been conducting research in this area for a long time, but they have no data on the Russian market at present.

We have tried to add information on worldwide map.

CO2 stories in Russia

In Russia, there are also shops with CO2 refrigeration units, but at the same time, there has not been a consolidated picture of the refrigeration systems using CO2 in Russia until today.

We have conducted our own research to make the information wider and objective and now present the results to you.

At the moment we have been able to collect information about the 31st retail facility with refrigeration units on CO2

Currently, at least 8 stores with transcritical refrigeration systems are operating in Russia.

Foreign retail chains are the basic trailblazers of new technologies, the company 'Metro' is primarily.

CO2 refrigeration units in retail
CO2 Stories

The 31 stores with transcritical and subcritical refrigeration systems are included in these data. 

The first object presented in the report was the 'Selgros Cash&Carry' hypermarket, which was launched in Volgograd in 2014. However, the undisputed leader in Russia in the number of stores with refrigeration units on carbon dioxide is the retail network 'Metro Cash&Carry'. This is a focused company policy in almost all markets of presence. At the moment, the company is actively introducing CO2 refrigeration systems not only in Europe but also, for example, in China.

Number of Built Stores with Refrigeration Units for CO2 by Years

Commissioning Year

Number of Stores











Following the results of 2018, we expect that the number of completed shopping facilities will exceed 10, and this year will become the most active in terms of the number of facilities commissioned.

Geography of CO2 Stories

City Q-ty srories
Moscow 6
Moscow region 4
Orel 2
Krasnodar 2
Saint-Petersburg 2
Volgograd 2
Tula 2
Ryazan 1
Surgut 1
Samara 1
Belgorod 1
Vladikavkaz 1
Voronezh 1
Ufa 1
Yaroslavl 1
Rostov-on-don 1
Arkhangelsk 1
Novorossiysk 1

Operating Experience of Refrigeration Systems for CO2 in Retail

We have received the comments on our questions about the experience of using refrigeration systems based on the carbon dioxide from retailer "Zelgros". Unfortunately, the press services of other networks were not able to provide their answers.


Our questions were posed as follows:

  • How do you rate the experience of operating refrigeration systems on CO2?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of such systems?

  • Do you plan to open new facilities using CO2 refrigeration systems?


Yu. L. Rumyantsev, LLC ‘Zelgros’ Operating Engineer informs:


"Currently, the four 'Zelgros' shopping centres use cold supply using CO2 gas. In all refrigeration centres, Bizer compressors are installed, valves and automation are manufactured by Danfoss," - Rumyantsev reported.

"A cascade subcritical system was installed in the 'Zelgros' shopping centre in Volgograd, which allows combining the use of CO2 (on the low-temperature side) with R 404A freon (on the middle-temperature side)," - the engineer specified. - "The possible shortcomings are low energy efficiency. It is also required the additional cooling when the units are stopped, and when charging it has to use two refrigerants."

"The transcritical CO2 booster system used in the 'Zelgros' shopping center in Odintsovo, Zelenograd and Tula, with its saturation with automation devices that are more complex than the conventional systems, is undoubtedly more expensive than the systems on traditional freons and requires specific components." - Rumyantsev concluded.


"However," - as Yuri Leonidovich emphasized, - "according to the developers: 

  • the cost of installation work decreases because due to the high pressure, it can be used a pipe of smaller diameter;

  • the unit's sizes are less overall, while the energy efficiency increases to 17-20%, as the power characteristics of it are reduced;

  • during the operations, safety for the environment is observed;

  • the recovery system makes it possible to efficiently use the heat generated for heating water from the meat production and auxiliary departments;

  • CO2 is a by-product of various industries, and it is very cheap compared to the traditional freons."


The engineer noted, "The transcritical CO2 booster system has been operated at 'Selgros Cash&Carry' for a relatively short time, which does not allow for a more in-depth analysis of the efficiency of CO2 systems. Nevertheless, it is progressive and will undoubtedly be used in the construction of new 'Zelgros' shopping centers."

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