Accelerate Europe announces 2018 award winners

Date: 23 November 2018

METRO AG, Unilever, E.ON Sweden, GEA and Sergio Girotto today received Accelerate Europe awards for advancing natural refrigerant adoption.

The Accelerate Europe award winners from left to right: Olaf Schulze, METRO AG; Manuel Fröschle, GEA; Fabio Roberti, Unilever; Sergio Girotto, enEX; and Kenneth Hoffmann, GEA (accepting the award on behalf of E.ON Sweden).

The awards ceremony was held during the ATMOsphere Europe conference at Lago di Garda, Italy (19-21 November).

The five awards recognise the companies and individuals that have done the most to advance natural refrigerant adoption in three categories.

The Best-in-Sector awards went to METRO AG (food retail), Unilever (light commercial) and E.ON Sweden (industrial). The Innovation of the Year award went to GEA for the BluQ. And the winner of the Person of the Year award is Sergio Girotto, president of Italian manufacturer enEX.

Accelerate magazines and ATMOsphere conferences are both produced by shecco, a global market accelerator for natural refrigerant systems and the publisher of this website.

Germany-based METRO AG is a world-leading international wholesale and food retail company that has built a global reputation for environmental protection by committing to reduce CO2 emissions across the group by 50% by 2030 (vs. 2011 levels).

The METRO Group’s F-Gas Exit Program helps to deliver this target. In place since 2013, it aims to phase out f-gases in all METRO stores worldwide by 2030, replacing them with natural refrigerant systems where it is technically and economically feasible to do so.

The 2018 award recognises METRO’s commitment to natural refrigerants in markets such as Russia and China in particular. The installation of China’s first transcritical CO2 system in the retail sector, in a METRO wholesale store in the Lishuiqiao area of Beijing (which opened in January 2018), was the first step in a journey that will see the German multinational fit transcritical systems in all its new Chinese stores by 2025 .

Olaf Schulze, METRO AG’s director of facility, energy and resource management, received the Best-in-Sector – Food Retail award on the group’s behalf.

Unilever picked up the ‘Best-in-Sector – Light Commercial’ award. The Dutch-British transnational consumer goods giant was recognised for its commitment to hydrocarbons, which it decided to adopt in 1999. By 2016, Unilever had 2.2 million hydrocarbon cabinets. It prefers to use R290 and R600a for low-temperature applications.

E.ON, one of the world’s largest investor-owned electric utility service providers, completed a 40 MW ammonia heat pump project for district heating in the harbour area of the city of Malmö , Sweden in December 2017.

The ‘Best-in-Sector – Industrial’ award-winning project features four GEA ammonia heat pumps, each with a heating capacity of 10 MW, which use the heat from Malmö’s sewage treatment and waste incineration plants to deliver heating to approximately 100,000 homes in the Swedish city.

Person of the Year

Sergio Girotto – the Accelerate Europe Person of the Year 2018 – designed the first CO2 transcritical supermarket, in 1999. In 2001, he installed the first-ever CO2 transcritical system in a large supermarket. He founded his company, enEX, in 2004. enEX has produced over 1,000 CO2 transcritical systems.

Girotto has patented a number of products and system designs. Among his personal favourites is a liquid ejector for overfeeding evaporators, the potential of which he believes is yet to be fully exploited. “It could be the Columbus’ Egg for further simplifying refrigeration systems,” he told Accelerate Italy magazine – produced by shecco, publisher of this website – in an exclusive interview about his career and his vision for natural refrigerants .

Innovation of the Year

This year’s winner of the Innovation of the Year award is German multinational GEA for the BluQ, a low-charge NH3chiller for air conditioning large buildings. For the second year running, the public chose the Innovation of the Year. This time, people were also able to vote in the week prior to the conference.

“METRO, Unilever and E.ON are all worthy winners in extremely competitive awards categories, while GEA should be proud that the BluQ has been selected by the public as our Innovation of the Year from a field of very worthy candidates,” said Marc Chasserot, CEO of shecco.

“Sergio Girotto is well-respected in the HVAC&R sector for his pioneering role in developing CO2 transcritical systems for supermarkets and for his long history of innovating with this natural refrigerant,” Chasserot added.


Find out more on our website about: HVAC, refrigeration, air conditioning, R290, R600a, heat pump, ammonia, CO2

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