CO2 freezing new Aldi distribution centre

Italian rack manufacturer SCM Frigo worked with British installers Integral to provide a 1.6 MW distribution centre in Cardiff, Wales with a complete CO2 system.
Aldi UK approached SCM Frigo to design a CO2 transcritical system with the help of installers Integral that was capable of cooling a large distribution centre.
After overcoming initial challenges, the system’s success is encouraging the retailer to consider installing more. It took almost one-and-half years before delivery was complete, Mirko Bernabei, technical director at SCM Frigo, told Accelerate Europe.
SCM Frigo provided the unit and then worked with Integral to customise it, because none of its standard units were the right size for the centre. The 30m3 distribution centre features 1.6 MW of cooling capacity, 900 kW on the medium-temperature side and 500 kW on the low-temperature side, where temperatures reach as low as -35°C. As such it is one of the biggest in the world, according to Bernabei.
The biggest challenge for SCM Frigo was, “to have a compressor that was big enough. For this we worked together with GEA on this project, who provided us with the biggest compressor on the market,” he explained. Each of the CO2 compressors boasts 80 kW of cooling capacity. The system includes four booster racks with parallel compression. It also recovers heat to provide hot water and to heat the offices of Aldi staff, saving on energy and heating costs. It has been successfully operating since October 2016. “Good feedback so far – performance is much better than expected, according to Aldi sources,” said Bernabei.

Aldi planning more facilities
Aldi is currently focusing on warehouses and distribution centres before testing CO2 in supermarkets in the UK. “All platforms for industrial first on CO2, and then if successful, roll it out in stores across all of the UK. Aldi has now launched a tender to install CO2 in supermarkets in the UK, so the results so far are positive and have encouraged them to go further,” Bernabei concluded.  

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