US, Canadian retailers put their faith in natural refrigerants

5th edition of ATMOsphere America – held at the Westin Michigan Avenue on June 16-17 – was the biggest ever, attracting 340 participants from over 140 companies. 'Natural refrigerants are the end game' As natural refrigerant solutions become more popular in the United States, participants in the event heard how there is increasing competition between different natural refrigerant-based technologies – whether R744, hydrocarbons or ammonia – for commercial refrigeration. “Natural refrigerants are the end game,” said Keith Milligan of Piggly Wiggly, a self-service grocery chain with over 750 stores servicing communities in 18 states, highlighting the company’s commitment “to using natural refrigerants in every new store we build”. At first, Piggly Wiggly considered all options on the table for improving efficiency and environmental performance across its store portfolio. But with the cost of synthetic alternatives to climate-damaging HFCs “skyrocketing” and the Environmental Protection Agency continuing to blacklist more high-GWP refrigerants under the SNAP programme, Piggly Wiggly soon became “fed up of changing our refrigerants to the latest and greatest synthetic refrigerant every few years” – and opted for natural refrigerants instead, Milligan explained. Piggly Wiggly’s high-efficiency store blueprint uses natural refrigerants ammonia and CO2 in a cascade refrigeration system that harnesses technological innovations like an evaporative condenser, heat reclaim. Moreover, the firm sees its use of natural refrigerants as part of a wider sustainability strategy that encompasses LED store lighting, reduced lighting power density, and high-efficiency display cases. Piggly Wiggly is reaping the benefits of installing ammonia-CO2 cascade systems in its stores. Heatcraft’s Masood Ali puts the cumulative savings to date at $33,170, equal to a 28.5% reduction in energy costs. Source: R744.com  

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