Two companies with close ties to Brazil – Embraco and Eletrofrio – helped Mig supermarkets go towards R290-based plug ‘n’ play cabinets. Accelerate reports.
Demonstrating that propane can perform in warm ambient temperatures, Mig Supermarkets decided to retrofit its old cabinets with environmentally friendly technology in a long-standing store in the city of São Bento, in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
“When you install a green solution, it is less impactful on the environment,” Josué Cesar Miguel, co-owner of the Mig group, told Accelerate. “When a company has this consciousness, it reflects on to their direct customers, and as a B2C business, it impacts on consumer perception, which impacts on business.”
Brazil’s average annual temperatures of 22-26°C (72-79°F) in the Amazon region and 38°C (100°F) in the northeast can pose a challenge to potential users of natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R equipment. Embraco and Eletrofrio were only too happy to lend a helping hand.
They retrofitted the previous R22-based system – centred on a remote rack system – with freestanding hydrocarbon-based cabinets.
The new cabinets use Embraco's self-contained R290 Plug n' Cool solution. The complete cooling system targets reach-in cabinets for supermarkets, convenience stores and professional kitchens.
Eletrofrio started using the Plug n' Cool solution in its ‘Green Line’ brand of cabinets and this year it installed the system in the São Bento store during the same period.
The work involved changing the cabinets to Eletrofrio’s Green Line. Miguel says the advantages of the system were evident immediately.
“Since we changed some other things in the store, it's hard to measure exactly how much the cabinets impacted on the electricity bill, but the expectation is that the ratio of energy consumption per exhibition area inside the store will significantly decrease,” he says.
“We perceived a significant increase in the ‘quality of the cold’ inside the cabinet.” – Josué Cesar Miguel, Mig Supermarkets
Summer is coming
Mig had feared that self-contained refrigeration solutions would be hot and noisy. “We feared that migrating to a self-contained refrigeration solution would increase the heat inside the store and increase the noise as well. This didn't happen,” Miguel said.
The system, installed in the Brazilian winter, has been able to cope with Brazil’s high ambient temperatures so far. “This year our winter has been crazy. There were some really hot days. So, the expectation is that there will be no problem in summer either,” he argued.
He is also impressed with the improved cooling quality compared to the previous remote [HCFC-based] system that was installed in the store. “We are now using this self-contained refrigeration system, and also doors. So, we perceived a significant increase in the ‘quality of the cold’ inside the cabinet.”