Delhaize Belgium targets HFC-free future

Delhaize Belgium, part of retail giant Ahold Delhaize, joined other market leaders in outlining their natural refrigerant strategies at ATMOsphere Europe.

Food retail panel, ATMOsphere Europe, from left to right: David Schalenbourg (Ahold Delhaize), Adeleke Ige (Wallgreens Boots Alliance), Olaf Schulze (METRO AG), Collin Bootsveld (Colruyt Group), Per-Erik Bootsveld (ICA).

The new EU F-Gas Regulation, which entered into force in 2015, is progressively banning the use of certain HFCs in different types of new equipment. Leading European retailers are adopting natural refrigerants instead, heard participants at ATMOsphere Europe in Berlin.

“By 2030, we’ll be HFC-free,” said David Schalenbourg, director of department – building projects, format & maintenance at Delhaize Belgium (part of Ahold Delhaize Group).

Commercial refrigeration is one area in which the EU F-Gas Regulation is already beginning to bite. In 2022, bans on using certain HFCs with GWPs above 150 in new centralised and plug-in commercial refrigeration equipment will come into effect.

“For bigger stores, we’re adopting CO2 by default. For smaller stores, we’re very interested in hydrocarbons,” said Schalenbourg.

The Ahold Delhaize group encompasses 21 local brands across some 6,500 stores around the world. By 2050, the group is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70% compared to 2010 levels.

13% of the group’s sites already have natural refrigerant-based installations.

We’re committed to increasing the number of natural refrigerant systems where they are feasible and cost-effective.
– David Schalenbourg, Ahold Delhaize

This month, a Delhaize store in Belgium will open with an urban farm on its roof. The store boasts a CO2 transcritical system with heat reclaim.

The Wallgreens Boots Alliance is also moving towards natural refrigerants. Of UK health and beauty retailer Boots’ 3,000 stores, approximately 800 have food refrigeration.

“Our model is based on small to medium commercial sizes, so the options are hydrocarbons and CO2,” said Adeleke Ige, technical engineering manager at Boots, speaking on behalf of the Wallgreens Boots Alliance.

The company is carrying out trials and pilot schemes for a variety of natural refrigerant solutions, including a self-contained system based on proplylene (R1270), a remote DX CO2 system, a remote, hydrocarbon-chilled water-pumped glycol system with direct cooling, and a remote hydrocarbon-chilled water-pumped glycol system with R1270 cooling.

ICA Group operates supermarkets in Sweden (36% market share) and the Baltics (16%). It opened its first store with 100% natural refrigerants in 1995, and now boasts some 150 stores with 100% natural refrigerants in Sweden. Since 2010, the standard blueprint has been CO2 transcritical.

“We feel pretty comfortable with CO2 technology,” said Per-Erik Jansson from ICA Group.

ICA actively breaks barriers to HFC-free stores.
– Per-Erik Jansson, ICA Group

Collin Bootsveld, project engineer at Belgium’s Colruyt Group, said the retailer currently had 35 sites operating with natural refrigerants. Colruyt is moving towards 100% hydrocarbons in its stores. In 2017, two of its OKay convenience stores will become completely fossil fuel-free.

“Kigali has helped us to make the case for natural refrigerants internally,” said Olaf Schulze, director of energy management at retail giant METRO AG, which has operations as far afield as China.

METRO’s F-Gas Exit Program is phasing out f-gases and replacing them with natural refrigerants worldwide where technically and economically feasible.

Some 140 METRO Cash & Carry stores already use CO2. 60 of these are CO2 transcritical. In 2017, METRO AG will open a Cash & Carry store with a CO2 transcritical system in China.

By Andrew Williams

Oct 11, 2017, 15:25

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