While Australian supermarket chain Woolworths has focused its rollout of natural refrigerants on CO2 (R744) systems, the company also has its eye on hydrocarbons.
The company is “preparing the terrain for the uptake of flammable refrigeration systems, specifically hydrocarbons,” said Dario Ferlin, National Sustainable Engineering Manager at Woolworths
This move is in response to the growth of hydrocarbon solutions within the HVAC&R sector, such as propane (R290)-based heat pumps, chillers and split air-conditioning systems, as well as self-contained R290 retail display cases.
Ferlin shared Woolworths’ natural refrigerant plans for its 1,076 stores during the State of the Industry – Australia and New Zealand online session on the second and final day of the ATMOsphere APAC Summit 2022 on June 28. The conference, which took place in Tokyo, was organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of Hydrocarbons21.com.
Ferlin also explained the steps that Woolworths is taking to develop HFC-free waterloop self-contained cases for niche applications.
“We’ve been building around one waterloop store per year since 2015 and with each iteration we’ve been improving our design,” he said. “Until now our waterloop systems have been with HFC refrigerants and chilled water [for heat] ejection. As we’ve been building our waterloop stores, we’ve been looking at our [natural refrigerant] options and it really comes down to either propane or CO2.”
“As we’ve been building our waterloop stores, we’ve been looking at our [natural refrigerant] options and it really comes down to either propane or CO2.”Dario Ferlin, Woolworths
With a goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 63% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, part of Woolworths’ efforts is to transition to natural refrigerants, explained Ferlin.
Want to find out more, or have something to say about this story? Join the ATMO Connect network to meet and engage with like-minded stakeholders in the clean cooling and natural refrigerant arena.