Signalling increased end-user interest in natural refrigerants in Japan, METRO Cash & Carry Japan (METRO Japan) said it is planning to replace its R404A freezer cabinets with R290 plug-in systems at three of its existing Japanese wholesale stores.

Kenji Funamori, who is responsible for store facilities at METRO Japan, identified ongoing maintenance costs, environmental impact, rising electricity prices and ease of installation as its main concerns when it looked to move away from R404A use last year.

“There is a tremendous potential in R290 plug-in systems and we want to be among the early adopters of this technology.

Kenji Funamori, METRO Cash & Carry Japan

“Last year, we were able to find a solution that satisfied all of our concerns and that was the plug-in type R290 freezers,” said Funamori, during the Commercial Refrigeration End User session at ATMOsphere Japan 2019, held 12 February in Tokyo and organised by shecco, publisher of this website.

“There is no need for piping work, so no store closure is necessary to make the replacement. Consumption of energy is projected to be 60% of our current [404A] systems which is a significant improvement. The new freezer units are easy to manage and repair and maintenance costs will be reduced in comparison to the old equipment,” Funamori explained.

“Moreover, we consider this project an important step towards sustainability for our company, reducing our F-gas emissions significantly. All we need to make this happen is the opportunity to present our case in the next subsidy round. There is a tremendous potential in R290 plug-in systems and we want to be among the early adopters of this technology.”

In addition, Funamori explained that because each unit is independent, “if one unit fails, the impact is limited and we can always replace the problematic unit”.

Funamori said that the company is now currently planning to replace its old R404A freezer cabinets in three stores, “either in this fiscal year or the next one”.

METRO Cash & Carry Japan is a wholesale business and is part of Germany-headquartered parent company METRO.

The company has been operating in Japan for 17 years and has ten stores in the greater Tokyo region.

METRO Cash & Carry Japan discusses sustainable refrigeration at ATMO Japan 2019:

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