EIA’s ‘Chilling Facts V’: CO2, hydrocarbons and ammonia, the natural choice for supermarkets

By Simon Burkel, Sep 19, 2013, 13:57 3 minute reading

‘Chilling Facts V’, the latest report in the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) series has found a significant rise in the number of stores adopting HFC-free refrigeration systems. The 2013 report assesses which of the 21 leading EU supermarket chains, including several in the UK, have taken action to eliminate high-GWP HFCs from their fridges.

EIA’s annual report focusing on the use of climate-harmful refrigerants in major supermarket chains in the UK and Europe, has shown a significant increase in retailer investment in natural refrigerants, in particular CO2 and hydrocarbons.
Over 1,000 HFC-free systems across Europe  
According to the report, the number of hybrid cooling systems across Europe has risen to 589 and more than 1,000 stores using HFC-free systems. In addition thousands of stores in Europe are using plug- and-play hydrocarbon units as their frozen food integrals. The number of HFC-free or hybrid technology systems being used in UK stores has increased by 24 per cent compared to 2012, bringing the total number of systems to 428.  
Among the 21 supermarkets contacted by EIA, a core group is making particularly impressive efforts to reduce the climate impact of their refrigeration systems, including Coop Schweiz, Coop UK, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Royal Ahold, Aldi Süd, Tesco and Waitrose. Each of these has been highlighted as an ‘EIA Green Cooling Leader’ due to the outstanding efforts they are making. 
The report praises the efforts of Swiss supermarkets in terms of rolling out natural refrigeration systems. Many British retailers also lead the way in both developing and rolling out HFC-free technologies.
Performance of the  ‘EIA Green Cooling Leaders’
  • Royal Ahold has increased number of CO2/HFC stores by 30 per cent, to a total of 227 stores in the Netherlands and Belgium. 
  • Coop Schweiz is operating about 200 stores on 100% CO2 technology, representing an increase of 30 per cent compared to 2012.
  • Tesco is operating 149 HFC-free systems in stores across the globe, 84 of which are non-UK including 5 in China and 6 in South Korea.
  • Marks & Spencer is running 76 stores on alternative refrigeration systems (mostly CO2/HFC hybrids).
  • Waitrose has reached a total number of 98 HFC-free stores this year
  • Coop UK has installed HFC-free cooling with hydrocarbon freezer and fridge integrals in over 2,400 stores
  • Aldi Süd operates 151 stores with HFC-free cooling technology and a further 49 using CO2/HFC hybrids.
  • Migros has reached a total number of 213 HFC-free stores in 2013
Investment in HFC-free technology accompanied by increased efficiency
The retailers that responded to the survey highlighted the energy efficiency savings of new HFC-free systems. Coop Schweiz found annual energy efficiency improvements of 30 per cent over its previous HFC systems, with additional heat recovery benefits, while Carrefour’s HFC-free store in Turkey reports energy efficiency improvements of about 15 per cent.
Supermarkets across Europe at vastly different stages in HFC phase out 
While the EIA points out the positive efforts made by some retailers, the gap between those taking their environmental responsibilities seriously and those who are not is growing, The EIA argues that well-crafted legislation would support progressive retailers and stimulate demand for alternative technologies, which would in turn lead to a significant reduction in capital costs. 
About Chilling Facts
The fifth edition of the ‘chilling facts’ report was released by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and investigates retailers approach to refrigeration in UK and Europe. The EIA is a UK-based Non Governmental Organisation and charitable trust investigating and campaigning on a wide range of environmental issues, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.


By Simon Burkel

Sep 19, 2013, 13:57

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