Carrefour to roll out at least 10 CO2 transcritical supermarkets in Italy in 2014

By Janaina Topley Lira, Apr 03, 2014, 14:54 4 minute reading

After recently opening the first CO2 transcritical stores in warm regions, Romania and Spain, retail giant Carrefour plans to trial the system in other European regions with warm climates, with at least 10 new CO2 transcritical installations planned in Italy in 2014. R744.com has talked with Carrefour, enEX and Dorin about these exciting projects to find out their views on the rollout of CO2 transcritical technology in higher temperature regions.

The CO2 transcritical technology will be installed in stores in Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Aosta Valley, Lazio, and others regions of Italy, Carrefour’s Dino Gandolfi of Carrefour Italy revealed to R744.com. Italian-based CO2 refrigeration system manufacturer enEX and Italian compressor manufacturer Dorin, are collaborating with Carrefour on these projects. In their view, this year will see more CO2 transcritical stores also in other warm climate regions, including in Spain, Romania, and the south of France.
 
Wider deployment of CO2 transcritical depends on results from trial stores
 
The speed at which the 10 CO2 transcritical stores are rolled out in Italy will depend on the life cycle replacement of existing central refrigeration units and cabinets, taking into account cost effectiveness, including the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the cost of non-replacement. 
 
The performance of the stores will be closely monitored especially in warmer periods.
After the summer season, we will have a better analysis in order to decide regarding acceleration of deployment of CO2 transcritical technology in Europe,” pointed out Jean-Michel Fleury (Carrefour group).
 
In terms of CO2 stores achieving energy parity with traditional HFC-based systems, Dorin argues that this has already been attained with a configuration that has been field-tested using parallel compression and ejectors. 
 
Several hundred CO2 store installations per year to be seen in Italy by 2020
 
Sergio Girotto from enEx agreed that 2014 would be a period for evaluation.
I estimate between 15 and 20 systems with transcritical CO2 will be added in Italy this year. I believe also that starting from 2015 there will be a strong increase, so all commercial refrigeration systems above 50 kW will be with CO2 starting from 2020, which means several hundred installations per year,” Girotto said.
 
While he presumes that for the moment not many of the systems will be installed in convenience stores, Sergio Girotto argues that there are solutions, which are also very convenient, in terms of simplicity, cost and efficiency.
 
Cost and lack of servicing personnel – current challenges to soon be overcome 
 
Dorin considers the current cost of CO2 systems to be one of the challenges today. However, he believes that the new F-Gas Regulation that foresees a ban on HFCs (GWP < 150) in new multipack centralised commercial refrigeration systems (except in the primary refrigerant circuit of cascade systems where f-gases with a GWP < 1500 may be used) will drive the cost down. 
 
“I do not believe that cost parity is possible in the sense it is often considered today,” commented Sergio Girotto when taking into account the cost of a CO2 rack versus an HFC one. “Certainly the cost splitting is different among the different components of the system. Just to consider one point, the working pressure is higher, so the thickness of vessels and piping is greater, while the welding technique must be of higher quality. There are also more components required and moreover the safety standards are stringent. On the other hand, considering the complete system, including piping, insulation, installation and refrigerant cost, the cost difference between a CO2 and a HFC system is less significant, especially for large plants. The same applies for a system for warm ambient conditions of Southern Europe,” he added.
 
While Sergio Girotto does not see any particular or at least technical difficulties, he points out that “the effort needed to introduce a new technology is considerable, as several aspects have to be considered for each project, such as experience and knowledge of service personnel, training required, and the specific conditions of each installation.” Dorin agrees that the lack of servicing companies could be a challenge in some regions; nevertheless the situation is continuously improving. 
 
Training of technicians
 
When asked about their involvement in CO2 training, Dorin noted: “We cooperate with local associations with a view to eventually participating in the training courses held by them.” 
 
“We are already delivering training,” said Girotto of enEX. “It is not conventional training: service engineers do not need to know how to change filters. What they need is to understand the control logic. We prefer to do that activity combining “on site” training, based on the real configuration of the system, with theory. In this way the new concepts are retained effectively. We also have the possibility of providing training for designers of CO2 systems,” he added.

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By Janaina Topley Lira

Apr 03, 2014, 14:54




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