R744 breaks new ground: London’s legendary Café Royal uses CO2 refrigeration rack

By Pilar Aleu, Jun 20, 2014, 14:24 2 minute reading

Café Royal in London has become one of the worlds the first hotels to use the climate friendly refrigerant CO2 in a refrigeration rack. After four years the hotel has successfully minimised energy use and maximised efficiency through improved design, a high quality installation, and thanks to the integration of new CO2 technology and a vacuum waste system.

In an innovative project, the refurbishment of the Café Royal in London’s Regent Street included the installation of a CO2 central refrigeration pack coproduced by Iglu Cold systems and CCS. The hotel’s 15 cold rooms and over 45 refrigeration units are free of emissions, highly efficient, and flexible in terms of delivered temperature. All units are monitored by an Eco Box, which can also be controlled from a smartphone or iPad.

BREEAM rated CO2 system will pay for itself in 2 years

The CO2 refrigeration system at Café Royal, which has 159 rooms, banqueting rooms, and the famous tearoom, has demonstrated that CO2 is 40% more efficient than traditional systems.

The CO2 system required an investment of €626.000 (£500,000). However, “it will pay for itself in two and a half years,” says David Blinkhorn from CCS, “For every kW you put into the system, you get 6kW out. For example, if it costs €1.25 (£1) to run a unit, you get €6.25 (£5) back in terms of energy. With standard refrigeration, you’re lucky if you get 2.5kW back.”

The project achieves the BREEAM excellence rating thanks to the innovative equipment installed, which includes bespoke CO2-compatible refrigeration units designed by David Chiperfield Architects and a 3m by 2m refrigeration pack.

Green Cooling’s Dave Blinkhorn who coordinated the refrigeration system design commented,” This project was extremely rewarding from a technical perspective and demonstrates that CO2 is perfectly practical to install and operate on any size of application”.

CO2 refrigeration heat recovery achieves 80°C flow temperature for hot water production

One of the key benefits of the CO2 system is that it can be used to deliver both low temperature cooling and an equally flexible supply of high temperature thermal energy that can achieve an 80ºC flow temperature. The heat recovery enables the hotel to use heat-gain to part-heat the pool areas.

Overall the technology provides significant savings in terms of both fuel costs and carbon reduction.

Food waste recycling system

In addition to the climate-friendly refrigeration technology, the hotel has installed a food waste recycling system that converts food waste into electricity. Waste food is stored in a 14,000 litre-holding tank in the basement, collected once a week by a vacuum tanker truck. This is then taken to the Bio Collectors Anaerobic Digestion plant in Sutton, Surrey (South East of England), where food waste is converted into electricity to power the plant.


The Café Royal opened in 1865, and quickly became the centre of fashionable London, frequented by Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kilping, and Winston Churchill.

By Pilar Aleu

Jun 20, 2014, 14:24

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