SUPERVALU opens it’s first all natural refrigerant store

By Janaina Topley Lira, Aug 10, 2012, 15:40 2 minute reading

This summer SUPERVALU INC. opened its first all-natural refrigerant grocery store in Carpinteria, CA. The Albertson’s store, which stayed open throughout the remodel, has refrigeration systems that use carbon dioxide, ammonia, and propane. The project was a partnership between Source Refrigeration, CTA Architects/Engineers, Hill PHOENIX, Mayekawa Manufacturing Company, Danfoss, and Eleven Western Builders, Inc.

“This project is a testament to SUPERVALU's commitment to natural refrigerants and sustainability,” says Richard Heath, Director of energy innovations and projects for SUPERVALU. 
According to Jim Armer, P.E. CTA Architects Engineers, Refrigeration Group Manager, the natural refrigerant solution will allow SUPERVALU “to prepare for the future, for any refrigerant modifications that could be required in the US.” 
SUPERVALU’s Next Generation refrigeration System “operating like a champ”
SUPERVALU, a founding member of the GreenChill Partnerhsip has over the years invested in various types of systems ranging from glycol to ammonia. The latest installation at the Carpinteria store is an innovative ammonia installation that has a Mayekawa ammonia primary system on top of a Hill PHOENIX CO2 system for the medium temperature cascaded to a DX system on the low temperature side. Specifically the system includes: 
  • Ammonia primary system with 250 lbs (approximately 113 kg) of ammonia located in an outdoor enclosure that will condense CO2;
  • A water cooled system that allows for a reduction in refrigerant charge;
  • “Combined” CO2 refrigeration system with one vessel that contains liquid pumped to the low and medium temperature display cases and walk-in cabinets;
  • R290 spot display case.
The system has been operating for a month, and according to Mr Heath “has been operating like a champ.”
Mark Tomooka, of Mayekawa said “The key success factor was working with an industry development partner like SUPERVALU who is willing to pioneer environmentally friendly refrigeration solutions in the supermarket industry. This process is also a learning experience to all the partners since this has never been done before. Since the process of change can be difficult, a committed development partner like SUPERVALU is required to pull the industry in a new and exciting direction.”
The project has required many resources and much collaboration. “Key to the success of a project like this is a strong partnership between all suppliers,” said Richard Heath.
On-site comparison between natural refrigerant and R407A system 
An on‐site comparison is being made between the ammonia primary system and a redundant R407A primary system. The result from this comparison will allow SUPERVALU and the industry to understand the achievable balance of Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI), equipment and operating costs, maintenance considerations, and repeatability. 
The following results are anticipated:
  • 29% TEWI reduction for the NH3/CO2 system compared to the R407A/CO2 system;
  • 15% compressor saving for the NH3/CO2 system compared to the R407A/CO2 system;
  • 18% first cost increase for the NH3/CO2 system compared to the R407A/CO2 system;
  • 35% life cycle cost increase for the NH3/CO2 system compared to the R407A/CO2 system.
Overall the TEWI reduction compared to an R407A DX are expected to be 77% for the R407A/CO2 systems and 84% for the NH3/CO2 cascade system.


By Janaina Topley Lira

Aug 10, 2012, 15:40

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