Hill PHOENIX announced today that it has received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use carbon dioxide (CO2), which occurs naturally in the environment, as a replacement for hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) in retail refrigeration.
“We thank Hill PHOENIX for their leadership in submitting a SNAP application and for their cooperation during our review. I am glad to see Hill PHOENIX’s continued leadership in the supermarket industry in providing options that protect the ozone layer and significantly reduce impacts on the climate," says Drusilla Hufford, director of EPA’s Stratospheric Protection Division.
“I am also proud of the fact that a GreenChill Partner has taken the lead in the industry to make sure that food retailers continue to have as many options as possible for environmental improvements."
Hill PHOENIX conducted lab and field testing for more than a year before submitting its SNAP application and will continue to test CO2 in projects this fall. It will begin offering CO2 as a refrigerant option in both its Second Nature® low temperature and medium temperature products in late 2009. As well as replacing R-22, CO2 can be used to replace R-507A or R-404A, HFCs that are commonly used in large amounts as a secondary refrigerant in retail refrigeration.
“CO2 is an excellent refrigerant with superior thermodynamic and transport properties, compared to the HFCs in use today,” says David Hinde, Hill PHOENIX manager of research & development. “It will not only significantly reduce the potential for global warming, but the refrigeration systems that incorporate CO2 will also see a reduction in energy consumption.”
Hill PHOENIX sources say that by replacing the HFCs with CO2 as the secondary heat transfer fluid, a supermarket’s display cases and walk-in freezers will be able to utilize this natural refrigerant to chill perishable products while dramatically lowering the release of ozone-depleting refrigerants.
“In typical direct expansion refrigeration systems, the field-installed piping used to distribute HFCs inherently leaks, with significant refrigerant emissions through joints and valves. In fact, the average supermarket leak rate is around 20 to 25 percent per year. That amount of refrigerant leaking into the atmosphere contributes to global warming,” explains Hinde. But, says Hinde, by using CO2, refrigeration systems will be able to reduce HFC refrigerant leaks as well as reduce the HFC charge anywhere from 60 to 90 percent. The sustainability savings that will result from the elimination of refrigeration leaks that occur over time will be equivalent to more than 1,600 tons of carbon emissions over 10 years.
While Hill PHOENIX was the first to receive SNAP approval for CO2 use in supermarkets as a replacement for HCFCs, the company believes it benefits the entire industry because all manufacturers can apply the technology.
“Many retail food operators are already working hard to reduce their carbon footprint,” notes Scott Martin, director of sustainable technologies for Hill PHOENIX. “CO2 technology gives them one more choice to help achieve their sustainability goals.”