The winners of the awards are: Sobeys in the food retail category; Red Bull in the foodservice category; Campbell Soup in the industrial refrigeration category; True Manufacturing for Innovation of the Year; and Marc-André Lesmerises, CEO of Carnot Refrigeration, for Person of the Year.
“The concept of the Accelerate America awards is to call attention to companies and people who have done the most to bring down barriers and move natural refrigerant technology forward in North America,” said Michael Garry, editor of Accelerate America, published by shecco. “These Accelerate America awards are indeed for companies and people who are accelerating the marketplace for natural refrigerants.”
Grocery leader in transcritical...
Sobeys, the second largest chain in Canada with around 1,800 stores, has more than 80 transcritical CO2 stores and will end the year with about 90, by far the most of any food retailer in North America. Every year, 15-20 stores are equipped with CO2 transcritical, including both new stores and retrofits.
Sobeys’ transcritical systems have lowered energy costs by 8% to 10% compared to HFC systems, and first costs of the transcritical systems are the same or lower than traditional system costs.
Red Bull has committed to installing Eco-Cooler beverage merchandisers with hydrocarbon refrigerant (largely isobutane) as its standard model wherever legally and technically feasible. So far, it has more than 700,000 installed globally. In North America, Red Bull expects to order 54,000 hydrocarbon coolers this year.
The coolers use 45% less energy than conventional HFC refrigerators, and to maximise performance they also employ LED lighting, energy-efficient fans, intelligent controllers and insulated glass. The Eco-Coolers consume only as much energy as a single 100-watt light bulb.
...while Red Bull blazes trail for hydrocarbons
In 2012 Red Bull petitioned the EPA for approval of isobutane (R600a, its hydrocarbon of choice) in commercial stand-alone coolers; it was approved under the SNAP programme in July 2013.
Campbell Soup, led by its long-time head of refrigeration engineering Bob Czarnecki (who retired last year) pioneered the use of safe, environmentally friendly low-charge ammonia systems in the industrial sector, starting in the late 1980s.
By the late 1990s, Campbell’s started converting large-charge ammonia systems at its thermal plants to low-charge packaged units using ammonia as a primary refrigerant and glycol as a secondary refrigerant.
Since 2011, low-charge packaged systems have been replacing R22 systems at Campbell’s Pepperidge Farm plants, a project now overseen by Czarnecki’s successor, Bing Cheng – Campbell’s principal utilities engineer – who accepted the award at the ATMOsphere America ceremony. The ammonia packages have been found to be more energy efficient than the R22 systems they replaced.
Responding to regulations
True Manufacturing, whose owner, Steve Trulaske, accepted the Innovation of the Year award at the ceremony, was the first foodservice equipment supplier to respond to impending Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency regulations by transitioning its merchandising and refrigeration equipment to propane; in many cases, True is dropping HFC models from its inventory.
At the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago last month, True received the EPA’s 2016 Energy Star Emerging Technology Award in the residential/commercial refrigeration category for 42 of its propane units – the largest number of pieces of equipment one company has ever had recognised by the EPA’s Energy Star programme.
To qualify for the award, the 42 models had to be at least 5% more efficient than their predecessor units; True’s units are on average 25% to 30% more efficient while comparable in cost to the HFC models. All told, True offers 150 propane models today.
Carnot teams up with Sobeys
Carnot Refrigeration, co-founded by Marc-André Lesmerises, has become one of Sobeys principal suppliers of CO2 transcritical refrigeration systems for its supermarkets; of Sobeys’ more than 80 transcritical stores, Carnot has supplied more than 50 of them. Carnot has added more retail customers for transcritical, becoming one of the leading manufacturers in North America in terms of the number of transcritical systems installed in supermarkets. Carnot installed the very first CO2 transcritical store in the US, at a Hannaford supermarket in Turner, Maine.
Lesmerises has also helped pioneer the adoption of CO2 transcritical for cold storage and food processing, ice rinks, and data centres.
“Marc-André had the courage to set up a company totally focused on bringing CO2 (and some ammonia) to commercial and industrial applications,” said Marc Chasserot, CEO of shecco, who presented the Person of the Year award to Lesmerises. “This has had a massive impact on competitors and created a momentum in the marketplace that we see at the conference today.”