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First UK supermarket R449A installation shows energy saving for Waitrose

Chemours Opteon XP40 shows a 6.6 per cent average saving for Devon store 

Waitrose has recorded a 6.6 per cent average energy saving , with as much as 9 per cent saved on the MT system, in the first installation of R449A in a UK supermarket.

In 2010, Waitrose published its Carbon Plan, based on an absolute operational emissions target of 15 per cent carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) reduction. The indirect and direct emissions from the refrigeration systems in its shops are a very significant contributor, making this area a prime target for improvement.

This, in addition to the F-Gas Regulation bans, which effectively prevent servicing of systems with a charge of over 10.2 kg of R404A from 2020, spurred the retailer to look for a lower-GWP, lower energy replacement. By retrofitting the refrigeration systems in one of its stores in Devon from R404A to Opteon XP40, Waitrose gained up to 9% energy savings, providing the business with a significant opportunity to lower its CO2e emissions and help to achieve the targets set out in its Carbon Plan.

The decision was taken to retrofit a typical Waitrose store in Holdsworthy, Devon from R404A to Opteon XP40. The refrigeration system consisted of two high temperature packs and one low temperature pack all manufactured by Space Cooling Systems in 2004, with all packs using Copeland Scroll compressors. The low temperature pack was connected to six in-store cabinets and one cold store. The high temperature packs were connected to a total of 18 cabinets and three refrigerated counters in the store and three cold rooms for storage.

The energy consumption of the refrigeration systems was measured for two weeks before the retrofit and then for three weeks after the retrofit had been completed.

EPTA ColdService was selected to perform the retrofit and the first retrofit took place overnight and the other two packs retrofitted on consecutive nights, without causing any disruption to the trading floor during the store’s opening hours. The Opteon XP40 retrofit guidelines were followed and no components or oil changes were required, making the retrofit very fast and straightforward.

Analysis of the energy consumption data was performed by Emerson Retail Solutions. The data revealed that at equivalent ambient temperatures during the monitoring period, the energy consumption of the high temperature systems was reduced by 8.7%, while for the low temperature system, it was reduced by 3.0%. For the total refrigeration system, this equates to a reduction in energy consumption of 6.6%.

The reduction in energy consumption and the 64%reduction in the GWP of Opteon XP40 compared to R404A offer a significant opportunity for Waitrose to lower its CO2e emissions and help to achieve the target set out in its Carbon Plan.

“No component changes, no oil changes and similar system operating parameters made the retrofit very straightforward and fast once the R404A had been recovered,” says Paul Blanch, Senior Manager, Emerson Retail Solutions, “The good cooling performance and lower energy consumption makes Opteon XP40 an ideal retrofit option for R404A systems.”

“Reducing our CO2e emissions is a key target so retrofitting existing R404A systems with Opteon XP40 is an important part of the strategy, not only reducing the direct emissions of the refrigerant but also by reducing the energy consumption of the systems,” says Danny Ryan, Refrigeration Manager, Waitrose.

Opteon XP40 (R449A), Chemours’s flagship low GWP refrigerant, was developed as an ideal replacement for R404A. Opteon XP40 is an HFO-based blend with a GWP of just 1397. The performance of Opteon XP40 is very similar to R404A with a significant reduction in power consumption under a wide range of operating conditions, making it an ideal candidate for retrofitting existing R404A systems.

Major compressor manufacturers have now approved Opteon XP40 for use as a R404A replacement and XP40 can be found in their compressor selection software.


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