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Tesco to end refrigerant use for air conditioning

Major retailers announces Cosaf partnership to replace all compressor-based cooling systems

Tesco is to entirely replace its in-store compressor-based cooling systems with an evaporative alternative by 2025 that is expected to cut out refrigerant use for air conditioning purposes.

The retailer has announced a partnership with Cosaf to meet these aims through the implementation of the Air2O IDEC evaporative cooling air conditioning technology. Tesco also expects to reduce energy usage by up to 80 per cent by adopting the technology at its UK shops and storage facilities.

Over the next eight years, Tesco intends to move away from relying on direct expansion (DX) air conditioning, while reducing running and maintenance costs.

According to Cosaf, the Air2O system is intended to be more environmentally friendly by offering a combination of direct and indirect evaporation cooling that eliminates use of harmful gases in the cooling process.

“[The system] also utilises IDEC technology to eliminate stale air recycling, delivering 100 per cent hygienic fresh air with no harmful gases for Tesco’s produce, employees and customers,” the company claimed.

Cosaf has argued that despite major grocery stores using refrigerant systems for fridges and freezers, many are also relying on “outdated” F-Gas legacy systems to cool their stores.

According to the cooling supplier, these systems have significant up front cost, and make use of CFC, GWP and HFC gases that are in the process of being phased back or cut down in line with international regulations.

Roger Oliver, HVAC engineering manager with Tesco, said the new partnerships reflected aims to ensure a more efficient and healthy environment at the retailer’s estates for staff and customers.

“We required an alternative cooling solution that wouldn’t rely on refrigerant gas, and would fit within our existing AHU model. Cosaf worked closely with our AHU supplier to deliver a solution that effectively aligned with these parameters,” he said.

Tesco’s latest cooling partnership will build on existing work with Cosaf.  This includes the installation of an Air2O system at its Henley-on-Thames superstore last December to trial the technology in a live environment.

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