Next-Generation Refrigeration Technology
In the first application of its type in North America, Price Chopper Supermarkets has installed a refrigeration system that uses a carbon-dioxide (CO2) cascade for low-temperature refrigeration. The 116-store, Schenectady, N.Y.-based chain is using the new technology in the frozen-food and ice-cream departments of its remodeled store in Saratoga, N.Y.
With the technology, from Hill PHOENIX, Conyers, Ga., the CO2 in the air is condensed by a medium-temperature refrigeration system using R-404A, which also chills propylene glycol for the dairy and beverage departments. According to Hill PHOENIX, chief among the advantages of using CO2 in a cascade system is the greatly reduced refrigerant cost: CO2 is $.50 per lb. compared to $7 or $8 per lb. for HFCs.
Additional benefits include smaller line sizes, reduced copper piping and increased system efficiency.
Equally important, the new system aligns with Price Chopper’s ongoing focus on sustainability by helping the store protect the ozone layer and reduce its carbon footprint. It has 3,000 times less global-warming potential than older refrigerant systems, according to the chain, because it reuses CO2 already in the air.
The system also is in keeping with Price Chopper’s membership in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GreenChill Program, in which members seek to promote advanced technologies, strategies, and practices that reduce refrigerant charges and emissions of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases.
“This is a great example of a GreenChill partner taking the lead in developing a more environmentally friendly supermarket,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “We’d like to see every supermarket in the nation follow Price Chopper’s example.”
Additionally, Price Chopper specified several other green components for the Saratoga store, including LED lighting in all cases, the use of reach-in door cases for all new medium-temperature loads and variable-speed fan control for the air-cooled condensers.
Price Chopper plans to evaluate the maintenance and efficacy of its new green refrigeration system during the next several months. If it proves as effective as expected, the chain will move forward to use it in other stores.
In other green news, Price Chopper will open the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) supermarket in the state of New York in spring 2009, in the town of Colonie.