Sustainable growth for retailer Metro Inc. thanks to ammonia system
In the past, the idea of Metro Inc. –a Canadian supermarket chain- experiencing rapid growth while at the same time keeping their carbon emissions minimal would have seemed a fleeting fantasy; but through the installation of an ammonia system, Metro Inc. has been able to facilitate higher growth while keeping their environmental integrity. With that, a new industry standard had been set.
Metro Inc., a Canadian supermarket chain that began its operations in 1998 has become something of a marvel these days. With more than 600 foodstores and 250 drugstores, which generate annual sales exceeding C$11 billion (€7.6 billion), they have bucked the trend and showed the world that you can grow rapidly as a supermarket without spoiling the environment. This is thanks to Metro Inc. improving their primary facility for storing cold food and diary products by installing an ammonia system.
When planning their storage facility expansion, Metro Inc. thought long and hard about what it was they wanted. As environmental responsibility is at the forefront of their minds with a company promise to “make responsible choices in every aspect of the business to minimise our environmental footprint”, it was essential they respected this.
Due to this commitment, hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants would be unacceptable due to their high global warming potential (GWP). The decision was made that the project team would develop a design incorporating a dual-temperature, low-charge ammonia package refrigeration system due to its neutral affect on the ozone layer and its zero GWP.
Ammonia: efficient, safe and growing in popularity
Metro Inc. fitted an Emerson VSS 601 refrigeration compressor unit, which has single-screw slides valves to ensure optimum part-load performance, matching any fluctuations in refrigeration load. This improves efficiency by eliminating the need for expensive invert drives and their associated electricial issues. Again, this is a smart move from Metro Inc. who used the system to not only keep emissions at zero, but also improved the efficiency of their operations.
The low-charge ammonia system that Metro Inc. chose is a system which is growing in popularity for large-capacity cooling applications in the 75-750kW range. This trend is encouraging and stems from ammonia’s high-efficiency and also because the low ammonia refrigerant charge improves safety and reduces certification costs. In addition to this, as the ammonia is completely isolated from the warehouse, safety is further increased. Only a secondary refrigerant – cooled CO2 brine – is pumped into the cold storage space. As more and more retailers open up to the use of ammonia and legislation forces HFCs out, Metro Inc. could well be the standard that other retailers follow.
About Metro Inc.
Founded in 1947, Metro inc., is the only major Canadian food distribution company to have its head office in Quebec. Along with its affiliates and franchisees, Metro inc. employs over 65,000 people in Quebec and Ontario.
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