A family-owned Delhaize supermarket chooses unusual natural refrigeration system rather than CO2.
Part of the ammonia refrigeration rack used by the ammonia/CO2/glycol system in a Delhaize store in Belgium.
Delhaize store owner Luc Bormans last year joined a select group of food retailers by installing an ammonia/CO2/glycol system at a new store in Rhisnes, Wallonia (Belgium), rather than a far more commonly used transcritical CO2 system.
The ammonia/CO2/glycol system has been saving Bormans a considerable amount of money in energy consumption. At his 800m2 (8,611ft2) Rhisnes store Bormans was able to reduce his overall annual electrical energy consumption from 500-600kWh/m2 (46-56kWh/ft2), which is typical for similar stores using f-gases, to a maximum of 350kWh/m2 (32kWh/ft2), a savings of up to 42%. This was largely thanks to the natural refrigeration system, insulating the building and pipes, and installing LED lighting, as well as rotating doors and efficient isothermal rooms.
The significant energy savings means that he will be able to recoup the premium paid for the complete ammonia system (including various refurbishment work) compared to a transcritical CO2 system in four years – and just 2.5 years for the central refrigeration equipment.
Because it uses ammonia (though not inside the store), ammonia/CO2/glycol or ammonia/CO2 systems are rarely used around the world, despite their considerable energy savings and excellent safety and performance record.
The Bormans family has an “affiliated” status with Delhaize (part of the Ahold Delhaize Group) but is otherwise entirely independent. As such, they could select an ammonia/CO2/glycol system for their new store. Bormans’ two other Delhaize stores rely on f-gas refrigerants.
According to Bormans, his motivation for opting for this specific system was based on three key factors: “Firstly, we wanted a refrigerant that was neutral in terms of CO2 emissions,” he explained. “Then came the safety aspect and the energy savings.”
“Firstly, we wanted a refrigerant that was neutral in terms of CO2 emissions. Then came the safety aspect and the energy savings.”– Luc Bormans, Delhaize store owner
Read this article in its entirety in the October 2019 issue of Accelerate Magazine