Almost two-thirds of large supermarkets surveyed in northern and western European countries now use natural refrigerants, according to a new report issued by Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, Europe. This trend is being driven by industry-wide sustainability policies outpacing EU legislation. The study of mostly large food retailers in Germany, France, Denmark, Norway and the UK found 65% of respondents had begun to implement natural refrigerant technology. Fuelled by a combination of market and policy influences and technology advances, the shift to natural refrigerants has strengthened the position of many retailers relative to the newly revised European Union F-gas Regulation, which imposes a phase-down scheme and restrictions on use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. In line with the recent trend toward natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration applications, Carrier has expanded its portfolio of CO2OLtec® systems, which use the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide. Based on CO2 booster systems, the current CO2OLtec range provides cooling capacities for small stores to large warehouses. One of the key drivers behind the switch to natural refrigerants is growing awareness of the link between carbon footprint reduction and business success. Survey respondents across all territories rated carbon footprint reduction as ‘important’. They also agreed that natural refrigerants can outperform traditional HFC systems in terms of efficiency and performance, suggesting respondents believe the technology makes business sense regardless of any incentives. Food retailers also said that natural refrigerants have achieved parity with HFCs, based on RoI and life-cycle costs. They reported an average technology investment cycle of 14 years.
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