Light commercial refrigeration: latest from North America

By Janaina Topley Lira, Aug 17, 2012, 15:00 3 minute reading

With consumer goods brands investing ever more into global environmental stewardship, demand for products that use alternative refrigerants such as R290 and R600a is rapidly emerging in North America. reports on those companies blazing a trail when it comes to natural refrigerants in the region’s light commercial refrigeration sector. Further updates will be available in the upcoming shecco “GUIDE 2012: Natural Refrigerants – North America’s Market Pote

Until recently North American end-users have limited themselves to trials of hydrocarbon refrigerants. However, isobutane (R600a), propane (R290) and the R-441A blend (of ethane, propane, butane and isobutane) have now been authorised as acceptable alternatives in household and small commercial refrigerators and freezers under the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) programme. With over 17 million commercial and household appliances, North America represents a large potential market for hydrocarbon refrigerants.
Today’s North American leaders in hydrocarbon refrigeration
Companies such as PespsiCo, Unilever and Nestlé are establishing an environmentally conscious image with consumers by investing in low global warming potential (GWP) and non ozone depleting potential (ODP) refrigerant gases, including hydrocarbons. Below we review the light commercial hydrocarbon installations in North America, to date:
  • Ben and Jerry’s: A division of Unilever, Ben and Jerry’s successfully petitioned the EPA in 2009 to use purified propane in ice cream freezers at 21 stores in Boston, Washington, DC, northern Virginia and Vermont. Following the USA EPA SNAP approval for hydrocarbon refrigeration Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s, jointly announced in February 2012, that they plan to roll out 700 hydrocarbon refrigerants ice cream freezer cabinets in the United States in 2012.
  • Danone: Has 1,000 coolers using hydrocarbon technology in a number of countries, including in Mexico.
  • Fresh and Easy: Has since 2009 deployed self-contained coffin freezer cases (from AHT Cooling Systems, an Austrian company with US offices in Hanahan, S.C.) throughout the chain, and in 2011 began trialling propane cases.
  • Nestlé: Has recognised that hydrocarbons such as propane and butane are the best currently available alternatives to HFCs in small refrigeration applications. The company is testing 2300 HC freezers in Australia, Spain, Malaysia, Chile and the United States. The new HC freezers are equipped with high-efficiency fans, improving the energy efficiency by 80%. It is estimated that the reduction in GHG emissions from these freezers will be around 10 000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) over their expected 10-year lifetime.
  • PepsiCo: In 2010 PepsiCo placed the first hydrofluorocarbon-free (HFC-free) hydrocarbon coolers in the United States throughout Miami as part of a pilot project to reduce the carbon footprint of its refrigeration equipment. The 35 coolers use less energy than a 100-watt light bulb and will be in and around the host city starting next week. On average, the new units use 44 percent less energy than 2008 models, and 20 percent less energy than Energy Star requirements. 
  • SUPERVALU: Has developed a “Next Generation Refrigeration System” in an Albertsons supermarket that will opened in the summer of 2012 in Carpinteria, California, featuring R290 Spot display cases.
GUIDE 2012: Natural Refrigerants – North America’s Market Potential
Help shecco provide an accurate snapshot of the light commercial refrigeration market for the “GUIDE 2012: Natural Refrigerants – North America’s Market Potential”, by sending your latest information on R290 and R600s installations in Canada, Mexico and the USA to the shecco Market Research Department. 
Please send your data to:
The “GUIDE 2012: Natural Refrigerants – North America’s Market Potential” will be the second in a series of easy-to-access guides for industry and policy decision makers about the market potential of natural refrigerants, and will include a market outlook, end-user views, a CO2 supermarket map and light commercial refrigeration map, case studies and a natural refrigerant business directory. 
About shecco
shecco is a B2B Marketing & Communications expert helping companies worldwide to bring their climate friendly solutions faster to market. shecco’s primary focus is to facilitate the market uptake of heating and cooling solutions based on natural refrigerants. 
Contact information
If you would like to contact shecco for any enquiries, you may send a request to Marc Chasserot directly.


By Janaina Topley Lira

Aug 17, 2012, 15:00

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