British retailers talk HCs at RAC Retail Question Time

By Alexandra Maratou, Jan 24, 2013, 15:28 3 minute reading

At the latest RAC Retail Question Time, major British retailers revealed new plans for opening stores running on natural refrigerants in 2013 and for launching or expanding their base of convenience stores, formats that could be catered with hydrocarbons (HCs).

RAC’s latest Retail Question Time, on 29 November 2012 in London, saw top British retailers discussing their refrigeration strategies.

Morrisons to open stores with naturals in 2013

Colin Coe, Refrigeration Manager at Morrisons revealed that the retailer had taken the decision to go for ‘the fully green option’ and would open stores running on natural refrigerants in 2013. He said: “From next year we will ramp up full green installations. The current format is a hydrocarbon primary to pumped CO2. Is it the right format? Maybe, but we are looking to innovation for the future. We need to bring the supply base and particularly the contractors along.

Mr Coe also revealed that they are looking at opening green convenience stores in early 2013. The retailer has recently started rolling out its convenience store format, with 10 stores in 2012 and another 60 planned for 2013.

Overall, the goal of Morrisons is to develop the refrigeration so that it heats, provides the hot water and takes out their total dependence on gas by 2015 to 2017.

John Lewis Partnership reiterates target of being HFC-free by 2020

Peter Terry of John Lewis Partnership, which has rolled out more than 74 Waitrose supermarket stores running on hydrocarbons, confirmed that convenience is something they will continue to do.

Regarding refrigerant choice he said: “It is still our aim to have that scenario where every single store is HFC-free by 2020, but the reality is that the development of new formats and new gases just give us a bit of a pause for thought”.

M&S looks at convenience stores with TC CO2 or HCs

Peter Garner of Marks & Spencer (M&S) revealed that the retailer is looking to open their own city format store under 3,000ft2 (about 915m2). These stores are expected to have a disproportionate amount of hospitality and refrigeration in them. He said that M&S “want to put them in with as much natural refrigerant as we can – whether it’s CO2 or hydrocarbon we don’t know yet, but when we compare with other retailers on the same square footage we know we will come under pressure as we squeeze a lot of refrigeration into the space […] One way to keep costs down is speed of installation and so we are very keen on modular build, trying to build as much offsite as possible”.

With the requirement for fully natural stores, M&S decided to go down the route of hydrocarbons as the primary refrigerant combined with CO2 as the secondary refrigerant. For convenience stores, besides hydrocarbons, they will also be looking at CO2 transcritical solutions.

100 Co-op convenience stores per year with HCs or CO2

Alex Pitman of the Co-operative Group said that most of their capital investment will be based on convenience store formats and that they have plans for 100 a year, most of which will be less than 3,000ft2 (about 915m2). “Whether they are hydrocarbon or CO2, we are not too bothered – we have had good success with a hydrocarbon primary and secondary glycol at our Piccadilly Gardens store”.

Like Morrisons, they are also looking at ways to integrate heating and cooling.

Tesco wants a CO2 solution for its convenience stores

Paul Alway of Tesco said that the retailer considers DX CO2 booster systems to be the easiest solution for retail, as it takes technology that the engineers understand and know how to service.

One of the challenges for Tesco is the 1,500 Express convenience stores that largely run with R404A and external split systems. Again, Tesco is looking at integrating the mechanical and refrigeration aspects and wants to have a CO2 solution. “We know they are out there – we have just not done it yet”. 


By Alexandra Maratou

Jan 24, 2013, 15:28

Related stories

Sign up to our Newsletter

Fill in the details below