Movers & Shakers in Hydrocarbon Refrigeration

For eight of Accelerate America’s 25 Movers & Shakers driving natural refrigerant adoption, hydrocarbons represent a key part of their work.

Howell Feig, AHT Cooling Systems USA, one of eight Movers & Shakers in hydrocarbon refrigeration.

In its November-December 2016 issue, Accelerate America magazine, published by shecco, listed 25 individuals (manufacturers, end users and one utility executive) who are driving the adoption of natural refrigerants in North America. Of those, eight are involved with hydrocarbon projects as a key part of their work.

The following are short profiles of these eight people.

Original Equipment Manufacturers

Howell Feig

Sales Director for Strategic Accounts, AHT Cooling Systems USA
Key Accomplishment: More than 600 U.S. stores with propane cases

Howell Feig, who has been with AHT since the company entered the North American market in 2005, has overseen the exceptional growth in the adoption of AHT’s propane plug-in display cases in the U.S. Through mid-September, AHT had installed the units in more than 600 stores in 2016 alone. All told, more than 1,000 U.S. stores have AHT’s propane cases – mostly modular islands but also spot merchandisers – usually as a supplement to remotely cooled cases. At least a half-dozen food retailers are considering installing self-contained propane units throughout an entire store.

Steve Trulaske 
Owner, True Manufacturing
Key Accomplishment: Promoting propane refrigeration, getting EPA SNAP approval for propane in commercial refrigeration.

True Manufacturing, winner of Accelerate America’s Innovation of the Year award in 2016, was the first major OEM to convert many of its stand alone merchandising and refrigeration equipment to small-charge propane refrigerant. Owner Steve Trulaske was the driving force for True in promoting its transition to propane refrigeration. He authorized True to submit one of the two U.S. EPA SNAP submissions that led to the approval of propane in commercial refrigeration in the U.S., as well as SNAP applications that resulted in approval for the venting of hydrocarbons. True is also represented on the Department of Energy ASRAC (Appliance Standards and Rule-making Federal Advisory Committee) as well as on the IEC 61C committee working on increasing allowable charge sizes of flammable refrigerants.

Marc-André Lesmerises
CEO and Co-Founder, Carnot Refrigeration
Key Accomplishment: Producing the first propane/CO2 system in the U.S.

Marc-André Lesmerises, Accelerate America’s Person of the Year in 2016, is best known for helping bring CO2 transcritical refrigeration to the North American continent in 2009 as a supplier of Sobeys’ first units, and to the U.S. in 2013, as a supplier to Hannaford Supermarkets. But this year, in one of his boldest moves yet, he created the first U.S. propane/CO2 cascade system for a Whole Foods store in Santa Clara, Calif., with 285 lbs. of propane in seven modules on the roof.

Component Manufacturers

Marek Zgliczynski
Manager of Commercial Refrigeration Product Engineering, Embraco
Key Accomplishment: Helping Embraco make hydrocarbon compressors a success worldwide.

Global compressor maker Embraco has been a leading manufacturer of hydrocarbon compressors in Europe, with more then one million installed light commercial units and tens of millions of installed household units. Asia is its second largest market and North America its third. But at ATMOsphere America in June, Marek Zgliczynski said the efficiency of hydrocarbons, which exceeds that of old and new refrigerants, will trigger a wider rollout in the U.S. To that end, Embraco introduced three new hydrocarbon products this year for the North American market. Zgliczynski has helped to make hydrocarbon compressors a success for Embraco worldwide. His responsibilities include the development of household and light commercial refrigeration products and related processes, and providing technical assistance to sales to promote the advantages of Embraco products, as well as cooperating with customers in energy-efficient and reliable refrigeration design. Zgliczynski was recently elected chairman of the IEC/ SC61C subcommittee, an international group working on safety standardization for the refrigeration industry, including raising the charge limit for hydrocarbons.

End Users: Food Retail

Paul Anderson
Director of Engineering, Target
Key Accomplishment: Plans for self-contained propane cases

At the Food Marketing Institute’s Energy & Store Development Conference in 2015, Paul Anderson joined with consultant Keilly Witman in explaining the potential of self-contained propane cases, which Target found to be use 53% less energy than cases using R134a. He vowed at a White House-hosted meeting the next month that Target’s new stand-alone cases would be HFC-free, and later sent out notifications to suppliers outlining Target’s plans for propane cases. Since then, the chain has started using self-contained propane units in a number of stores.

Tristam Coffin
Director of Sustainability & Facilities, Whole Foods Market’s Northern California division
Key Accomplishment: Managing installations of self-contained propane cases and a propane/CO2 cascade system.

Whole Foods Market has distinguished itself in the marketplace by its willingness to test every available natural refrigerant option. The person who has played one of the largest roles in this process is Tristam Coffin, who operates out of Northern California but who coordinates with Whole Foods’ corporate executives on sustainability projects. Coffin has managed numerous installations of self-contained propane cases, and in his latest project he has installed a propane/CO2 cascade system in a store in Santa Clara, Calif.

End Users: Foodservice

Richard Reeves
Director of Fleet/Purchasing/Safety & Compliance, Red Bull North America
Key Accomplishment: Helping bring ECO-Coolers to the North American market

Red Bull, winner of Accelerate America’s 2016 Best in Sector/Foodservice Award, has been a leader in North America in the implementation of hydrocarbon (in this case isobutane) coolers for its energy drinks. Richard Reeves, who joined Red Bull in 2010, has helped steer its North American division’s efforts to roll out the energy-efficient ECO-Coolers, which included getting EPA approval for isobutane in stand-alone commercial cabinets in 2013. The division has also worked with Red Bull’s Austria-based purchasing team to buy coolers accommodating U.S. power ratings. The upshot: Red Bull has deployed over 200,000 isobutane coolers in the U.S., a number Reeves expects to double within two years. The units use 45% less energy than standard coolers.


Paul Delaney
Senior Engineer, Southern California Edison
Key Accomplishment: Overseeing incentive programs for natural refrigerant equipment.

Utility energy incentives have become an important resource for end users seeking to reduce the first-cost of natural refrigerant systems, which typically have an energy-efficiency story to tell. Led by Paul Delaney, Southern California Edison is a utility that has taken a particular interest in supporting natural refrigerants through incentive programs. He has overseen energy-assessment projects leading to custom incentives for self-contained supermarket freezers using propane. Southern California Edison continues to study the energy efficiency of propane.

By Michael Garry

Dec 08, 2016, 17:13

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