Delhaize America this week is opening a grocery store that will use carbon dioxide as a refrigerant rather than hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) — the first such supermarket in the US, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency.
The Hannaford grocery store in Turner, Maine, will use a CO2 transcritical system that reduces the store’s carbon footprint by 3.4 million pounds of CO2e annually, EIA reports.
Delhaize America operates seven banners in the US, including Hannaford and Food Lion.
Using CO2 as a refrigerant has other advantages to HFCs, a gaseous compound used in refrigerants and insulating foams and a major source of greenhouse gases. CO2 is inexpensive, leaks are easy to fix, the system is energy efficient and pipes are smaller, EIA says.
The supermarket operator decided to install a CO2 transcritical system to help it achieve a goal set by its parent company, Belgium-based Delhaize Group, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, compared to 2008 levels.
Refrigerant emissions could make up 25 percent to 35 percent “of the greenhouse-gas emissions pie,” Harrison Horning, who oversees refrigeration for Hannaford, told Diversified Solutions Group. Horning, director of equipment purchasing, maintenance and energy — north, Delhaize America Shared Services Group, says using CO2, a natural refrigerant, will put the company closer to reaching its GHG reduction goal.
Two other US grocery stores plan to install transcritical systems this year, Diversified Solutions Group reports. Whole Foods Market will open a new, climate-friendly grocery store in Austin, Texas, in November. And Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets in Addison, Ill., will use CO2 for refrigeration in a combined warehouse/commissary/retail store, with the store portion slated to open at the end of the year or early 2014.
The use of HFCs has grown rapidly as a replacement for ozone-depleting chemicals that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. While HFCs don’t deplete the ozone layer, many are highly potent greenhouse gases. If left unabated, HFC emissions growth could reach 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the White House says.
In June, President Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to find ways to cut the production and use of HFCs.