UK grocery chain Sainsbury’s is working with transport refrigeration specialist Carrier Transicold as it trials what it says is the world’s first naturally refrigerated trailer to transport chilled and frozen goods.
The CO2-refrigerated unit trial is part of the retailer’s review of its transport refrigeration gas as it aims to reduce its carbon footprint, which includes converting its stores to natural refrigeration by 2030.
The two-year trial of the new HFC-free cooling technology for road transport uses a modified version of Carrier’s NaturaLINE refrigeration system, which was initially developed for deep sea containers and completed a rigorous sea trial program in 2012, Sainsbury’s says.
Sainbury’s says it will monitor the trailer’s performance closely and if successful, in line with its replacement plan, it could save the company 70,000 tons of CO2 compared to the current refrigerated trailer fleet.
In August, Delhaize America opened a grocery store that uses carbon dioxide as a refrigerant rather than hydroflourocarbon — the first such supermarket in the US, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency.
The Hannaford grocery store in Turner, Maine, uses a CO2 transcritical system that reduces the store’s carbon footprint by 3.4 million pounds of CO2e annually.
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 said.
Last week, Safeway agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration equipment at 659 of its stores nationwide as part of a settlement involving the largest number of facilities ever under the federal Clean Air Act’s regulations governing refrigeration equipment.
Safeway’s emissions reduction plan is expected to cost about $4.1 million.
The settlement follows allegations by the EPA that Safeway, the second largest grocery chain in North America, violated the Clean Air Act by failing to promptly repair leaks of HCFC-22, a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon that is an ozone-depleting substance used as a coolant in refrigerators, and failed to keep adequate records of the servicing of its refrigeration equipment.