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Exploring the Potential of CO2 Transcritical Booster Systems

By Rajan Rajendran

We installed a CO2 transcritical booster system to anchor our supermarket module at our recently opened Helix Innovation Center for several reasons. It has the potential to provide an efficient, eco-friendly refrigeration source for medium- and low-temp display cases, walk-ins and freezers. But that’s only the beginning. We designed our CO2 transcritical booster system to not only meet the entire air conditioning and heating needs of the supermarket module, we’re also reclaiming its exhaust heat for the facility’s hot water and snow melt system beneath the sidewalks.


We also chose CO2 because we feel it has the potential for much broader applications than what is commonly thought in the industry today. Our system is designed with the flexibility to demonstrate and exploit these possibilities.

CO2 transcritical booster systems have gained wide acceptance in northern climates throughout the world. As a natural refrigerant with near zero global warming potential, CO2 is becoming a preferred option for retailers seeking to meet sustainability goals and take regulatory compliance out of the equation. But with a critical point of 87.8 °F, special measures are required to keep CO2 systems operating at high efficiencies above this temperature.

This is the reason very few retailers have attempted to deploy CO2 systems in warmer regions. It’s also one of the limitations with CO2 transcritical booster systems that we are determined to eliminate.

Like every industry module in The Helix, the supermarket is an entity unto itself, meaning that the power coming into the module is completely isolated. This allows us to measure the power consumed by the store on its own, while further isolating the energy consumption of any one piece of equipment. Because everything is within this controlled environment, we’re able to evaluate the performance of the CO2 transcritical booster system in the supermarket and the larger building envelope.

What all this means to our customers is that they now have a real-world test lab for designing the ideal refrigeration system for their supermarkets, simulating the conditions and environments that are most challenging without risking product loss or potential damage to their brand. While today the system is CO2 based, we have the ability to change the refrigerant as well as the system architecture. We hope that this opportunity will only spawn new ideas and open the doors to further innovation.

This blog is a summary of the article Exploring the Potential of CO2 Transcritical Booster Systems from our recent edition of E360 Outlook. Click here to learn more about the supermarket module at our recently opened Helix Innovation Center.

Earth Day: Five Solutions To Protect the Environment and Optimize Retail Operations

Today is Earth Day. What are you doing to help protect the environment?

Green City silhouette with environmental icons

Every day, food retailers face various business challenges: maintaining system uptime, keeping food fresh and safe, reducing energy consumption and staying current on changing regulations, just to name a few. On Earth Day, we’re sharing our insights around five solutions for retailers to make a positive impact on the environment and to optimize facility operations:

  1. Leverage remote monitoring for increased energy savings

Retailers can see benefits storewide by using facility management systems that combine energy management with the ability to monitor various facility systems and provide alerts when issues need attention. Remote monitoring services assess, triage and resolve alarms around the clock. With real-time performance data on energy expenditure, maintenance costs, refrigerant leaks and shrink causes, retailers can make informed decisions for operational improvements.

Monitoring and reporting energy consumption allows the retailer to take action to reduce the energy demand during peak periods. This will have a direct impact on utility bills by reducing total energy costs.

  1. Use setpoint management to protect energy gains

Energy use is one of the most significant operating costs for supermarkets today. Setpoints for HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems drive most of the store’s energy use.

Setpoint management service helps retailers sustain energy savings in the long term while ensuring that operational issues are actually fixed rather than masked. With setpoint management, retailers can establish optimized benchmarks through e-commissioning or corporate standards for their facility systems.  If changes occur, setpoints can be resolved quickly. Through real-time reporting, data on these setpoints provides retailers with actionable insights to make operational decisions for optimizing energy efficiency, reducing costs and, ultimately, providing a comfortable, positive shopping experience for their customers.

  1. Avoid refrigerant leaks through detection strategies

As some refrigerants commonly used by retailers today are greenhouse gases, and some are ozone-depleting substances, leaks can have a significant impact on the environment. In addition, the renewed regulatory focus on reducing refrigerant leaks leads to a need for retailers to take a closer look at developing effective leak detection strategies.

Retail facilities that implement refrigerant leak detection programs will ultimately reduce refrigerant consumption, avoid costly EPA examinations, prevent potential service disruptions when fixing a leak and take steps to help protect the environment. Retailers should aim to not only establish proper leak detection response protocols, but also institute measures to minimize or eliminate leaks altogether.

  1. Reduce global food waste locally with effective temperature management

Consumers today are increasingly conscious of where their food is coming from and expectations are high when it comes to freshness. Preventing food loss and protecting customers from food-borne illnesses are critical concerns for operators. Retailers need to accurately monitor and report product and case temperatures. Relying on manual temperature recording and tracking methods is risky and time consuming.

Monitoring services provide retailers with the visibility and control of system temperatures throughout their entire enterprise. Customized reports allow retailers to manage alarms and monitor food quality. Approximately $990 billion of food is wasted globally each year. Effective temperature management through facility management systems and remote monitoring along the journey “from farm to fork” will help to reduce food waste, as well as keep customers happy by offering fresh foods.

  1. Promote your sustainability efforts

Today’s consumers want to be associated with brands that not only deliver quality products and experiences, but are also taking steps to positively impact the world. Leading supermarkets and convenience stores are investing in facility management systems and monitoring services that affect store operations, impact bottom line and protect the environment.

Consider promoting your sustainability practices to shed light on the benefits of these investments among both internal and external audiences. An innovative supermarket customer is putting this into action by highlighting sustainability achievements through electronic signage in employee break rooms and recognition of store-level staff. To reinforce their “good neighbor” story among customers, this grocery brand is positioning displays of sustainability reporting, with information from their facility management systems, in entrance areas of more than 900 stores.

What steps is your retail business taking to help protect the environment? Leave your Earth Day tips in the comments below or share them with us on Twitter at @EmersonClimate and @IntelliStore.

For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website


Dean Landeche
Vice President of Marketing, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

E360 Webinar Will Discuss What’s Next on the Regulatory Horizon

In recent years, the shifting regulatory landscape has sent shock waves through the small- and large-format retail markets. Understanding what’s coming next may mean the difference between thriving and merely surviving in this dynamic environment. In our next E360 Webinar we’re bringing together three leading authorities on refrigerants, energy and food safety to give their unique perspectives on what they expect to see on the regulatory horizon.


The next E360 Webinar, entitled What’s Next in Refrigerants, Energy Management and Food Safety Regulation?, will take place live from The Helix Innovation Center on Tuesday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m., EDT. Each expert panelist will lead a discussion about the continuing regulations and how they are likely to impact our collective futures. Here’s a summary of what you’ll learn:

  • Refrigerant Regulations Update. Rajan Rajendran, vice president of system innovation center and sustainability, will provide the latest update on the ever-changing regulatory landscape related to the EPA’s final rule on refrigerant delisting and the DOE’s energy reduction mandates. You’ll learn about a new class of alternative synthetic refrigerants that promise lower global warming potential, as well as the re-emergence of natural options such as propane and CO2.
  • Energy Management. What goes up must come down. And when it comes to energy, the inverse is also true. While energy costs may be at the lower end of the spectrum today, they’re not likely to stay there for long. Michael Britt, vice president of energy innovation center at Southern Company, will discuss regulatory developments aimed at energy conservation and their impact on retailers.
  • Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Impacts. Marc Sanchez represents FDA-regulated companies in the food, dietary supplement, beverage, cosmetic, medical device and drug industries. A published author and leading voice in understanding FSMA, Marc will share his unique insights and explain how FSMA is the most comprehensive update to food safety regulations in decades. You’ll learn about its far-reaching impacts to retailers and their supply chain partners.

This informative session will be followed by a 15-minute question and answer session where Helix attendees and remote participants can submit questions. Don’t miss this opportunity to get your questions answered and learn directly from the experts about how this dynamic regulatory landscape may impact your business. Register now to join us Tuesday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m., EDT.

Montreal Protocol Commits to HFC Management Amendment

By Rajan Rajendran

For more than a year, we’ve discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) actions to prohibit the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in certain commercial refrigeration and air conditioning applications, as well as expand the list of low-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives. But while these actions have focused on U.S. and North American initiatives, the move to limit HFCs is also picking up steam on a global level.


Last November at the 27th international meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Article 5 (developing) and non-Article 5 (developed) nations alike came together and committed to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions from HFCs.1

The meeting concluded with an agreement to phase down HFC consumption by completing an amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2016.

It’s an important reminder that a global commitment to responsible environmental stewardship is nothing new. First signed on September 16, 1987, the Montreal Protocol treaty has served as an example of decades-long cooperation among world governments, industry and the environmental community. With every country within the United Nations charter a signatory to the agreement, it is considered one of the most effective multi-lateral environmental treaties ever negotiated.

The original treaty’s first order of business was to achieve a rapid phase-out of ozone-depleting substances — particularly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — by replacing them with HFC-based alternatives. While scientists are projecting a full restoration of the ozone by 2050,2 they are also cautioning against the continued widespread global use of HFC refrigerants due to their environmental dangers.

As we know, HFCs are used in everything from air conditioners and refrigerators to foam insulation and fire protection systems. And while the U.S. and the European Union are well down the path of phasing out HFC use in specific applications, the demand for these technologies continues to grow in developing countries where they provide added health, safety, comfort and productivity benefits.

The Montreal Protocol’s success was founded on its reliance on sound scientific reviews, ongoing technology assessments and a funding mechanism to assist developing countries. The Parties of the Protocol’s decision to address the HFC issue with an amendment in 2016 is largely focused on helping developing countries make the transition to low-GWP technologies, while accelerating HFC phase-down schedules in developed countries.

While the details of the amendment are still unclear, it is certain that efforts to phase down HFCs will soon have a global driver. Many of us in the U.S. are already in the process of reducing HFCs and therefore have a head start in making this transition. As negotiations continue to take place throughout the year and an amendment to the Montreal Protocol is drafted, we will keep you updated on its progress and the implications to our industry.

 This blog is a summary of the article Montreal Protocol Commits to HFC Management Amendment from our recent edition of E360 Outlook. Click here to learn more about the amendment to the Montreal Protocol.



CO2 as a Refrigerant – Introduction to Secondary Systems

This is post number 12 of a series.

Secondary Systems

Figure 6 shows a simple secondary system. The high-stage system cools the liquid R744 in the secondary circuit. The R744 is pumped around the load. It is volatile, so unlike a conventional secondary fluid such as glycol it does not remain as a liquid. Instead it partially evaporates, providing a significantly greater cooling capacity. This reduces the pump power required and the temperature difference needed at the heat exchanger.

Figure 6

Figure 6: Simple cascade system

R744 would typically be cooled to 26.6 °F (-3 °C ) for the MT load, and to -13 °F (-25 °C) for the LT load.
The high-stage system is a simple chiller-type system, typically running on an HFC, HC or Ammonia refrigerant.

In the next article of this series we’ll review the advantages and disadvantages of booster, cascade, and secondary systems. We’ll also review some case studies to determine how to select the correct system for our application.

Andre Patenaude
Director – CO2 Business Development, Emerson Climate Technologies

Visit our website for additional information on CO2 Solutions from Emerson. 
Excerpt from original document; Commercial CO2 Refrigeration Systems, Guide for Subcritical and Transcritical CO2 Applications.

To read all posts in our series on CO2 as a Refrigerant, click on the links below:

  1. Series Introduction
  2. Criteria for Choosing Refrigerants
  3. Properties of R744
  4. Introduction to Trancritical Operation
  5. Five Potential Hazards of R744
  6. Comparison of R744 with Other Refrigerants
  7. R744 Advantages / Disadvantages
  8. Introduction to R744 Systems
  9. Introduction to Retail Transcritical Systems
  10. Retail Booster Systems
  11. Introduction to Retail Cascade Systems
  12. Introduction to Secondary Systems
  13. Selecting the Best System


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