Hillphoenix CO2 U.S. Market
Subodh Sharma presenting at ATMO America 2024.

ATMO America: Hillphoenix Ready to Accelerate U.S. Market Adoption of CO2 Refrigeration Solutions

With over a decade of transcritical CO2 experience, the OEM’s product portfolio eases the regulatory transition for end users, says VP.

With over a decade of transcritical experience, OEM Hillphoenix is ready to support the accelerated U.S. adoption of CO2 (R744) refrigeration with a portfolio of scalable solutions to help end users navigate the regulatory transition, says Eduardo Navarro, Vice President of Product Segments at Hillphoenix.

In the final “Technology Transition” rule announced last October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the GWP limit for many refrigeration uses to 150 and 700 for air conditioners and heat pumps, with compliance dates ranging from 2025 to 2028. As a refrigerant, CO2 meets these requirements with a GWP of 1.

“Bringing CO2 transcritical technology to the U.S. when there wasn’t a push for it allowed us to get the experience with an installed base to develop a value chain for scalable solutions,” Navarro said. “Today, our pre-engineered platform of products unlocks a tremendous amount of efficiency in scale and installation/commissioning speed.”

At the ATMOsphere (ATMO) America Summit 2024, Navarro detailed what sets Hillphoenix apart in the market in an exclusive interview with NaturalRefrigerants.com. ATMOsphere is the publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com and the organizer of the event held in Washington, D.C., June 10‒11.

“With our portfolio, Hillphoenix supports end users opening and remodeling stores, allowing them to develop and execute [transition] plans as fast as they want,” Navarro said, with the subassembly and inline testing of the equipment in the manufacturing environment.

Refrigeration market trends

Market data indicates a rapid acceleration in the demand for natural refrigeration solutions with a predicted 30–35% CAGR from 2023–27 for stores using CO2 refrigeration, according to Subodh Sharma, Director of Product Management Systems at Hillphoenix.

Along with its sister refrigeration companies, U.S.-based Anthony International, U.S.-based The AMS Group and Denmark-based Advansor, U.S.-based Hillphoenix operates under Dover Food Retail.

In a presentation at the ATMO America Summitt 2024, Sharma outlined the natural refrigerant market trends Hillphoenix sees in North America, its current CO2 and propane (R290) solutions and the opportunities to support the industry’s transition to meet the EPA regulations.

“Our over 1,500 CO2 installations for 80 different customers in North America span convenience stores, supermarkets and industrial applications,” said Sharma. Dover Food Retail has installed over 18,000 CO2 systems globally led by Advansor in Europe, he added.

To further support the market transition, Sharma said that Hillphoenix will continue to focus on improving the ROI on CO2 refrigeration solutions. “We are looking at using advanced energy solutions, including Energy Recovery’s PX [G1300] exchanger, and seeking to optimize heat reclaim.”

With its design to improve the efficiency of transcritical CO2 (R744) operation, especially in high ambient temperatures, the PX G1300 device was named Innovation of the Year at the ATMO America Summit 2023.

Working in collaboration with Flō Energy Solutions, Hillphoenix has also sought to optimize heat reclaim from its CO2 refrigeration systems. In a refrigeration case study at the ATMO America Summit 2024, the two companies outlined cutting the natural gas used for a Pennsylvania store’s comfort heating by 84% with an optimized heat reclaim coil.

Recently, the OEM launched a CO2 system charge preservation unit, dubbed ChargeSecure, to support system startup and address issues maintaining CO2 charge during power events. The unit was one of four products nominated for Innovation of the Year at the ATMO America Summit 2024.

“We have put in place and scaled up CO2 solutions and dedicated high-speed manufacturing lines to meet market needs,” Sharma said. “As in industry, we also need to address the shortage of appropriately trained contractors to install and maintain these systems.”

Regarding propane products, Sharma noted that the OEM has installed over 12,000 of its R290 self-contained display cases in North America.

With the finalization of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) 26 rule, the EPA raised the allowable R290 charge limit in self-contained closed cases to 300g (10.6oz) and for open cases to 500g (17.6oz). “As another natural solution, we are going to expand our [R290] portfolio to include 300 and 500g solutions as well,” Sharma said.

“The flexibility we offer with our range of natural solutions developed over the years advances the energy efficiencies and opportunities to support end users transitioning in the market,” Navarro concluded.

“We have put in place and scaled up CO2 solutions and dedicated high-speed manufacturing lines to meet market needs.”

Subodh Sharma, Director of Product Management Systems at Hillphoenix

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