Marcin Szczecina, JBG-2, discussing R290 plug-ins at ATMO Europe Summit 2023.
Marcin Szczecina, JBG-2, discussing R290 plug-ins at ATMO Europe Summit 2023.

ATMO Europe: Hybrid R290 Plug-ins with Waterloop Reduce German Supermarket’s Energy Use by 8.8%

Polish manufacturer JBG-2 says its FlowSystem with hybrid R290 plug-ins has helped cut the store’s HVAC demand through better heat management

JBG-2, a Polish manufacturer of commercial refrigeration equipment, has found that its hybrid propane (R290) plug-in cabinets with waterloop system has helped a supermarket in Rastatt, Germany, cut its energy consumption by 8.8% compared to traditional plug-ins.

Through better heat management during warmer summer months, JBG-2’s waterloop and hybrid plug-in units — which contain both an air condenser and a water condenser — have helped the store reduce its air-conditioning demand by up to 40%. During the winter, the system cuts the store’s heating bills.

Details of the project and technology were shared by Marcin Szczecina, the manufacturer’s Sales Engineer and Project Manager, during a presentation of refrigeration case studies at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) Europe Summit 2023. The conference took place September 19–20 in Brussels and was organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of

In 2022, the 735m2 (7,911ft2) German supermarket was retrofitted with 12 propane-based medium-temperature multideck plug-ins with doors and nine low-temperature upright cabinets. A lack of space ruled out installing a centralized CO2 (R744) rack system, explained Szczecina.

Combined, the 21 cabinets produced 25kW (7.1TR) of waste heat on average.

This would normally require air-conditioning to maintain a suitable environment for fresh produce and shoppers, especially during warmer months, he said. However, with the addition of a waterloop system, excess heat from the display cases could be removed via piping and an external dry cooler and dissipated outside the store. This reduced the amount of air-conditioning required to achieve thermal comfort inside.

Waste heat can also be recovered for domestic hot water production via the waterloop system, he added.

Water- or air-cooled cabinets

Thanks to JBG-2’s hybrid plug-ins — which the company has been offering since 2017 — cases can alternate between being water-cooled and air-cooled to better support a store’s varying HVAC needs.

“With simple automation, [end users] are able to decide when to turn off the [waterloop’s] pumping station and dry cooler and turn on the [cabinet’s] air condensers to leave the waste heat inside the store for space heating during the winter months,” explained Szczecina. “This leads to additional energy and cost savings from reduced use of the store’s heating system.”

Even with the additional electricity required to operate the waterloop’s dry cooler and pumping station during the summer, the hybrid system with waterloop still consumes less energy than traditional air-cooled plug-in units considering the latter’s higher space-cooling load. That said, the hybrid approach has higher initial investment costs, Szczecina noted.

“End users must take a step back and think what is more important for them: initial investment costs or ownership cost,” he said. “[Traditional air-cooled] plug-ins are cheaper up front, but you also have to introduce better ventilation and air-conditioning in the store.”

“End users must take a step back and think what is more important for them: initial investment costs or ownership cost.”

Marcin Szczecina, JBG-2

Szczecina presented alongside Lionel Audouy, Integrated Products Director at Tecumseh, the manufacturer that supplied the plug-ins’ variable-speed, R290 compressors. Audouy touted Tecumseh’s inverter technology, which helped keep acoustic levels low.

“The noise of [the waterloop system’s] dry cooler is more of a concern, particularly in city-center locations such as Rastatt,” he added.

While R290 plug-ins make up more than 50% of JBG-2’s sales, the company also manufactures CO2 condensing units, R290 chillers and R290 air-source heat pumps.

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