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Andrea Skory, Migros Ticino, presenting on integrated CO2 HVAC&R systems at the ATMO Europe Summit 2023.
Andrea Skory, Migros Ticino, presenting on integrated CO2 HVAC&R systems at the ATMO Europe Summit 2023.

ATMO Europe: Integrated HVAC&R CO2 System Cuts Swiss Supermarket’s Energy Use by 35%

The all-in-one setup was also 25% cheaper than purchasing separate refrigeration, heating and air-conditioning systems.

An integrated CO2 (R744) system from Swiss manufacturer Biaggini Frigoriferi has reduced the energy consumption of a Migros Ticino supermarket in Lugano, Switzerland, by 35% compared to its previous HFC-based HVAC&R systems.

The 800m2 (8,611ft2) store replaced its R404A-based refrigeration compression rack, R410A-based chiller and oil burner with one of Biaggini’s TotalGreEnergy systems during its refurbishment in the summer of 2023. All the supermarket’s HVAC&R needs are now served by the new transcritical CO2 system.

In addition to cost savings from reduced energy use, the new integrated system was also 25% cheaper than purchasing separate refrigeration, heating and air-conditioning systems, said Luca Rossi, the manufacturer’s Engineer Project Manager.

Migros Ticino, one of Swiss retailer Migros Group’s 10 regional cooperatives, aims to convert all 33 of its supermarkets to CO2-based refrigeration by 2025, according to Andrea Skory, the cooperative’s Facility and Technical Manager.

As of September 2023, the chain had installed CO2 refrigeration systems in 29 of its stores, with the remaining four still using HFC-based alternatives, explained Skory.

Details of the retailer’s efforts were presented by Skory and Rossi during a refrigeration case studies session at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) Europe Summit 2023. The conference took place in Brussels in September and was organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com.

Luca Rossi, Biaggini Frigoriferi, at the ATMO Europe Summit 2023.
Luca Rossi, Biaggini Frigoriferi, at the ATMO Europe Summit 2023.

Cooled by Lake Lugano

The water-cooled TotalGreEnergy system, which is connected to nearby Lake Lugano, includes three medium-temperature (MT) compressors, three low-temperature (LT) compressors and two auxiliary compressors, all from Italian manufacturer Dorin.

It provides 65kW (18.5TR) in MT capacity and 15kW (4.3TR) in LT capacity and serves the store’s 50m (164ft) of refrigerated cabinets, six cold rooms and air-conditioning and heating equipment.

At the time of Rossi and Skory’s presentation, the system had been operational for three months and demonstrated a 35% reduction in energy consumption compared to the store’s previous refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Space heating had not yet been used at the store.

In addition to reducing energy consumption, the new system will reportedly enhance food preservation, improve reliability and redundancy and reduce the store’s consumption of lake water. It will also improve ambient conditions within the store, they said.

Integrating HVAC

Migros Ticino and Biaggini have been working together since 2009, when the chain installed its first transcritical CO2 refrigeration system, which was designed and manufactured by Biaggini. Prior to then, all of Migros Ticino’s sites used HFC-based technologies, explained Skory.

The retailer then installed its first integrated CO2 system – designed and manufactured by Biaggini – in 2019 and has since installed a further nine. The other 19 CO2 systems in Migros Ticino stores are refrigeration only, he added.

In addition to transitioning from HFCs to R744 and integrating heating and air-conditioning into its refrigeration systems, the retailer has implemented other measures to reduce energy consumption in its stores, including introducing closed refrigerated cabinets.

According to Rossi, Migros Ticino reduced the annual electricity consumption of its COrefrigeration systems by 33% between 2009 and 2018. Since introducing Biaggini’s TotalGreEnergy integrated CO2 racks, the retailer has reduced its annual electricity use by a further 25%.

Sustainability targets

With a total of 630 stores across Switzerland, Migros says it is the largest retailer in the country.

Skory said in his presentation that the company has “ambitious climate targets, products with transparent sustainability ratings and an increased commitment to combating food waste.”

Migros first established its energy and environmental goals in 2004, updating them later in 2019. The group has said that it aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42% in 2030 compared to 2020 and reduce the amount of energy it purchases by 10% over the same period.

According to the retailer’s net-zero goals, it also aims to use 100% natural refrigerants by 2040.

For Migros Ticino, a key factor of its corporate philosophy is sustainability, with a focus on optimizing its refrigeration systems to reduce the chain’s environmental impact, explained Skory.

In addition to targeting 100% CO2 15 years ahead of the wider company, Migros Ticino expects to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 76.7% and its purchased energy by 15.6% by the end of the decade thanks to its planned projects, he added.

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