The new cold storage facility in Panay, the Philippines, includes a Super Green CO2 condensing unit from Nihon Netsugen Systems and heat exchangers from Güntner.
The new cold storage facility in Panay, the Philippines, includes a Super Green CO2 condensing unit from Nihon Netsugen Systems and heat exchangers from Güntner.

First Transcritical CO2 Cold Storage Facility Opens in the Philippines

The installation is the first pilot project to receive co-financing from the Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippines, via the Cold Chain Innovation Hub.

The first cold storage facility in the Philippines to install a CO2 (R744)-based refrigeration system has opened on the island of Panay.

The installation, which includes a CO2 condensing unit from Japanese manufacturer Nihon Netsugen Systems (NNS), is the first demonstration project to receive co-financing from the Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippines (FCC), via the Cold Chain Innovation Hub (CCI-Hub).

An inauguration ceremony was held at the facility in Roxas City on October 17.

The new low-temperature warehouse provides an additional 500 pallet positions at an existing cold storage facility owned by Filipino cold chain solutions provider Glacier Megafridge and its local business Glacier Panay Refrigeration Services Corporation. Prior to the expansion, Glacier Panay, which has been operational since 2014, had a freezer capacity of 1,170 pallets and a chiller capacity of 174 pallet positions – each accommodating up to 750kg (1,653lbs) of produce.

Significantly reduced OpEx

In addition to the 34kW (9.7TR)-capacity Super Green CO2 condensing unit from NNS, the new system also includes a gas cooler and two 18kW (5.1TR) evaporators from German manufacturer Güntner.

The system, which maintains internal temperatures of around -22°C (-7.6°F) was installed by NNS’s local distributor and contractor Cold Front Technologies Asia.

The new Glacier Panay low-temperature warehouse has capacity for 500 pallet positions.
The new Glacier Panay low-temperature warehouse has capacity for 500 pallet positions.

According to Emilio Gonzalez La’O, President of Cold Front, Glacier Panay can expect to see a 20–25% reduction in energy usage with the new CO2 system compared to its existing R404A-based systems. There will also be a significant reduction in servicing and maintenance costs, he added.

This is Glacier’s first COrefrigeration system, and the project will be used as a “valuable learning opportunity” and to establish the “economic viability and efficiency” of the technology for the company’s plans to double its cold-storage capacity by 2028.

Glacier currently has a mix of ammonia (R717)- and HFC-based refrigeration systems at its existing 11 facilities across the Philippines. However, the company has said that neither is suitable in the long-term due to concerns around toxicity and f-gas regulations.

Conversely, CO2 offers numerous benefits compared to traditional refrigeration systems, including zero ozone depletion, ultra-low GWP, energy efficiency and safety, it added.

“We like to use different types of technologies and refrigerants,” explained Arturo C. Yan, President of Glacier Megafridge, part of the Glacier Cold Storage Group. “We’ve decided to explore more sustainable options moving forward; we have to evolve. Our technologies should be efficient, sustainable, scalable and environmentally-friendly.”

To ensure the proper management of its new CO2 refrigeration system, Glacier will leverage training and support from the CCI-Hub and the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“We’ve decided to explore more sustainable options moving forward; we have to evolve. Our technologies should be efficient, sustainable, scalable and environmentally-friendly.”

Arturo C. Yan, Glacier Megafridge

Improved cold chain in the Philippines

The goal of the demonstration projects, co-financed by the FCC and CCI-Hub, is to show how improved cold chains can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, operational costs and food loss in the Philippines.

Proposed projects must use low-carbon, natural refrigerant-based technologies to be eligible for funding, which can cover up to 80% of project costs.

According to Gonzalez La’O, cold storage capacity in the Philippines is lacking and needs to be significantly expanded. As the sector grows over the coming years – at a projected rate of 10% per year – CO2 offers end users a range of benefits, including low energy use, low maintenance costs and impressive flexibility in terms of application.

However, to ensure the adopt of CO2-based technologies in the Philippines, improvements are needed to secure the supply chain of equipment and parts. End users also need more education around the benefits of natural refrigerants, he added.

The initiative’s second demonstration project – a transcritical CO2-based blast freezer – is scheduled to be completed in Pasig, just outside of Manila, in December.

The results and learnings from these projects will be presented at the ATMOsphere Asia Pacific (ATMO APAC) Summit 2024 in Tokyo. The conference will take place February 6–7 and is hosted by ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com.

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