KKVB acquires Vitalis.Leaders from TEKO, KKVB and Vitalis pose for a photo to celebrate the acquisition.
KKVB Group Managing Director Michael Millbrodt (left), Vitalis President James Seabrook (middle) and TEKO Managing Director Andreas Meier. Photo credit: TEKO.

KKVB Group, Parent Company of TEKO, Acquires Canadian CO2 Heat Pump and Chiller Manufacturer Vitalis

The German OEM said the acquisition provides it with “direct access to the North American market.”

KKVB Group, the parent company of German OEM TEKO, has announced its acquisition of Vitalis, a Canadian company that produces CO2 (R744) heating and refrigeration equipment, including chillers and heat pumps for commercial, industrial and district energy applications. 

From food to refrigeration: Vitalis was founded in 2016 in Kelowna, British Columbia, and its initial focus was using CO2 as a solvent to extract compounds from foods and beverages. 

  • “The integration of R744 heating and refrigeration equipment was a natural step in our company journey, providing equipment free of harmful F-gases,” said James Seabrook, President of Vitalis. 
  • The Canadian OEM also manufactures CO2 heat pumps for district energy, industrial and residential applications, which range in size from 100kW to megawatts (100 to upwards of 284,345TR), as well as CO2 refrigeration racks. 
  • Vitalis’s product portfolio also includes CO2 chillers designed for dairies, breweries and glycol cooling systems, industrial extraction equipment for food and beverage processing and industrial CO2 recovery systems. All of its chiller packages come equipped with R744 heat pumps. 

Coming to North America: Andreas Meier, Managing Director of TEKO, said that KKVB Group’s acquisition of Vitalis gives his company “direct access to the North American market.” 

  • TEKO has built commercial and industrial CO2 refrigeration systems for European and international markets since 2004. 
  • “Vitalis not only provides TEKO with direct access to the North American market, but it also contributes an incredible depth and breadth of R744-based applications and knowhow that significantly expands our ability to engineer and deliver sustainable solutions across refrigeration, district and industrial heat pumps, industrial extraction processes and CO2 recovery,” said Meier. 
  • In addition to Canada and the United States, Vitalis says it has customers on four other continents. 

Inside insight: NaturalRefrigerants.com spoke with Meier via email to learn more about the Vitalis acquisition. 

  • Meier described it as a win-win, saying that in addition to providing TEKO an entrance to North America, the German company will share its technological expertise and experience scaling production with Vitalis. 
  • He added that the knowledge transfer wasn’t just directed one way. “The knowhow from Vitalis in large heat pump applications with CO2 will provide a further push for this market in Europe as well,” Meier told NaturalRefrigerants.com. 

Growing the group: The KKVB Group was established in 1955 with the founding of REISS Kälte-Klima in Offenbach, Germany, and consists of HVAC&R manufacturers and distributors. It has a global footprint, with offices and factories in Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia. 

  • “Vitalis will play a central role in pursuing our vision of establishing KKVB Group as a global leader in the transition of mission-critical refrigeration and heating applications to sustainable solutions that can support commercial and industrial supply-chains as well as residential comfort while minimizing their environmental impact,” said Michael Millbrodt, Managing Director of KKVB Group. 

The opportunity: The market for CO2 refrigeration systems in North America is relatively small compared to Europe – but it’s growing quickly. 

  • According to ATMOsphere’s 2023 Natural Refrigerants: State of the Industry report (p.95), 4.09% of North American (U.S. and Canadian) supermarkets use transcritical CO2 systems, an 80% increase from 2022. ATMOsphere is the publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com. 
  • ALDI US has been one of the early adopters of natural refrigerants in the United States, and in January it announced that all of its stores would transition to natural refrigerants by 2035. 
  • Industrial CO2 refrigeration is also growing in North America, with data from ATMOsphere’s 2023 market report showing a 71% increase in industrial CO2 installations (p.102) from 2022 to 2023. 

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