The new SPAR CO2 refrigeration Austria
The new SPAR in Vollbadgasse is integrated into a residential development. (Source: SPAR)

SPAR Austria Reaffirms Commitment to CO2 Refrigeration at New Store in Vienna

Waste heat from the store’s refrigeration system is recovered to provide space heating for the supermarket and its surrounding facilities.

SPAR Austria, one of the country’s leading food retailers, has reaffirmed its commitment to natural refrigerants with the installation of a CO2 (R744)-based refrigeration system at its new supermarket in the Vollbadgasse neighborhood of Vienna, according to a statement from the retailer.

The system consists of a centralized CO2 rack and remote refrigerated cabinets, all supplied by Austrian manufacturer Hauser. In total, it provides around 250kW (71TR) in cooling capacity, SPAR Austria told R744.com.

The system also includes heat recovery, in which waste heat from the refrigeration equipment is reclaimed for space heating in the 600m2 (6,458ft2) store as well as the facilities in the surrounding mixed-use building complex, which includes a medical center, a nursing home, a kindergarten and more than 60 apartments.

“SPAR is a pioneer for climate-fit supermarkets and relies on technologies in all new buildings and renovations that ensure energy-efficient operation and minimize the climate impact,” said Alois Huber, SPAR Austria’s Managing Director.

The supermarket, which opened in December 2023, expects to see energy savings of around 300,000kWh per year thanks to its integrated refrigeration and heating system, explained Marcus Scheuch, Energy Manager at SPAR Austria.

This is the third such system to be installed at SPAR Austria stores, he added.

According to Scheuch, SPAR Austria chose to use CO2 for the refrigeration system at its new store in Vollbadgasse due to its environmental performance.

Alois Huber, SPAR Austria, in the plant room of the chain’s new store in Vollbadgasse, Vienna. (Source: SPAR)
Alois Huber, SPAR Austria, in the plant room of the chain’s new store in Vollbadgasse, Vienna. (Source: SPAR)

Emissions reductions

Because around 50% of its stores’ greenhouse gas emissions come from released refrigerants, SPAR Austria has said that it is committed to natural refrigerants, which have negligible impact on the climate compared to HFCs.

Since 2017, SPAR Austria – which operates more than 1,500 stores across the county – has only installed cascade CO2 refrigeration systems in its new stores. For “several years,”, the retailer has also opted for integrated HVAC&R systems to eliminate the need for fossil fuel-based heating.

The retailer’s commitment to CO2-based refrigeration extends beyond its stores and to its logistics warehouse in Ebergassing, which includes 19,000m² (204,514ft2) of refrigerated storage. According to SPAR, the facility was the first in Austria to install a transcritical CO2 refrigeration system, which was supplied by Carrier.

“By using the natural refrigerant CO2, the sustainable system helps to improve the energy efficiency of the logistics center and reduce its carbon footprint,” says SPAR on its website. “The waste heat generated in the cooling process can be recovered and used for space heating. In the SPAR logistics center, around 500kW of the heating output is recovered.”

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