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30 May 2017

Tesco Seek to Reduce Carbon Emissions by Ditching Inefficient R404A Refrigerant

The HFC blend known as R404A is among the most widely-used refrigerants for commercial purposes worldwide. Favoured for its relatively low cost and wide range of applications, the refrigerant is now coming under increased scrutiny due to its high global warming potential (GWP), which is rated at 3922.

Many retailers and other commercial operations which make use of the refrigerant are now beginning to make the switch to more eco-friendly alternatives; such is the case at Tesco. The supermarket giant recently announced that over the next 3 years, they will convert 1,200 stores away from the inefficient and potentially-damaging refrigerant, opting instead to use a variety known as R448A, which carries the brand name of Solstice N40.

For those unversed in the properties of such compounds, the HFC designated R448A serves as a near drop-in replacement for R404A but carries a much lower GWP rating of just 1273, less than one-third that of its counterpart. According to manufacturer Honeywell, the switch could see Tesco’s carbon footprint across its stores reduced by as much as 40%.

Matthew Reeves-Smith, group head of refrigeration & HVAC at Tesco, commented, “We set aggressive sustainability goals and were committed to achieving them without impacting our customers. We sought the best technology to convert 1,200 stores in three years and found our solution in Solstice N40. This refrigerant meets all our key criteria including energy efficiency, system performance and maintenance. The fact that it is a near drop-in replacement for our current refrigerant helps ensure a smooth, ongoing conversion process over the next three years.”

Robert Kebby, refrigeration global business manager for Honeywell Fluorine Products, also added, “More and more supermarket companies are using Solstice N40 in large-scale store conversions, as it is the ideal solution to help meet their energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Honeywell encourages customers to accelerate the conversion to immediately available, environmentally preferable refrigerants and avoid expected legacy product scarcity.”

Honeywell are actively touting the merits of Solstice N40, which is already in use in 60 of Tesco’s stores. They claim that R448A is “the supermarket industry’s most commonly used, lowest-GWP, non-flammable refrigerant to replace R404A”.

Honeywell further stated that they will remove R404A from sale in the EU from next year.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.