Sprouts Farmers Market opened a store in July in Dunwoody, GA, with the first CO2-based, HFC-free supermarket refrigeration system in a warm weather market in North America.

The store runs on an Advansor transcritical booster system that eliminates hydro-fluorocarbons. Retailers and engineers in North America have questioned whether a CO2 transcritical system — described as the cleanest and most environmentally friendly HFC-free option for commercial refrigeration — could be operated efficiently in areas where the ambient temperature climbs above 85F. Energy efficient, economical transcritical CO2 refrigeration systems are normally limited to colder climates due to the limitations of air-cooled gas coolers. The key to Sprouts’ new system is a proprietary Trillium Series hybrid evaporative condenser by Baltimore Air Coil.

“We worked with Baltimore Air Coil to develop a new product that’s a hybrid evaporative condenser adapted for use with CO2,” says Scott Martin, director, sustainable technologies at Hillphoenix. “Evaporative condensers offer energy savings by providing lower system condensing temperatures than conventional air-cooled or water-cooled condensing systems.”  

This trend-setting system was installed with the help of T&O Refrigeration, Fayetteville, GA, the ContractingBusiness.com 2014 Commercial Refrigeration Contractor of the Year (read their story here). T&O President Steve Tibbetts describes the project as a normal startup.

“Once your ‘A’ players get their arms around it, they realize the only difference is higher pressure,” Tibbetts says.