Organic food retailer Whole Foods Market has adopted R-448A in its stores across the United States as it seeks to reduce refrigerant emissions under the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill program.

The Honeywell refrigerant known as SolsticeN40 is based on hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) technology.

Whole Foods Market will retrofit their commercial refrigeration systems at more than 100 stores with Honeywell's reduced-GWP alternative, replacing high-global-warming-potential refrigerants R-404A and R-22.

Solstice N40 offers a GWP that is approximately 68 per cent lower than legacy hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants like R-404A.

When using Solstice N40, refrigeration systems also consume less energy than their counterparts that cool using HFCs.

In US and European supermarket trials, Solstice N40 demonstrated on average, a five  to 15 per cent lower energy consumption than R-404A.

It can be used in new installations and to retrofit existing systems using high-GWP refrigerants like R-404A and R-507.

Food retailers around the world have adopted HFO technology to comply with regulations including the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Solstice N40 is a non-flammable replacement for R-404A, with more than 30,000 installations globally since its release in 2015.

Principal program manager for engineering, compliance and sustainability at Whole Foods, Mike Ellinger, said that over the past decade the company has implemented a range of measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

"After reviewing all of our available retrofit options for our refrigerated cases, R-448A was the clear winner, based on its performance, energy efficiency, reduced GWP and ease of conversion,” he said.

Whole Foods Market is a founding member and active participant in the EPA's GreenChill Partnership, with 12 stores certified.

The GreenChill program is a partnership with food retailers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using alternative solutions and minimizing refrigerants that deplete the ozone.

Honeywell Stationary Refrigerants vice president, Chris LaPietra, said N40 will help Whole Foods Market lower its carbon footprint, save energy and meet regulatory requirements without making massive changes to its systems.

He said Honeywell and its suppliers have completed a billion dollar investment program in research, development and new capacity for Honeywell’s hydrofluorolefin technology.

Worldwide adoption of Solstice products has resulted in the reduction of more than 200 million metric tonnes of CO2 to date, equal to eliminating the emissions from more than 42 million cars.

Whole Foods Market has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.


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