Natural refrigerants in emerging countries: South Africa

South Africa is facing an energy shortage and a rise in electricity prices. Natural refrigerants, which have important energy saving potential, are now being introduced, especially in supermarkets. Here are 2 examples: . GTZ has offered technical and financial assistance to replace high-GWP fluorinated systems in 2 Pick'n Pay supermarkets situated in climatically different zones of South Africa, i.e. Johannesburg and Cape Town. Both systems previously used HCFC-22 and had high annual leakage rates (30% and 80% respectively). The replacement technology is a cascade system using ammonia as a primary refrigerant in an externalized system and a glycol-water distribution system within the store. A CO2 cascade operates as a secondary system for the low-temperature applications. The GTZ project also includes training of technicians and a financing model including traceable carbon credits via the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). . Woolworths, another leading food retail group is implementing the first transcritical CO2 system in commercial refrigeration in South-Africa, recently installed at Woolworths Grey Owl Store in Midrand. The installation, which uses thicker wall copper piping due to high pressures involved by CO2, took three years to complete and has shown highly promising results in terms of energy consumption.