McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Greenpeace and the UN environment programme (UNEP) were unexpected bedfellows at a conference on innovative climate-friendly refrigeration.

The conference highlighted the commitments made by Coca-Cola,
McDonald's and Unilever Ice Cream to phase out HFCs from their
commercial refrigeration systems:

  • Coca-Cola is currently switching to CO2-based
    refrigeration as an alternative it believes to be "safe, reliable
    and more energy efficient" than HFC equipment. The company says
    that 50% of its suppliers have already switched out of HFC foam and
    that, as of 2005, only equipment using non-HFC blown foam will be
    certified for purchase in the company's system
  • Unilever Ice Cream has chosen Hydrocarbon (HC) as
    its preferred alternative to HFCs. As of 2005, Unilever has
    committed to buy only HFC-free ice-cream cabinets and expects to
    have already about 80,000 on the market by them. The company says
    its businesses currently operate some 2 millions freezers around
    the world.
  • McDonald's has run a pilot-programme in one of its
    restaurants in Denmark working only on HFC-free refrigeration and
    will continue development work and testing in 2004-2005. According
    to Greenpeace, Mc Donald's has undertaken to convert 30,000 of its
    restaurants to alternative refrigeration in a timeframe that is
    still to be defined.

In parallel, environmentally-friendly refrigeration technologies
were showcased as possible alternative to HFCs.

  • Hydrocarbons (HC) are currently used mainly in domestic
    refrigeration and have been available in the EU and Asia for a
    number of years. They are now being introduced in commercial
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) refrigeration systems work similarly to
    conventional systems and one believed to offer excellent
    opportunities for commercial refrigeration.
  • The Stirling Cycle - running on helium and radically different
    to the cooling cycle which traditionally runs on F-gases or
    alternatives such as CO2 or HC - have been used in cryogenics for a
    long time. Its use in commercial refrigeration represents a new
    development particularly for smaller-size.
  • Thermoacoustic cooling
  • Solar-powered refrigerators