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
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