Publix commits to R290 for small plug-in cabinets

The Florida-based chain uses R290 crates all over storefronts and in pet food aisles.

U.S. retailer Publix Supermarkets, which operates 1,284 stores in seven southeastern states, has committed to using propane refrigerant (R290) in all of its small stand-alone cabinets in new stores as well as in store replacement units. existing.

It was one of the messages shared by Doug Milu, refrigeration and energy program director for the chain based in Lakeland, Fla., During the end-user session at the ATMOsphere America conference, held online on November 3. ATMOsphere America was organized by ATMOsphere (formerly shecco), publisher of

Due to the current load limit of 150g for the R290 in self-contained plug-in boxes, Publix has limited its refrigerant use to smaller boxes, including beverage coolers at checkouts, soft drink dispensers at the outlet stores, free-standing cabinets in the halls and crates containing fresh organic pet food.

“We really think the R290 has won this small cabinet format,” Milu said.

Last month, UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approved a second edition of its UL 60335-2-89 standard, including higher charge limits for hydrocarbon-based refrigerants. The new UL standard increases the load limit in commercial plug-in display cases to 13 times the LFL (lower flammability limit) of a refrigerant – or 500 g for propane (R290) – for open devices (without doors). It raises the load limit of closed devices with doors and / or drawers to eight times the LFL of flammable refrigerant (300g for the R290). The higher UL approved fees would still have to be passed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and ultimately passed by local building codes, before retailers can install cabinets containing more than 150g of propane.

Milu said he is open to installing larger R290 cabinets with higher fees once they become available. “It’s up to the equipment manufacturers to design, build and deliver these larger cabinets,” he said. “At some point, I see this happening. “

Meanwhile, R290 showcase companies such as True Manufacturing provide training for technicians working on their equipment, and Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) provides “good training” for R290 and R600a applications, he said. .

Publix mainly uses centralized rack systems for its refrigeration. The chain has started installing transcritical CO2 systems in some stores, following the use of a DX CO2 system (for low temperature cases) and pumped liquid CO2 supercharging (for medium temperature cases) in about 78 stores, Milu said.

We really think the R290 has won this small cabinet format. “
– Doug Milu, Publix

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