Price Chopper Store Installs Cutting-edge Refrigeration System

Price Chopper Supermarkets' store on Route 50 in Saratoga, N.Y. has installed a refrigeration system using a carbon dioxide cascade for low-temperature refrigeration - the first such installation in North America, according to Price Chopper and Conyers, Ga.-based Hill Phoenix, which supplied the system.

The store is currently being renovated for a grand reopening "within the next two months," Price Chopper spokeswoman Mona Golub told Progressive Grocer.

The technology condenses CO2 by a medium-temperature refrigeration system using R-404A, which also chills propylene glycol for the relocated dairy and beverage departments. The Saratoga Price Chopper location is employing the technology in its frozen food and ice cream departments.

According to Hill Phoenix, one great benefit of using CO2 in a cascade system is the lower cost of refrigerant, since CO2 is 50 cents a pound, compared with $7 or $8 per pound for hydrofluorocarbons. Among the system's other advantages are smaller line sizes, reduced copper piping, increased system efficiency, and the ability to reduce a store's carbon footprint.

Hill Phoenix has been testing various types of low-temperature CO2 systems since 2001. First-generation CO2 systems (SNLT2), using Hill Phoenix patented Second Nature CO2 secondary coolant technology have been used at stores in the United States since 2006.

Energy-reducing innovations specified by Price Chopper for the system included high-efficiency ECM fan motors and LED lighting in all cases, the use of reach-in door cases for all-new medium-temperature loads, and variable-speed fan control for the air-cooled condensers, according to Hill Phoenix.

To ensure easy, problem-free implementation and startup of the system at the Saratoga store, the Hill Phoenix Learning Center ran training sessions with the installing contractor, Syracuse, N.Y.-based ABC Refrigeration.

Price Chopper will evaluate the maintenance and efficiency of the system over the next several months, and if the system proves as efficient as projected, the company will roll out the system to other Price Chopper locations.

The Schenectady, N.Y.-based Golub Corp. owns and operates 116 Price Chopper grocery stores in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. The family-owned company's approximately 24,000 associates collectively own 51 percent of the its privately held stock.
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