Conference paper abstracts

The evolution of retail sustainability at Aldi,

Conor Eaton-Smith, K2 Engineering (Cooling) 

Aldi, for over the last decade, have taken steps to improve sustainability with regards to refrigeration. The approach is one of evolution, rather than revolution, with the focus on incremental improvements, that which can be applied to most stores, rather than specific prestige flagship projects. This paper will detail the implementation of this doctrine from 2009, through to 2022, from changing of refrigerants, the implementation of heat recovery and fully integrated cooling and heating systems, through to the selection of Freezer cabinets, and closed fronted cabinets. The implementation will be evaluated the results of the doctrine, and discuss the lessons learned, and potential pitfalls to be avoided.

Cold store upgrade to meet net zero objectives

Rob Lamb, Star Refrigeration

Over the past 10 years, important and successful steps have been made in reducing energy consumption within the temperature-controlled storage sector in the UK. Recent research suggests further savings of between 30% and 85% are possible for new facilities through diligent building design, choice of construction materials, operator behaviour and modern refrigeration equipment selection. The potential for savings in existing facilities is typically less due to the building condition but possible nonetheless. This paper details a project carried out at a 50 year old temperature controlled facility in Scotland. It demonstrates improvements in energy and safety through the installation of modular low charge ammonia refrigeration systems. It details how the changeover was achieved in an operational facility and how ongoing energy performance is monitored through the refrigeration plants control system in real time. It also describes how this data is used to predict annual consumption to help ensure efficient operation in the future.

Air source heat pumps as a low carbon technology – service, maintenance and performance

Gavin Redmore, City FM

For thousands of years humans have burnt wood or fossil fuels in their various forms to provide heat.  In that time efficiencies have increased from the low single digit efficiency of an open fire to the high 90%+ of a modern condensing gas boiler.  So successful has our exploitation been that even with the advent of the vapour compression cycle that can provide CoP’s of 5, 6 or even 7 deployment of heat pumps has been limited in numbers and application. Wood and fossil fuels continue to hold sway for most heating applications from wood fired burners to direct fired gas heaters.

Only with the requirement to transition to net zero technologies have heat pumps come to the fore as low carbon alternative.  However, heat pumps cannot be seen as a straightforward drop-in replacement. Without robust processes for the design, equipment selection, control, installation and commissioning the application can be severely compromised and the impact on service and maintenance substantial.  Any carbon reduction can be compromised, and the expected efficiencies not realised.

This paper discusses each phase of the processes, highlights best practice and analyses the relative performance of Air Source Heat Pumps in installations following best practice and those which did not.

Benchmarking - lessons from cold store benchmarking

Andy Pearson, Star Refrigeration

Operating modern cold store is a complex and often confusing business.  Understanding how energy is used and how to change its use without creating additional difficulties can be a daunting prospect.  This presentation shows owners, operators and maintenance contractors how they can build a meaningful picture of their performance in terms of how they compare with similar facilities in other parts of the country or other parts of the world, how they are doing in comparison with their historic performance and how they are likely to do in future, based on a predictive algorithm.  The presentation uses real data from live sites to illustrate the various advantages gained by pursuing this goal and explains how to add this capability to an existing facility.

Refrigerant lifecycle management - a key part of the solution

Ken Logan, A-Gas

The Montreal Protocol is seen as one of the most successful international treaties ever concluded. Firstly, in its aim to move the world away from using Ozone Depleting Substances and latterly with the implementation of the Kigali Amendment, to phase down the use of HFC refrigerants and transition to lower Global Warming Potential (LGWP) alternatives. So, is that it for refrigerants and the job is done? Not quite, in fact much of its great work could be undone if the vast amounts of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs out there in the installed bank are not completely and carefully recovered, primarily at the equipment’s end of life stage. Project Drawdown, an international coalition of leading researchers, scientists, and policymakers, offers a set of realistic, practical, and economically viable solutions to climate change. Their number one solution, at that time, identified Lifecycle Refrigerant Management, above all others reviewed. At its core is a two-pronged strategy; moving to the use of lower global warming refrigerants and at the same time recovering, reclaiming, or destroying, where no re-use is possible, all the legacy refrigerants in the installed bank. Lifecycle Refrigerant Management is an effective and deliverable circular economy solution on the journey towards net zero, and an overall more sustainable direction for our industry.

Transforming the value chain to help customers decarbonise

Nanna Lundsgaard, Danfoss

It is time for action is now, and as a company, we take responsibility supporting to limit the global warming to 1.5C. We take our responsibility very seriously and have committed to become CO2 neutral in our global operations by 2030. But we do not stop here. We are also working on decarbonizing our supply chain and, by extension, that of our customers. How? For example by focusing on purchased goods, transportation, waste reduction, circularity and end-of-life treatment. In short: we are partnering with our customers to help them decarbonize their operations. This presentation will share lessons learned and explain our approach on how to rethink the upstream value chain as well as product design within a global company, taking responsibility throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. This, by seeing waste as a design flaw.  

Leadership redefined, James Bailey, Omega Solutions 

In recent years we have seen an increase in young professionals joining the refrigeration industry and this bodes well for the future. However, a stark reality is that in the next decade, a high percentage of experienced leaders will retire. We rightly place focus on engineering training, but little emphasis on management and leadership development, and are now facing an incoming headwind. For decades leaders have been mentored and eventually assume position, but in the future owing to the impending retirement challenge, leaders will need to emerge years ahead of schedule in respect of their ability to lead. This is a going to be a burden and a hidden expectation facing Generation Z (defined as those born from the mid-1990s.) This paper explores and redefines how we can promote and instil entrepreneurial, management and leadership qualities to ensure that we not only plug the visible technical engineering skill gap, but also the required leadership skills as we face the realities of climate change