UK-based Carter Retail Equipment is targeting the Australian market with its vast range of refrigeration equipment based on natural refrigerants CO2 and hydrocarbons.
Carter's Ian Garvey (r) and Geoff Amos (l)
Former Technical Director Ian Garvey and former Sales & Marketing Director Geoff Amos have been an integral part of the mission to expand into new territories. Both have since moved on to establish a private natural refrigerant venture together – NRMS Global Ltd. – but the company is continuing its “natural refrigerant-only initiative”.
"What we're [Carter] doing around the world is we're only promoting natural refrigerants. In Australia and South East Asia, and Geoff's been doing a lot of work in the [United] States,” said Garvey.
Carter’s hydrocarbon showcases run on a chilled water-loop system and have received a swathe of tenders from supermarkets in the United Kingdom since food retail giant Waitrose approached them looking for a contained natural refrigerant solution in 2007.
The factory-assembled water-loop systems chosen by Waitrose require no work on site.
To date, Carter has installed over 20,000 hydrocarbon-cooled showcases throughout Europe. It has also moved into Asia, laying the foundations for a significant market shift in Australia and New Zealand.
Now for Australia…
The company is excited about the potential to develop strong relationships with Australia’s major food retailers.
"Some of the most advanced retailers in the world are here in Australia. What they've done with the cascade [CO2] systems actually predates many other markets, so they're getting ahead of the curb of legislation,” Amos said.
“"What we're [Carter] doing around the world is we're only promoting natural refrigerants."
- Ian Garvey
Hydrocarbons are used for all plug-in showcases at Coles’ state-of-the-art Coburg North store, a retailer Carter had been negotiating with for a couple of years. An adjacent Liquorland store, operated by Coles’ parent company Wesfarmers, runs on a closed-loop condenser water-loop system with three propylene (R1270) showcases, each with an 850g charge and an adiabatic spray system.
The company recently secured further business with Coles, while talks about its hydrocarbon-based water-loop systems and transcritical CO2 solutions are ongoing with Woolworths and independent retailer IGA.
"They're interested. Coles want to do a costing model on a full retail store,” Garvey said. “They also want to look at petrol sites like Coles Express for these hydrocarbon water-loops, and [we’ve] definitely [had] interest from other independent supermarkets as well as independent liquor stores.”
A ‘very simple system’
Garvey describes the water-loop system as a very simple system that “gets all your refrigeration done and rejects the heat out of the store”. With few moving parts, the hermetically sealed plug-in system is very much based on a traditional HFC system using R404A or R407, for example.
The hydrocarbon water-loop system, in light of the refrigerant’s superior thermodynamic properties and lower density, is approximately 16% more energy efficient than comparable HFC models.
"For us hydrocarbons are very good refrigerants, better refrigerants than any of the HFCs we used to use, in terms of capacity, in terms of energy efficiency,” Garvey says. “So because we've designed the system correctly, manufactured correctly, there's no real chance of anything going wrong with a hydrocarbon system. It would have to be something going wrong with the training."