31 May 2022
Riverford Organic Farm has increased its sustainability with the installation of four Panasonic CO₂ refrigeration units at its new butchery in Devon.
Installer Neil McCourt, of Keep it Cool, sought the advice of refrigeration specialist distributor Mervin Chumun from Hawco, and together they specified four 10HP Panasonic Coldchain units for Riverford's hanging, retail, and despatch areas.
With over 25 years’ experience in all aspects of retail refrigeration and the use of CO₂, McCourt said: “The main challenge was to keep the rest of the butchery running whilst the expansion was happening. Panasonic cold chain technology was specified partly because of my years of knowledge of the brand on the AC side, but also I am fully aware of Panasonic’s sustainable and environmental credentials. I know the company has conducted lots of research and seem to be leading the way in this area – they have even created a whole city in Japan to highlight sustainability that runs on renewable energy.”
Riverford Organic Farm was established in the 1980s and originally delivered fresh vegetables to supermarkets but then realised that there was a unique business model with home delivery. It now delivers to over 80,000 homes across England and Wales from 36 distribution sites.
Nigel Bower, facilities and property manager at Riverford, said: “We are looking to make significant in-roads by 2030 to drive down our carbon footprint of our activities and in particular the refrigeration and electrical usage that represents 7% of our overall business, we are looking to reduce this with the work we are currently doing especially within our refrigeration requirements.
“We chose the Panasonic range of R744 units as the best natural cold chain refrigeration solution. It offers the best stability and the environmental credentials we were looking for, along with delivering a low energy usage and fitted exactly with what we wanted to achieve in the butchery and on our other sites as well. As the existing site has doubled in size and expanded recently – we are already seeing the benefits in costs. Energy usage is going down and the system is so far performing as we expected to achieve what we wanted to keep a stable environment and reduce our costs - so all good. We have 36 other sites that need updating – we are looking at renewables such as CO₂ in these sites and currently researching further.”
Neil McCourt added: “The benefits of using the R744 system are not only for the environment, but also offer greater energy efficiency in addition to the sound of the units being barely noticeable and very quiet, so great for residential areas as you can hardly hear them. Panasonic are very reliable and have a proven system that is easy to install. All the equipment for the project was delivered on time, and ready for us to install. The installation process was smooth and easy and the support from Indy and the team was fantastic.”
The Panasonic gas coolers feature two important technologies:
- a unique twin stage rotary compressor which is powerful, quiet and comes with a five-year warranty
- the split-cycle within the refrigeration circuit
Indy Tharnvithian, cold chain technical specialist at Panasonic, said: “We understand how crucial it is to have a reliable refrigeration system for the food chain market and the cost implication on repair works. The customer benefits from an increase in operational efficiency with our CO₂ system of up to 50% more compared to a standard cycle of a conventional refrigerant system.”
The Panasonic units offer system capacities from 2kW to 16kW and can be used in places such as schools, hospitals, service stations, care homes, hotels and supermarkets. Heat recovery is also available as an option. The 16kW units installed at Riverford are designed for flexible installation. The system allows for a maximum of 100 metres of total pipe run in between the outdoor and the evaporator.