The Impacts of Technology and CO2 on the Future of System Architecture

Jan 25, 18 | Efficiency, Efficiency & Refrigerant Regulations

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I recently spoke at Emerson’s Chicago’s E360 Forum and spelled out the challenges and benefits of CO2 systems. For a complete look at the costs and opportunities, we encourage you to watch the full presentation.


Regulatory changes to the use of refrigerants are creating difficult business decisions — and more change is coming. Reducing global warming potential (GWP) is going to be an issue, so it’s worth looking at how this industry trend may influence your refrigeration strategies.

HFC/HFO blends lower GWP, but only moderately. In contrast, CO2 is a zero-ozone depleting natural refrigerant that has a GWP of 1. Non-toxic and non-flammable, it’s classified as an A1 refrigerant by ASHRAE. In today’s uncertain environment, it offers a potentially future-proof solution to your long-term plans. You won’t have to retrofit out of CO2.

Because CO2 is more efficient, it has more cooling capacity. That allows you to have smaller compressors and line sizes, reduce installation, and use less refrigerant within a store.

Best of all, the technology isn’t new. CO2 already has a majority of the market share in Europe. Since 2013, the total number of CO2 transcritical booster systems in North America has grown from 30 to 310. More than 60 of these systems are located in warmer climates, operating efficiently with just a few modifications.

CO2 system costs are also coming down, thanks to the growing involvement of OEMs, wholesalers, contractors and end users.

When considering CO2, understand the total cost of ownership. The lower first cost of traditional HFC systems offers only one-time savings. While CO2 systems have higher first cost, their lower installed cost and lower energy and maintenance costs offer savings annually throughout their lifecycles. Some organizations are even lowering first costs by collaborating with local energy utilities to secure rebates and incentives.

For a complete look at the costs and opportunities, we encourage you to watch the full presentation