In August, Royal Duty Free – a Philippines-based chain of duty-free supermarkets – will retrofit one of its stores to use only R290 plug-in units combined with a water-loop system, according to a local refrigeration contractor, Cold Front Technologies Asia, Inc.
The store is located in Subic Bay — a special economic zone a few hours’ drive northwest of the Philippines’ capital city of Manila.
It will be “the first store in the country to use 100% R290-based refrigeration,” according to Emilio Gonzalez La’O, Cold Front’s president.
Royal Duty Free requested zero store downtime during installation – “which will be a challenge,” said Gonzalez La’O – but is possible due to the ability of R290 water-loop systems to be installed quickly compared to centralized remote refrigeration systems.
Cold Front has experience installing water-loop systems in the country, having installed the first one (not for all cases) in the Philippines at a Citimart supermarket located in the province of Batangas in November 2016.
Cold Front, an exclusive distributor of Freor’s products in the Philippines, has since installed Freor’s water-loop systems at three Rustan’s supermarkets in Manila.
Considerable energy savings
One of the factors driving interest in R290 systems for new and remodeled stores over the past few years is the very high cost of electricity in the Philippines coupled with the energy-saving capability of R290.
“Part of why we are seeing a lot more interest, and why we are pushing for R290 and waterloop systems together, is the feedback we are receiving on energy savings,” said Jennifer V. Gonzalez La’O, Cold Front’s vice president of finance & administration.
“The testimony, at least from engineering and based on our own numbers, is that the combination of the water loop with R290 was resulting in anywhere from 25%-30% energy savings.”
Jennifer V. Gonzales La’O, Cold Front
Another reason for interest in R290 water-loop systems, noted Emilio Gonzalez La’O, is that many stores using traditional plug-in units that emit a lot of heat inside the store “want something different, but are not interested in remote systems due to the difficulties with maintenance and other issues that they see with these systems.”