Güntner, Emblem Cranberry’s Eco-Friendly Cooling System

Frozen, sugared cranberries on a drying rack.

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Mar 20, 2024

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In the face of escalating global temperatures, the choices made today in the cooling and refrigeration sectors are pivotal for the future of our planet. With projections indicating a rise in average global temperature by up to 7°C (12.6°F) by the century’s end, the urgency for sustainable solutions has never been more pronounced. Synthetic chemical refrigerants, while common, pose a threat to the environment, contributing to global warming and releasing harmful acids upon degradation. In collaboration with Güntner, a leader in refrigeration technology, Emblem Cranberry set a benchmark in the industry with one of the world’s largest transcritical carbon dioxide (CO2) cooling systems. This initiative underscores the industry’s shift towards sustainable practices and highlights the tangible benefits of adopting natural refrigerants.

The Rise of Natural Refrigerants

Güntner has long advocated using natural refrigerants due to their minimal or non-existent global warming potential. Natural refrigerant systems may include ammonia, water, hydrocarbons, and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, in particular, stands out for its non-toxic and non-flammable properties, making it an increasingly popular choice over synthetic refrigerants. “As a company, we are firmly committed to a greener future for our industry. Almost half of the Güntner condensers, evaporators, and gas coolers sold in 2022 are used with natural refrigerants, and we hope to increase that number rapidly in the future,” states Fabian Ganser, a Sustainability and Climate Change expert at Güntner.

Emblem Cranberry’s Pioneering Effort

Located in the Sainte-Eulalie region of Quebec, Canada, Emblem Cranberry has embraced Güntner’s vision by incorporating a state-of-the-art transcritical CO2 cooling system within its facility. This system serves a critical role in the processing and distributing cranberries and other small fruits, accommodating over 55 million lb of cranberries and 16 million lb of different fruits.

Advantages of CO2 Cooling Systems

Adopting a CO2 cooling system brings multiple benefits, marking a significant advancement over traditional refrigeration methods. Notably, CO2 stands out for its minimal environmental impact, boasting a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP), negligible ozone depletion contribution, and inherent non-toxic and non-flammable properties. These features make CO2 an environmentally safer alternative.

Operationally, CO2 systems excel in scalability, effortlessly accommodating the varying needs of both small and large-scale facilities. They are distinguished by their reduced leakage rates, diminishing the frequency and cost of maintenance compared to their predecessors. The regulatory landscape increasingly favors CO2 systems due to their reduced environmental footprint, translating into less regulatory risk for businesses.

From an efficiency standpoint, CO2 cooling systems offer superior energy efficiency that reduces operational expenses over the system’s lifespan. A vital feature of these systems is their ability to recover waste heat effectively, which can then be repurposed for heating spaces and water within the premises. This capability results in significant cost and emission reductions and enhances overall energy utilization.

A compelling endorsement of CO2 systems’ effectiveness comes from Vincent Godin, President of Emblem Cranberry, who highlights their facility’s operational and financial efficiencies: “We have a 100KW furnace to heat the building when the compressor doesn’t generate enough heat. In six years, we’ve operated it only once, so we have virtually no heating costs for the facility.”

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