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CO2 refrigeration key to Brakes’ carbon reductions

UK: Preston-based CO2 refrigeration specialist Isentra has helped Brakes, the UK’s leading foodservice wholesaler, reach a new milestone in its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2025.

Figures released by Brakes in June revealed its overall emissions dropped by a further 3% in 2019 to 27%. While reductions in the use of gas for boilers and heating and more efficient lighting are said to have played their part, Brakes attributed the biggest impact to the roll out of a new CO2 refrigeration system from Isentra.

The roll out across its network followed a successful transition to natural CO2 refrigerant in fridges in its Thetford depot. Data from that installation showed that changing to natural refrigerants saved more than 75 tonnes of carbon in its first year of operation, prompting Brakes to install identical systems at its Bodelwyddan and Thorpe depots.

According to Brakes’ supply chain and operations director Alex Mayfield, the new equipment at Thetford saved around 75 tonnes of CO2.

“Brakes has used natural refrigerants in its larger distribution centres for many years, but until recently it has not been technically possible to scale such solutions down for smaller regional operations,” he said. 

“As the first wholesaler committed to rolling out more environmentally sustainable refrigeration across its entire network, we’ve seen the new system deliver not only better environmental performance, but we are also seeing other benefits such as a 25% reduction in the energy consumed at the depots.

“We’ve achieved our 2020 target of 20% absolute carbon reduction, in fact already hitting 27% reduction by end of 2019. And we believe that initiatives such as our refrigeration strategy mean that we are well on our way to hitting our revised target of a 30% reduction by 2025.”

Isentra director Daniel Clark pointed out that there were other benefits of the CO2 refrigeration such as harnessing low outdoor ambient temperatures and benefiting from free cooling which all together provided a 49% refrigeration energy reduction.

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