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Tesco to use evaporative cooling system

UK: Tesco has signed a deal with HVAC contractor Cosaf which will see the retailer implementing evaporative cooling technology in preference to refrigerant-based air conditioning.

Under the deal, Cosaf will upgrade Tesco’s in-store cooling systems by implementing its innovative Air2O IDEC evaporative cooling air conditioning technology.

The partnership, which is set to position Tesco as the UK’s most environmentally efficient grocery retailer by 2025, is expected to lower the energy usage of Tesco’s environmental systems by 80%. It will also significantly reduce its capital, running, and maintenance costs by completely replacing all compressor based cooling systems from their comfort cooling air handling units with Air2O systems.

Developed in California, and refined in the extreme climates of Arizona, the middle east and Australia, Cosaf maintains that Air2O is perfectly suited to thrive in the UK’s moderate climate.

Air2O is a packaged system combining both indirect/direct evaporative cooling (IDEC) technologies. During the first indirect stage, outdoor air is passed through the evaporative cooling section, and as the warm air is cooled, so is the water. This cool water is then transferred to a high efficiency heat exchanger (over which the primary outdoor air is passed) to deliver the first stage of cooling with no additional moisture. The air is then further cooled as it passes the second cooling stage.

Tesco’s deployment of Air2O was described as “a significant upgrade process” by Cosaf Environments MD Karl Sullivan. “It’s IDEC capability is an effective solution to Tesco’s F-gas challenge and shows that it is possible for retailers to move on from old habits, while strengthening our belief in sustainable solutions to every day HVAC problems.”

The Air2O system was first trialled by Tesco in its Henley-on-Thames superstore in December 2016. Despite June’s heat wave, which included the UK’s hottest five consecutive days in 25 years, and the hottest individual day in 15 years, Air2O performed beyond all expectation. Tesco then extended its relationship with Cosaf by ordering further Air2O units for its distribution depot in Reading, which are now fully installed and operational.

As the next generation in air conditioning technology, Air2O can uniquely hybridise and incorporate traditional DX or chilled water cooling to adapt intuitively to its environment. This flexibility was important when adapting to the different challenges presented by Tesco’s distribution centres and superstore layouts, with variable air temperatures that are directly and indirectly affected by large chillers and refrigerants.

Committed to using Air2O in both its superstores and distribution centres, Roger Oliver, Tesco’s HVAC engineering manager, said: “We required an alternative cooling solution that wouldn’t rely on refrigerant gas, and would fit within our existing AHU model. Cosaf worked closely with our AHU supplier to deliver a solution that effectively aligned with these parameters. Cosaf’s established reputation for unparalleled customer service and unique capabilities gives us confidence that our partnership will continue to successfully advance our goals in this field.’’

The Air2O technology has already been installed at a number of prestigious sites around the world. Over 140 IDEC units are employed to cool various outdoor areas at Universal Studios, Singapore, including the auditorium at the Water World show attractions, rest areas, outdoor restaurants, queuing areas for rides and pathways. Supplying approximately 3.5 million m³/min of conditioned air, the units range in sizes from 5000-25000m³/min.

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