With propane and propene our refrigeration systems emit 90% fewer greenhouse gases

The refrigeration in our fresh produce sections and butchers works just like your fridge at home, with refrigerating gas in a closed circuit. Because small gas leaks are unavoidable, our engineers have been working on propane refrigeration systems since the middle of 2016. These emit 90% fewer greenhouse gases over their entire lifetime than classic refrigerants. Project engineer Collin Bootsveld is working every day to equip all our supermarkets with the new refrigeration by 2027. He has calculated that we would in all emit 10% fewer greenhouse gases in Belgium.

Keep it cool!

“In our shops’ old refrigeration systems, we used a synthetic refrigerant. It is efficient, but not very environmentally friendly,” explains Collin. “That’s why we looked for a sustainable alternative. We found the natural refrigerant, propane. For smaller installations we use propene. Both gases are a lot less harmful to the atmosphere than synthetic refrigeration systems.

Natural propane refrigeration is an important step in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

More environmentally friendly and easy to use.

The new refrigeration system is very compact and easy to maintain. And the lifetime of the new system is dramatically longer, “The new installations will last for at least 20 years, twice as long as the previous ones.”

Propane refrigeration
The new installations contain up to 30 times less refrigerant, leak less and the gas is far less harmful.

Active pioneering role

Since mid-2016, all our new and renovated Colruyt, OKay and Bio-Planet shops have been equipped with propane or propene refrigeration systems. By 2027, all our supermarkets will be equipped with them. With these, we’re running well ahead of the rest of Europe. According to European directives, no refrigeration systems with the current synthetic refrigerant can be installed after 2020. And from 2030, the use of such systems is completely banned.

Installation of the propane installation
By 2027, all systems with synthetic refrigerants will disappear from our shops.

And in the future?

It doesn’t stop with propane and propene refrigerants. From 2029, you will only shop in low-energy shops. In these shops, we want to use the heat from our refrigeration systems to heat up the shop space. “This will also greatly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, because we will use less fossil fuel for heating,” adds Collin. So, a win-win situation! Read more about our plans for low-energy shops here.

VIDEO: propane: a sustainable and natural way of cooling at Colruyt Group

With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

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