Coca-Cola calls on peers for cooler commitment

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon dioxide

Coca-Cola is calling on rival food and rink manufacturers to join
it in investing in carbon dioxide (CO2) refrigeration as part of
its commitment to improving energy efficiency within its

Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive officer of the beverage manufacturer, said in a speech delivered at the Greenpeace China Business Lecture Series that for the company itself, cold drink equipment such a chillers represents the single greatest environmental impact of its operations.

Although the units themselves are used off-site in retail environments and vending machines, he said they represented a significant area for some food and drink manufacturers to cut their overall energy emissions.

The company said that by 2010, it would therefore expand the focus on CO2 refrigeration in its operations by investing in 100,000 new units through its bottlers at a premium price to encourage equipment suppliers into making the products more affordable. "

Once we send a clear signal to our suppliers that we are moving in that direction, they will have the certainty that they need to invest in new production facilities, to meet the demand that we are creating," he stated.

"As our suppliers make those investments, the price premium for sustainable equipment will fall, and we - and everyone else - will be able to buy more climate-friendly cooling equipment."

Coca-Cola estimates that its bottling groups, which produce and distribute its beverages, operate 10 million coolers and vending machines globally.

Hydrofluorocarbons Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) refrigeration systems currently used by the company are increasingly expected to contribute to 'climate change problems, according to Coca-Cola.

The company claims that HFCs impact on the environment through the amount of energy required to run, the insulation foam and the refrigerant gas used in the products is particularly significant.

The HFCs themselves are created from both the insulation in the cooler, as well as the refrigerant use itself, Coca-Cola says.

Insulation foam is seen as the foremost contributor to the formation of HFCs.

As such, the company says that by removing HFCs from the insulation foam of new coolers, it has eliminated 75 per cent of direct emissions from the units.

Gas emissions The company added that reducing the refrigerant gas, created through cycles of compression and expansion, was it next target, highlighting CO2 as the perfect replacement.

Isdell said that while CO2 emissions are also a concern for the industry over their environmental impacts, the gas is 1,300 times less potent than HFCS, as well as making the refrigeration units five per cent more energy efficient.

The chairman added that the new cooler systems also make use of a new piece of technology provided by Elstat Electronics that can create an energy management system.

Coca-Cola says that the EMS-55 can analyse how a cooler is being used and adjust operations accordingly to be more efficient.

"For example, when a vending machine is typically not being used on a weekend, it turns the refrigeration system right down," Isdell stated.

"A machine equipped with EMS -55 would use up to 35 percent less energy than an equivalent [unit].

This would allow the company to meet commitments made back in 2000 to improve energy efficiency within its equipment by 40 to 50 per cent by 2010.

Isdell said that despite the beverage makers' overall size within the food and beverage chiller industry, it could not alone drive the market towards more efficient refrigeration.

"We are large, and we are visible enough to act as leaders and as triggers to move refrigeration on a sustainable path, but we need overall industry collaboration," he stated.

Related topics Manufacturers Carlsberg

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