Paving the Way for Transcritical CO2, Down Under Woolworths wants its first transcritical CO2 store to serve as a learning lab for Australia’s contractors, suppliers and other retailers
Dario Ferlin, Woolworths
By Devin Yoshimoto
wo weeks before the grand opening of Woolworths’ new store in Colebee, New South Wales, Australia, in May, a single bottle of champagne sat in a bottle cooler in an empty walk-in cold room. The rest of the 34,445-sq-ft supermarket was virtually empty of stock. “You’ll notice that somebody’s already put out a bottle of champagne,” said Dario Ferlin, Woolworths’ sustainable innovations engineer, with a smile, as he led a tour of the store for Accelerate Australia & NZ (a sister magazine to Accelerate America).
No doubt Ferlin and the rest of his team later enjoyed the champagne in celebration of Woolworths’ first transcritical CO 2 store in Australia. The store’s pilot transcritical CO 2 system is designed to operate in remarkably high ambient temperatures – up to 113°F (45°C) – reliably and efficiently, incorporating the latest in commercial refrigeration technology. “This journey has taken quite a number of years to get to where we are today,” Ferlin said. “But along the way, there have been quite a few learnings, all with
the view to developing what we believe is the best the world can offer for the Australian environment.” It is not just the technical achievements that make Woolworths’ transcritical system impressive. The retailer has a broader vision for the technology, incorporating the rest of the Australian retail refrigeration industry. “This isn’t about simply opening up a store successfully and then walking away,” Ferlin explained. “This is about building up the skill sets in the industry. It’s about sparking creativity and imagination – with other contractors and other retailers – so we can start the ball rolling.”
MASSIVE CHAIN Based in Bella Vista, New South Wales, Woolworths Limited (no connection to the U.S. company F.W. Woolworths, now known as Foot Locker) has wide-ranging outlets, including 873 Woolworths supermarkets in Australia and 160 Countdown stores in New Zealand. The company also operates Caltex Woolworths (gas stations), Dan Murphy's