Pro Refrigeration Introduces CO2 Chiller System in Plan to Phase Out Refrigerants with High Global Warming Potential

By Jeanna Baxter White
Published June 7, 2021

Pro Refrigeration, the leading cooling technology and equipment company for fermented craft beverages, dairy, and food processing, has begun production of its first carbon dioxide (CO2/R744) chiller system. This is the first step in the company’s plan to reduce refrigeration global warming potential (GWP) by phasing out its use of refrigerants with high GWP.

Pro Refrigeration, which provides EPA compliant HCFC-based systems, is competing to be the first US-based manufacturer to add a carbon dioxide (CO2), also known as R744, chiller system to its standard product offering.

“This is such an exciting time to be in the refrigeration industry, natural refrigerants are long overdue in the United States market,” says Jim VanderGiessen, Jr., CEO and co-founder of Pro Refrigeration. “It’s our goal that by 2022, one of every four systems Pro produces will operate using natural refrigerants.”

“Our goal is to not only lead the charge to a greener planet and better future but to deliver increased cooling efficiency, while also increasing the heat recovery to provide more hot water at higher temperatures by 300 percent.” 

Its new division, PROGreen Solutions, will focus initially on converting current products from chemical-based refrigerants to natural solutions without Global Warming Impact. The product offering will also include industrial rack systems (non-supermarket) and heat pumps.

Production has started on the first CO2 (R744) driven PROChiller System at Pro’s manufacturing facility in Mocksville, NC. The Dual 50 HP Chiller System will be located at Bill Jongsma Dairy in Tulare, Calif.

“Bill Jongsma is providing Pro the perfect opportunity to prove that CO2 is not only a viable option the dairy industry should consider, but the best option available today,” said VanderGiessen.

He listed a few of the benefits of CO2 (R744) vs synthetic refrigerants.

  • CO2 has a GWP of 1. Most HFC and HFO blends currently used for refrigeration have GWPs ranging from 1,000 to nearly 4,0000.
  • CO2 is environmentally benign, non-toxic and non-explosive
  • CO2 is far less expensive than synthetic refrigerants
  • CO2 is future-proof, there is no legislation pending to phase it out

VanderGiessen said that it was the CO2 system’s highly efficient heat reclamation opportunity that really caught the attention of the dairy farmers that he has spoken with.

“Because of the higher discharge temperatures, we can heat their potable water, which is used to clean and sanitize the milking equipment and pipelines, to 180 F. This has the potential to eliminate the need for alternative (electric, propane, natural gas) heat sources completely.”

For Bill Jongsma Dairy, that means a potential savings of $2500 a month currently spent on propane.

Following unanticipated supply chain issues with some of the specialized components required, VanderGiessen said the ProGreen Solutions team expects to have the first CO2-driven ProChiller System installed and cooling milk in July.