New test centre for eco-friendly cooling is opened

OPEN From left, DCI directors John Drain and Gareth Chambers with Southern Co-operative's Phil Ponsonby
OPEN From left, DCI directors John Drain and Gareth Chambers with Southern Co-operative's Phil Ponsonby
University of Portsmouth group finance and business students, from left, back row Professor Diego Vazquez-Brust and head of the accounting and financial management subject group at the University of Portsmouth Andrew Wood. 'Front row, Louisa Burton, Faculty of Business and Law dean Professor Gioia Pescetto, Francesca Sharp, Amy Davidson

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A TEST and training facility for engineers working with carbon dioxide in refrigeration has been opened in Farlington.

The test plant at DCI Refrigeration and electrical is the only one of its kind in the south.

There is increasing demand for carbon dioxide use in refrigeration, especially in supermarket freezers, as it is more eco-friendly.

The company, which has a turnover of £7m, has invested more than £100,000 in the innovative development which is only the second facility of its kind in the UK.

However, for directors Gareth Chambers and John Drain the decision has been all about convenience – convenience stores to be exact.

With the growing adoption of CO2 by many major retailers for their supermarket sites, they say it is clear that future roll-out across the UK’s convenience stores presents a significant market opportunity.

Mr Chambers said: ‘This is a significant step in our industry’s quest to find solutions that minimise environmental impact, comply with legislation and enable all companies involved in the business of cooling to meet their environmental responsibilities.’

The facilitiy features a carbon dioxide-cooled store mock-up, a plant room and training room.

It enables ongoing test and refinement of DCI’s specially-designed system, and provides a live training resource for refrigeration engineers across the country.

DCI says having access to a training and test facility is vital to ensure expert and safe design, installation and servicing of CO2 systems as the refrigerant is increasingly used by the industry.

Familiar with the convenience market’s demands for lower operating noise and restricted space, DCI already produces products specifically developed to combat such issues, so its new and ongoing CO2 developments enable it to combine these established solutions with greener refrigeration and climate control.

The new facility was officially opened by Phil Ponsonby, chief operating officer for regional retailer The Southern Co-operative.

Speaking as he unveiled a commemorative plaque, he said: ‘With increasing demand for efficient and environmentally-friendly refrigerants, DCI has demonstrated that CO2 offers perhaps the most viable solution, particularly in the food chain where demand for chilled and frozen food continues to grow.

‘We are currently working with DCI to evaluate the use of CO2 for our eco-friendly neighbourhood stores.’