The current trends in commercial refrigeration aim at reducing the synthetic refrigerant charge, either by minimising the internal volume of the circuit or by utilising natural refrigerants, and at energy saving.The energy efficiency of supermarkets can be improved by optimising components design, recovering thermal and refrigerating energy, adopting innovative technology solutions, integrating the HVAC system with medium temperature and low temperature refrigeration plants and, finally, reducing thermal loads on refrigerated cases. This study aims at investigating the performance of different lay-out and technological solutions where only natural refrigerants are used and at finding the potential for improving energy efficiency over the traditional systems in different climates. In the analysis, chillers and heat pumps working with ammonia or propane, medium temperature systems working with ammonia or propane and carbon dioxide as heat transfer fluid or with carbon dioxide as the refrigerant and low temperature systems working with carbon dioxide are considered and benchmarked with a state-of-the-art HFCs based plant. The most efficient investigated solution enables an annual energy saving higher than 15% with respect to the baseline solution for all the considered climates.

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