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Hillphoenix is a leading manufacturer of display cases, specialty products, commercial refrigeration systems, alternative refrigerants, CO2 refrigeration, power systems and comprehensive services for the food retail industry. We serve the Supermarket, Convenience Store, Dollar Discount Store, Drug Store, Food Service, Mass Merchandiser, Membership and Warehouse segments.



CO2 Refrigeration:
Hillphoenix Sustainable Refrigeration Systems and Display Cases

CO2 Refrigeration:
Hillphoenix Sustainable Refrigeration Systems and Display Cases

The leader in CO2 refrigeration and alternative refrigerants, Hillphoenix provides CO2 refrigeration systems for commercial, retail and industrial applications, specifically designed to meet the needs of your industry while increasing sales, saving energy, ensuring regulatory compliance, and reducing your environmental impact.

Hillphoenix offers several natural refrigerant solutions. CO2 (R-744 in refrigerant nomenclature) with a GWP of 1, is the benchmark for environmentally friendly, sustainable refrigeration against which practically all other refrigerants are measured. As of 2022, there are more than fifteen-thousand CO2 refrigeration systems installed worldwide. Ammonia (R-717) widely used in industrial refrigeration actually has a lower GWP of 0. It is also highly toxic and as such ammonia refrigeration presently is not a practical solution for commercial applications. Another innovative path toward sustainability has so far been employed primarily in grocery store display cases. Propane (R-290) has proven beneficial when used as a refrigerant in single condensing units, the refrigeration components of stand-alone display cases.

The decision for any refrigeration system operator as to which refrigerant to choose is a complex one that requires multiple considerations to determine. The best way to come to that decision is to learn and understand as much as possible about those various factors not the least of which concern cost, sustainability and regulatory impacts.

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Food retail refrigeration systems had until the early two-thousands largely relied on the use of synthetic refrigerants to cool their food display cases and other refrigeration equipment. Since then, practically every type of refrigeration system user, from big-box warehouse and membership club retailers, to national, regional and local supermarket chains, to convenience stores and others have begun to switch over from synthetic refrigerants to natural refrigerants. This change has been driven by a combination of expanded regulatory regimes and corresponding market factors as well as societal factors and consumer preferences.

The EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) was instituted under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act to identify and evaluate alternatives for ozone-depleting substances. The SNAP program seeks to understand the overall effect of these substances on our health and environment while gathering knowledge and evaluating information on the alternatives available that could be acceptable substitutes that pose less of a risk to the population as a whole.

Click here to see EPA and other regulations and timelines >

Advances in technology have made the use of environmentally friendly CO2 booster systems practical across a wide range of industrial applications. A booster system uses only CO2 as a refrigerant. Unlike other parallel rack systems, it does not have to rely on any HFC or ammonia refrigerants. In large part, this is made possible by the function of two main components that are not found on traditional types of systems — a high-pressure control valve and a flash-gas bypass valve. In tandem with a third component, the condenser/gas cooler, which works as a condenser like the ones on most other types of systems, CO2 booster systems have become a practical, efficient alternative to traditional systems for almost any type of application in any locale.

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Food Retail and Supermarket Refrigeration

Our food retail commercial refrigeration systems and merchandising display cases are designed to maintain the highest standards in food quality and safety as well as providing retailers with the flexibility and customization options to create the best customer shopping and retail merchandising experiences. 

Refrigerated Display Cases: Common Questions

Maintaining product integrity is important when it comes to refrigerated display cases in the food retail environment. From open multi-deck display cases to door cases, refrigerated products should maintain a temperature of 40 degrees F or below (ideally between 32-40 degrees) to reduce the risk of food borne illness and the growth of harmful bacteria. Temperature monitoring systems can be put into play including temperature probes and thermometers within the display case.

Refrigerated display cases are designed for particular applications to provide the best refrigeration and display of products. And, refrigeration is the process of cooling by the removal, or transfer, of heat regardless of whether the goal is to keep food and other perishables from spoiling. The process of refrigeration works based on the principles of pressure, temperature, and heat transfer to remove heat from areas you desire cooled, such as walk-in coolers and display cases in supermarkets, and to transfer it to areas where it can be discarded, such as the atmosphere, or where it can be put to use, such as heat reclaim for assisting the store’s heating and air conditioning system.

Refrigerated display cases do simply more than just the cooling products. Cases must be designed for particular applications. And, in addition, aesthetics, store work process, and customer convenience are all integral considerations in answering the customers’ needs. Freshly maintained product, displayed in an attractive and enticing manner within cases that meet the customers’ work, stocking, and consumer convenience requirements, is product that sells. Cases are available for nearly every application in sizes, styles, trim, and accessory packages, colors, and functionality to assist food retailers in finding the exact case they need for any product application and their particular merchandising needs.

CO2 and Sustainable Refrigeration Systems for Commercial and Industrial

Hillphoenix provides industrial refrigeration and commercial refrigeration solutions for retail and commercial businesses in multiple industry sectors, and we are the leader in CO2 refrigeration, eco-friendly refrigeration systems, and alternative refrigerants such as glycol, and propane.

Industrial Cold Storage: Our industrial refrigeration systems are designed to meet the needs of cold storage warehouses, distribution centers and other large footprint facilities, utilizing the the latest in sustainable refrigeration technologies and environmentally safe coolants, including glycol and CO2.

Food Processing Refrigeration: Hillphoenix food processing refrigeration systems solve the cooling challenges of food preservation, food safety, food integrity and more. Our food processing refrigeration is cost effective, energy efficient and is available in environmentally safe refrigerants.

CO2 Refrigeration: Common Questions

  • CO2 is called “natural refrigerant” because it is a substance that occurs directly in nature as opposed to synthetic chemicals.
  • Readily available, odorless, non-corrosive, class A1 (non-toxic, non-flammable and can be safely vented) refrigerant which is not harmful if exposed to food products.
  • Environmentally benign with no ozone depletion potential (ODP = 0) while serving as the baseline for global warming potential with a GWP of 1.
  • Advansor technology has over 15,000 global installations and counting.
  • The system’s higher quality heat reclaim opportunities improve store energy performance.
  • Advansor systems require a lower CO2 charge and have a smaller weight and footprint compared to CO2 secondary systems.
  • More efficient than conventional HFC systems in many climates.
  • An excellent way to help achieve GreenChill Platinum-Level Certification.
  • Provides significant system energy savings, which along with low refrigerant cost, translates to operational savings.
  • Transcritical CO2 booster systems run with a very high discharge temperature offering efficient heat reclaim opportunity far superior to an equivalent HFC system.
  • CO2 is “future-focused”
    • No regulatory issues as with NH3, HCFC, HFC, and HFO refrigerants.
    • Will NEVER be phased out. No chance of fines or penalties.
    • No regulatory management (recovery, recycling, or reporting) is required by OSHA (PSM), EPA (RMP), or DHS (CFATS).
    • No need for internal recordkeeping or staff safety engineer admin overhead cost.
    • Lower service and maintenance costs when servicing equipment since CO2 can be vented to the open air (does not have to be captured and reclaimed).
CO2 booster systems provide both low- and medium-temperature refrigeration to display cases and walk-ins without relying on any synthetic refrigerants.

CO2 systems utilize case controllers to monitor case performance and keep tabs on temps, alarms, etc. They also control the evaporator superheat and what’s more, they do it remotely. No more need to install temperature probes and run wires across the store. This savings, plus the safety of CO2 as a “future-focused solution” — forget worries about other refrigerants, only adds to the list of reasons to install a CO2 system. Now, here’s how it works: The cooling cycle begins with liquid CO2 in the flash tank (receiver). The liquid is distributed to coolers, freezers, and cases via a network of copper piping. Electronic expansion valves (EEVs) control the flow of CO2 into the evaporators which have been specially designed to ensure efficient operation in CO2 booster systems. Suction gas from the low-temp evaporators returns to the rack and is compressed by the low-temp compressors to the pressure of the medium-temp evaporators. Suction gas from the medium-temp evaporators returns to the rack and is combined with the discharge gas from the low-temp compressors and with flash gas exiting the flash tank via the flash gas bypass valve. This mixture enters the medium-temp compressors and is compressed to high pressure and is sent to the gas cooler where it is cooled to near ambient temperature — in cooler weather, the CO2 in the gas cooler condenses similar to conventional systems.

From the gas cooler, the CO2 enters the high-pressure control valve where it is expanded back to subcritical pressures. The CO2 then enters the flash tank where it is separated into liquid and gas and the cycle begins again.

Yes, CO2 is a future focused solution for retail refrigeration regulations and has been around for years. It’s an ASHRAE classified A1 refrigerant that is all-natural, non-toxic, non-flammable with a global warming potential of 1, compared to hydrochlorofluorocarbons such as R22 that has a GWP of 1800 or R407 at 1923 or even R448/449 with a GWP just under 1300.

CO2 complies with CARB, EPA SNAP, Climate Alliance and NRCanada agency regulations.

For example: The Refrigeration and Air Conditioning sector is just one of eight that fall under SNAP’s risk framework. In order to come to a decision on acceptable substitutes, an analysis of the risks is performed from the various substitutes in different industrial and consumer uses that have historically used ozone depleting substances. When evaluating each proposed alternative, they look at things like ozone depleting potential, global warming potential (GWP), toxicity, flammability, among other items.

Through these evaluations, a list of acceptable and unacceptable substitutes is generated for each of the major sectors and are updated many times throughout the year.

CO2 as refrigerant (R-744) has over the past decade become more and more popular in food retail applications as well as distribution and storage, production and other types of facilities. Below are some of the common differences between synthetic and CO2 (R744) refrigerants.

  • Synthetics have +30 years of phase-out’s (CFC-HCFC-HFC ) vs. CO2 is a natural refrigerant and will not be phased-out.
  • Synthetics will have gradually increase in costs as phase-out approaches vs. CO2 is a natural refrigerant and does not have phase-out costs.
  • Synthetics has additional cost associated with EPA section 608 & CARB requirements vs. CO2 does not have these additional costs.
  • Synthetics do not support Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) corporate initiatives vs. CO2 is part of corporate sustainability goals.
  • Synthetics have recover, recycle, reclaim requirements vs. CO2 has no recovery requirements.
  • The actual synthetic refrigerant cost more than CO2 refrigerants.
  • Synthetics uses larger line sizes that increase installation costs vs. CO2 systems use smaller copper line sizes reflecting savings in material.

See system component comparison >

One of the bigger decisions retailers will have to make is to update their existing R22 refrigeration systems or build a new one from the ground up.

Updating or retrofitting may be a viable alternative to some retailers. A tad less disruptive and perhaps more economical in the short term. However, in the long run, it could cost a lot more depending on future regulations.

Building new on the other hand, though initially more expensive, replaces leaking, problematic systems with new equipment. Plus, more importantly, it allows for the use of natural refrigerants like CO2. Natural refrigerants are less expensive and abundant. They have zero impact on the environment and are more efficient, more economical and an all-around excellent choice for the future.

No matter what path you take we can develop a step by step plan for compliance.


Industrial Refrigeration Solutions

The leader in CO2 refrigeration and alternative refrigerants, Hillphoenix provides custom industrial refrigeration systems to meet critical process requirements for production, processing, packaging, freezing, and storage applications in the Cold Storage, Food Processing, Biopharmaceuticals, and Ice Rink industries. Industrial refrigeration systems designed and produced by Hillphoenix ensure the integrity of the cold supply chain with innovative traditional and sustainable refrigeration solutions and have handled refrigeration applications as big as one-quarter of a million square feet.

CO2 Refrigeration and Sustainable Refrigerants

Hillphoenix leads the food retail refrigeration industry in the advancement of eco-friendly, sustainable refrigeration systems utilizing alternative refrigerants such as CO2, propane and glycol. Our award-winning Second Nature® line of sustainable refrigeration solutions provide the next generation energy solutions that you will need to be competitive in the future and provide the highest standards in product safety and custom cooling applications. We also offer sustainable CO2 refrigeration solutions to the industrial market.

Food Retail Merchandising Solutions

The leader in CO2 refrigeration, R290 and other environmentally refrigerants, our food retail commercial refrigeration systems and merchandising display cases are designed to maintain the highest standards in food quality and safety as well as providing retailers with the flexibility and customization options to create the best customer shopping and retail merchandising experiences. Our wide range of retail commercial refrigeration and merchandising solutions utilize industry-leading energy efficient refrigeration and lighting technologies and are designed with our customers’ needs in mind.