CIMCO Refrigeration Inc., Canada; Southern California Edison (SCE), Rosemead, Calif.; and Mayekawa Manufacturing Co., Nashville, Tenn.; are collaborating to develop, build, install and research natural alternatives to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants.

The team recently installed a novel, high-efficiency industrial refrigeration system at Imuraya USA’s Irvine, Calif., manufacturing plant. Researchers expect the system to provide a 20-50% energy savings and be less impactful to the environment.

The NewTon refrigeration system uses ammonia and CO2—two natural refrigerants—to achieve a higher level of efficiency and energy savings than normal refrigeration systems on the market today. Mayekawa will monitor the refrigeration system in real time. SCE will gather and analyze the performance data on both the NewTon and the existing refrigeration system, which can alternate operation at the Imuraya USA plant. Imuraya manufactures desserts for Japanese restaurants.

Mayekawa’s existing research shows that cold storage facilities showed an average energy reduction of 27.8%, and freezers at processing plants showed an average reduction of 20% of electricity consumption using the novel refrigeration system.

“Reducing the carbon footprint and decreasing overall energy consumption is of significant value to commercial and industrial consumers and to the surrounding electric grid, especially during times of peak demand and warm, summer days,” says Jose Mergulhao, CIMCO vice president of U.S. operations.

The team expects to complete its research on the novel refrigeration system by the end of 2016 and will issue its first update in early 2017.