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"Gold Standard" CO2 Refrigeration

PermaCold Case Study: Henningsen Cold Storage

Leveraging our industry-leading expertise in efficient and low-resource industrial refrigeration systems, PermaCold Engineering partnered with Henningsen Cold Storage in 2018 to design and build a state-of-the-art CO2 trans-critical system for their cold storage facility located in Grandview, Washington.

The Goal:  Engineering the most energy efficient and safe facility possible, using natural refrigerant alternative CO2, leveraging the latest state-of-the-art industrial refrigeration technology. 

Engineering a Sustainable System

The facility specs were for a roughly 111,335 sq. ft. freezer designed to operate at -5 F.  System design projected that the trans-critical CO2 system would use 50% less energy than an industry-standard NH3 system. As always in PermaCold projects, reductions in power loads and system resources were pinpointed across the board.  Employing a gas cooler with only occasional water needs reduced utility costs and waste, and the trans-critical CO2 refrigeration system delivered major additional savings in reduced annual water, sewer and low maintenance system requirements. 

Coupled with significant savings in system maintenance supplies and manpower, insurance, PSM code compliance and safety training, the facility design would deliver Henningsen substantial annual operating cost savings, compounding year after year.

Building-in Reliability and ROI

The construction process itself provided our customer significant advantages and cost savings.  The trans-critical CO2 refrigeration rack system did not require a traditional engine room, so PermaCold installed the compressor rack and gas cooler on the roof of the facility warehouse.  Employing our in-house orbital welding technology on lightweight stainless-steel tubing (instead of heavy S40 or S80) meant reduced structural load on the building and significant savings in installation time. 


Additional strategic design decisions further reduced component and material needs.  Eventual construction savings for Henningsen were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with a significantly faster building and installation timetable.

A “Gold Standard” Project

Completed and fully operational in 2018, the Grandview facility now stands as the first large scale Industrial freezer facility built and operating in North America solely utilizing a trans-critical CO2 refrigeration system.  Higher reliability, lower power and resource use, and low maintenance costs continues to provide excellent ROI for Henningsen, while at the same time the facility’s carbon footprint and environmental impact is exceptionally low.

PermaCold custom-engineers systems to specifically account for facility cooling needs, local climate conditions, and operational requirements, while delivering ROI and protecting the planet through natural refrigerant alternatives, reduced power needs, and saving resources. Contact us today to learn how we can apply our expertise on your next project.

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