Transcritical CO2 Systems Market | Climate-Resilient Cooling

According to Inkwood Research, the global transcritical CO2 systems market is estimated to witness a CAGR of 17.11% between 2024 and 2032. Transcritical CO2 systems have emerged as a pioneering force in the pursuit of sustainable and energy-efficient cooling solutions. 

They address the urgent need for eco-friendly and cost-effective cooling solutions driven by increasing awareness of environmental impact. Further, their adoption substantively reduces greenhouse gas emissions and fuels a greener future for industries globally.

Transcritical CO2 systems use carbon dioxide (CO2) as the main refrigerant, a naturally occurring substance. It has a much lower global warming potential (GWP) than hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in traditional refrigeration systems.

Moreover, operating above the critical pressure of CO2, these systems efficiently reject heat and recover energy. This makes them lucrative for applications in supermarkets, food processing facilities, and ice-skating rinks.

Transcritical CO2 Systems Market - Inkwood Research

Transcritical CO2 Systems Market: Maximizing Efficiency & Advancing Sustainability

According to the US Department of Energy, refrigeration systems account for around 50% of a supermarket’s energy consumption. Transcritical CO2 systems provide a notable reduction in energy consumption compared to traditional options, leading to cost savings and promoting environmental sustainability.

Furthermore, a study published in the International Journal of Refrigeration indicates that transcritical CO2 systems can achieve energy savings of 10% to 40% compared to traditional systems, depending on the specific application. This substantive efficiency is attributed to the unique properties of CO2 as a refrigerant and the advanced heat recovery mechanisms employed in these systems.

CO2‘s inherent refrigerant properties significantly influence the energy efficiency of transcritical CO2 systems. CO2 boasts a high volumetric cooling capacity, which allows for smaller system components and a reduced refrigerant charge. Moreover, its low critical temperature facilitates efficient heat rejection, enabling the system to maintain performance even at higher ambient temperatures.

Another critical factor in the energy savings of transcritical CO2 systems is their capability to recover and utilize waste heat. These systems are equipped with advanced heat recovery mechanisms that capture and reuse the heat produced during the refrigeration process. The reclaimed heat from transcritical CO2 systems finds applications in space heating, hot water production, and powering absorption chillers. This utilization enhances the system’s efficiency and reduces energy consumption.

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Mitigating Climate Change with Transcritical CO2 Systems Market

Transcritical CO2 refrigeration systems contribute significantly to environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional refrigerants. Their efficient energy use and utilization of CO2 as a natural refrigerant help mitigate climate change impacts in commercial refrigeration settings. 

One of the key advantages of transcritical CO2 systems is their minimal environmental impact. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), leaks from a transcritical CO2 system release about 1 ton of CO2 per kilogram, compared to HFC refrigerants, which can release hundreds or even thousands of tons per kilogram. The significantly lower global warming potential of transcritical CO2 systems makes them a commercially appealing solution for industries. They seek to reduce their carbon footprint and comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the refrigeration and air conditioning sector accounts for approximately 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), refrigerants have been responsible for approximately 10% of global warming since the Industrial Revolution. Adopting transcritical CO2 systems can contribute to mitigating these environmental impacts and aligning with global efforts to combat climate change.

Furthermore, transcritical CO2 systems are made to operate with a lower refrigerant charge, minimizing the potential for leaks and reducing the risk of environmental contamination. In case of a leak, these systems have a much lower environmental impact than systems using HFCs or other synthetic refrigerants with high global warming potential.

Transcritical CO2 systems also contribute to reducing indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy consumption. Operating more efficiently and requiring less energy input, these systems help reduce the demand for electricity generation from fossil fuel sources. This further lowers their overall environmental impact.

Regulatory Imperatives & Collaborative Efforts: Transcritical CO2 Systems Market

The demand for efficient and sustainable cooling solutions is on the rise, driven by various factors. A report by the World Bank projects that the demand for cooling will increase by 72% by 2050, with a significant portion of this increase expected from developing countries. 

This growing demand is fuelled by population growth, urbanization, rising living standards, and the need for temperature-controlled environments across various sectors, including food and beverage, healthcare, and data centers.

Governments and industries worldwide are implementing stricter regulations and policies to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This has made the adoption of transcritical CO2 systems increasingly attractive as a sustainable solution. These systems offer a practical solution for businesses to comply with environmental regulations and demonstrate their focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

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Here’s how a few regulatory imperatives are facilitating this

  • In Europe, the F-gas Regulation (EU No 517/2014) mandates significant reductions in the use of high-global-warming-potential (GWP) fluorinated gases (HFCs) in refrigeration and air-conditioning applications. This has driven a shift towards natural refrigerants like CO2, including transcritical systems.
  • In North America, the Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) Program, administered by the US EPA, evaluates and approves alternatives to ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and HFCs. Although not legal mandates, SNAP listings encourage the use of environmentally friendly refrigerants like CO2 by offering a streamlined approval process for equipment utilizing them. 
  • In Japan, the Act on the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1998) regulates ozone-depleting substances (ODS) akin to China’s legislation. This law restricts the use of harmful substances, paving the way for alternative refrigerants such as CO2

With a rising awareness of environmental sustainability and an urgent need for efficient cooling solutions, the demand for transcritical CO2 systems has expanded globally. The global imperative for sustainability has elevated governments, industries, and consumers to prioritize eco-friendly practices. Further, this has led to increased adoption of transcritical CO2 systems. As regulations strengthen and the focus on environmental guardianship intensifies, the global transcritical CO2 systems market is anticipated to observe developing growth over the forecast period.


By Kiran Raut

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    While transcritical CO2 systems are effective in various climates, they may have limitations in extremely high ambient temperatures.

    Depending on local regulations, permits and certifications may be required for the installation and operation of transcritical CO2 systems.

    Yes, transcritical CO2 systems can be designed and scaled to meet the specific needs of different applications and industries.

    Transcritical CO2 systems can adjust their capacity and operation mode to accommodate fluctuating cooling demands, ensuring efficient performance under varying conditions.

    Yes, transcritical CO2 systems can operate in subcritical mode during colder seasons or in regions with lower ambient temperatures.