The SuperSmart project is coming to an end in January 2019. Find here below a short interview to one of the most active and enthusiastic project partners, Nicolas Fidorra from the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany).
Q: Introduce yourself in a few sentences: Where do you work and what do you work with? What is your part in SuperSmart?
A: My name is Nicolas, I am doing my PhD at Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany, in the field of thermodynamics. The aim is to develop simulations assessing the energy efficiency of supermarkets. My participation in SuperSmart covers all project activities; development of the criteria for an EU Ecolabel, providing trainings to supermarket stakeholders or presenting the project at conferences and trade fairs.
Q: What do you think are the key aspects for efficient and environmentally friendly Supermarkets?
A: The awareness for the environmental impact of refrigeration is crucial. If more people understood the role of refrigerants in global warming, the change towards more efficient refrigeration systems using natural refrigerants would accelerate. Amongst technical stakeholders awareness and knowledge has been continuously rising the last years which is reflected by the growing number of natural refrigerants applied in supermarket refrigeration.
However, not only the awareness amongst people working in the supermarket sector is relevant, but also amongst the customers. In SuperSmart, criteria for an EU Ecolabel for Supermarkets were developed. Such a label can help making the customers aware of environmental friendly stores and consequently support the uptake of these technologies. Although the labelling-process is still ongoing, we are confident that the impacts will be visible in the future.
Q: What is the role of natural refrigerants in supermarkets?
A: Natural refrigerants are the huge trend in refrigeration. CO2 as a refrigerant is widely accepted and has a high rate of adoption, even in warm climates. Additionally, Propane is another natural refrigerant already used in supermarkets. It remains to be seen which role propane is going to play in the future.
Q: What is your experience with SuperSmart?
A: The non-technological barriers are highly relevant in the supermarket sector. There are numerous advanced and efficient technologies available, but they still need time until they are widely used. However, a lot has changed since 2016, when the SuperSmart project started. Today there is an increased awareness for efficient and environmental-friendly supermarket technologies and the stakeholders are eager to apply them.
Q: What have you personally learned from the SuperSmart project?
A: It has been a great opportunity to work with colleagues from all over Europe. Seeing how a joint effort and international collaboration can contribute to make a change towards more environmental friendly and sustainable supermarkets has been a great experience.