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Maine inventor launches FlexCube sustainable refrigeration system

Three of the 2-foot cubes can handle refrigeration needs for a small store

A new refrigeration system that reduces the use of greenhouse gas producing hydrofluorocarbons has been rolled out at Hunter’s Shop ‘n Save in Wolfeboro, N.H.

James LaBrecque, inventor of the FlexCube refrigeration system, has worked in the grocery industry for most of his life and began developing the FlexCube about 12 years ago. 

“The years of watching the industry and the experience I gained from engineering and installation (of refrigeration systems) is why I worked to develop this model,” LaBrecque told Supermarket News

Unlike other refrigeration systems that can take up an entire room in the back of a grocery store, the FlexCube module is a 2-foot cube that uses less than 25 pounds of refrigerant. 

FlexCube system uses Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), an organic compound that is more sustainable than the Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are commonly used in refrigeration systems that leak massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

“One pound of HFC leaking is equal to 4,000 pounds of CO₂ into the atmosphere, and the government has considered them to be super polluters,” according to LaBrecque. 

He said the three FlexCubes can handle the refrigeration needs for a small store of 7,000 to 8,000 square feet, while a dozen FlexCubes can cover a 50,000-square-foot store. He said the reduction in size of the refrigeration system will be a “paradigm shift” in the industry. 

“These systems must be housed in large mechanical rooms and circulate a huge refrigerant charge using miles of piping and multi-time rooftop condensers. The FlexCube system eliminates all of that,” the company noted in a promotional video.

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