Pepsi Tests Efficient, Lower-GHG-Emitting Vending Machines

Pepsi Tests Efficient, Lower-GHG-Emitting Vending Machines

PepsiCo's newest vending machines are more energy efficient that previous models and use carbon dioxide (yes, carbon dioxide) to lower their impact on the environment.

The company's new vending machine pilot program includes 30 machines in the Washington, D.C., area. The machines are touted as using 15 percent less energy and putting out 12 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical vending machines.

They also use carbon dioxide (CO2) as a refrigerant instead of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs were first used as refrigerants to replace chemicals that depleted the ozone layer, but they also are thousands of times more potent than CO2 in terms of global warming, leading to some groups and companies, mostly in Europe and Asia, switching to carbon dioxide or hydrocarbons.

Pepsi has already improved the performance of its vending machines, with its 2008 models using 51 percent less energy than 2003 models, and says it is testing machines that use hydrocarbons isobutane and propane as refrigerants elsewhere in the world. The company has 4-5 million vending machines worldwide.

Coca-Cola has also been using alternatives to HFCs in vending machines for years, starting with the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and has rolled out about 8,000 HFC-free vending machines at events like the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics, 2006 World Cup, 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos and 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

For the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, its 1,400 coolers and vending machines won't use HFCs, and it hopes to have 100,000 HFC-free vending machines and refrigerators around the world by 2010. The company currently has about 10 million vending machines and coolers around the world.

Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola are part of the Refrigerants Naturally coalition working to eliminate the use of HFCs as a refrigerants.

HFC alternatives are also being used by ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's, which was able to secure federal permission to trial freezers that use propane as a refrigerant. Hydrocarbons like propane are barred from use as refrigerants in the U.S., though the government can allow exceptions and is reevaluating that ban.

General Electric is also pushing for that ban to be lifted, asking the Environmental Protection Agency to allow it to use isobutane in household refrigerators.

Pepsi machine - CC license by bradleygee