Developing novel breakthrough technologies

Within the Frisbee project we are developing new and novel technologies that have the potential to reduce energy and refrigerant emissions and to improve food quality in the cold chain. We are developing seven technologies (superchilling, supercooling, smart packaging, air cycle refrigeration, magnetic refrigeration, vacuum insulated panels and nanoparticles for improved heat transfer in refrigeration systems).

Although work is still ongoing highlights to date include:

• Design of a magnetic domestic refrigerator and all its components

Figure 1 - Magnetic cooling systemdeveloped by Camfrigde Ltd (UK)

• Development of ‘smart’ thermal packaging which contains nano encapsulated phase change materials
• Comprehensive modelling and a design guide for using air cycle refrigeration in the food cold chain
• Development of the superchilling process for the pork cold chain
• Work to show that pork can be supercooled (i.e. maintained at temperatures below its initial freezing point) without the detrimental effects of freezing
• Information on the applicability of VIPs (vacuum insulated panels) throughout the cold chain and best methods to apply VIPs economically
• A review of the benefits and issues surrounding the application of nanoparticles in refrigeration systems

Figure 2 - Benefits of air cycle refrigeration (in terms of CO2 emissions) in various temperature applications in a range of EU countries

CEMAGREF/IRSTEA (France) develops together with other FRISBEE partners the refrigeration model predictive control that optimises energy consumption, operating cost and food quality.

This is a powerful tool to optimize the operation of the refrigeration systems encountered in the food cold chain. It is based on a very simple methodology: if you manage to know the future, or at least to guess what is probably going to happen, then you can start preparing for it in the best way.

Imagine you manage a refrigeration unit with a cold storage tank that maintains the temperature of a warehouse at -20 °C. On the one hand, the weather forecast allows you to compute the heat losses.

On the other hand you can estimate the thermal load associated with the shipment you expect to receive. Therefore you can have a fairly good idea of the total amount of energy needed for the next 24 hours.

If you operate air-cooled condensers, you can, with the help of the weather forecast, optimize their efficiency by turning them on at the coldest hours and storing the produced cold in the cold tank. As a result, you have minimised the amount of energy consumed and optimise the quality of your products by maintaining appropriate conditions.

Predictive Control by CEMAGREF - IRSTEA (Fr)

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