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Comparison between isochoric cold storage and conventional isobaric storage. | Photo source Science Direct

New freezing technique significantly reduces global energy consumption

Food & Drink

It is estimated that the new method could cut global energy consumption equivalent to removing over a million cars from the road

Spotted: Researchers at the University of California have proposed a new way to freeze food. The method is called isochoric freezing and is based on a process devised for transporting organs for transplant patients. Recent results have been published in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 

The new technique has also been found to substantially improve food quality as well as preserving food for longer than conventional freezing methods. They estimate the new method could cut global energy consumption by up to 6.5 billion kilowatt-hours a year. This would be equivalent to removing over a million cars from the road. 

Unlike conventional freezing which involves exposing food to freezing air, the technique relies on storing food in a sealed container that is filled with a liquid and placing it in a freezer. Only about 10 per cent of the volume of water in the container is frozen and the pressure inside the container keeps the ice from expanding.  

According to Cristina Bilbao-Sainz, a research food technologist, “Energy savings come from not having to freeze foods completely solid, which uses a huge amount of energy.” Next steps involve scaling up the technology to an industrial level with the hope of commercialising the technique thanks to additional funding. 

From a neighbourhood cooling system that saves energy and reduces costs to a new design for a reflective screen that gives high colour quality using a fraction of the energy, we’re seeing a myriad of innovations designed to cut down on our energy usage.

Written By: Katrina Lane

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