Innovation That Matters

| Photo source NanoFreeze

Next-gen refrigeration for a warming world

Health & Wellbeing

The lightweight coolers are foldable, providing convenient cooling for food and pharmaceuticals

Spotted: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that a shortage of effective refrigeration contributes to around 526 million tonnes of food being wasted every year. That is enough food to feed approximately one billion people. And as the climate warms worldwide, more cooling power is needed to maintain safe temperatures for everything from vaccines to fish and flowers.

Colombian biotechnology company NanoFreeze has created a new material and process to improve the global cold chain. Using biodegradable protein biomolecules and nanocompounds, NanoFreeze’s process makes it possible to create ice at a temperature of two degrees Celsius, rather than the usual -14 to -18 degrees Celsius traditional freezers require. Being able to create ice at such a relatively warm temperature reduces energy consumption by 80 per cent.

And because NanoFreeze’s coolers and refrigerators use heat exchange, the ice lasts for up to three days without requiring any additional energy inputs. The refrigerant is biodegradable and suitable for use as plant fertiliser when it is no longer needed.

The lightweight coolers are foldable and reusable for up to five years, allowing companies to completely forego single-use Styrofoam versions. When coolers are being returned to a company for reuse, the foldability allows them to take up 55 per cent less space during shipment, which reduces costs of transport and carbon emissions. The coolers are available in a variety of sizes, providing storage from 8 to 127 litres of space. They are also recyclable.

NanoFreeze offers several other products, including biodegradable, flexible layers of cooling packaging called cold coats. For organisations seeking to retrofit appliances, NanoFreeze provides modular panels to add to racks and walls of refrigerators and freezers to improve their efficiency and reduce emissions. The modularity allows companies to install as many as needed to outfit their current cooling containers. And for healthcare teams, NanoFreeze’s portable coolers can be carried two at a time in a specially designed backpack, helping to bring cooling to even remote areas.

Portability and materials innovation are making cooling solutions more widely available than ever. Examples in Springwise’s library include portable IoT-enabled refrigerators and using magnets for net-zero cooling systems.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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