Flash Defrost System Wins International Clean-tech Award at Monaco
May 14 2014
Frigesco’s (UK) pioneering flash defrost system for cold rooms and refrigerated cabinets has won a prestigious international award at Clean Equity Monaco 2014.
The patented technology can reduce annual running costs for refrigeration systems by up to 25 per cent, plus extend the life of plant, safeguard food hygiene, and improve health and safety for store employees.
The innovation has been developed by a team headed by Professor Tom Davies. It beat 22 rival entries from 11 countries to win the top accolade for Excellence in the field of Environmental Technology Development.
David Walter, managing director of Frigesco, was presented with the award by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.
The international accolade is the latest in a string of endorsements for Frigesco’s pioneering flash defrost technology. The company was awarded a Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) grant last year, and invited to participate in Cleantech Innovate, the leading UK green technology event, backed by DECC and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Its presence there led to an invitation to present the innovation in Monaco.
David Walter said: “It’s a huge honour to receive this international award and reflects a lot of hard work, creativity and commitment on the part of the Frigesco team. We believe the Frigesco flash defrost system is a world beater, and will become a mainstream technology throughout the refrigeration industry.”
If supermarkets adopted the system worldwide, it would save an estimated £1.6bn in energy costs. “With energy prices increasingly sharply, pay-back times are getting shorter and the scale of potential energy savings increasing,” said David Walter.
Traditional methods of defrosting refrigeration systems require electric heaters, or “hot gas” from the system, which makes the refrigeration plant less efficient. The additional energy required for melting frost build-up can cost a store thousands of pounds a year.
Frigesco’s system uses a special phase-change material to store heat energy generated by the refrigeration system in the course of normal operation. It uses this heat to defrost evaporators, without the need for additional energy.
As the phase-change material absorbs and removes heat from the refrigeration system, it makes it more efficient and adds a sub-cooling effect, improving performance again and yielding further energy savings.
Although the main benefit is a reduction in energy use and lower running costs, the Frigesco system delivers other attractive benefits for retailers. These include: Improved food hygiene and safety due to more effective defrosts, and more stable temperatures in the refrigerated space; Increased working life and fewer breakdowns for refrigeration plant, due to more complete defrosts and improved equipment operation; Potential reductions in equipment capital costs due to design optimisation possible with the use of flash defrost; Reduction in a retail store’s overall maximum electrical draw, giving “head room” in locations where power supplies are near the limit, which may be vital in extreme weather conditions, as experienced in hot summer months; The more efficient defrost process stops the build-up of frost on floors and walls in the immediate environment of refrigeration plant, eliminating the so-called “Santa’s grotto effect”, and reducing slip hazards for store staff.
Having proven the technology in test conditions, Frigesco is now working with a number of major UK food retailers on rolling out in-store trials at locations across the country. Once proven in cold rooms, the next stage will be to apply the system to refrigerated display cases.
Bob Arthur, former president of the British Refrigeration Association, and a respected authority on retail refrigeration, has joined the Frigesco team to help develop and commercialise the technology.
Bob Arthur said: “The flash defrost system is a genuine innovation, and the savings are substantial and proven. Retailers are understandably keen to carry out trials, to prove the system for themselves.
He added: “Given the potential savings, and relatively low capital cost, I believe Frigesco flash defrost technology will be widely adopted by supermarkets in the near future.”
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