Retail sector biggest refrigeration energy user

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food preservation

Retail sector biggest refrigeration energy user
Retail displays, catering fridges and refrigerated transport are the three biggest consumers of energy according to a government funded research...

Retail displays, catering fridges and refrigerated transport are the three biggest consumers of energy according to a government funded research project designed to improve refrigeration efficiency along the food supply chain.

In a top 10 rogues gallery of energy guzzling refrigeration sectors, cold stores came next - way behind the top three - after blast chilling and blast freezing, both methods used by food manufacturers. Dairy processing came next, followed by on-farm milk cooling, potato storage and, lastly, primary chilling of meat carcasses.The three-year £1M project is now about 18 months in. It is being co-ordinated by the Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Centre (FRPERC) at the University of Bristol. Funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, it also involves Brunel, London South Bank and Sunderland Universities.

Reporting on the results so far, FRPERC researcher Mark Swain, who compiled the list, said: “Over the year my relative scores have been constantly changing, but we think we have got to a level where it is worth offering some feedback. The top three are by far the biggest [energy consumers] by an order of magnitude,” said Swain. “So this is where we should be putting all our effort.”

In total, 800,000 retail displays across the UK are estimated to use between 5,768 and 12,698GWh per year. “This is the one we have got to tackle and do something about,” said Swain. Catering fridges are estimated at 3,998 to 4,762GWh/year and refrigerated transport at 4,822GWh/year.

A long way below come cold stores (900GWh/year); blast chillers (250-600GWh/year); blast freezing (218-415GWH/year); dairy processing (250GWh/year); milk cooling (99-315GWh/year); potato storage (144-187GWh/year) and lastly meat carcass chilling (115-144GWh/year).

Swain claimed energy savings of between 20% and 50% were achievable by process optimisation and investment in more efficient technology.

Manufacturers blast chilling products from 80°C down to 4°C could make considerable energy savings by pre-cooling products to surrounding air temperatures at 20°C before transferring them into blast coolers, said project coordinator Judith Evans of FRPERC.

A new government funded networking organisation - Sustainable Innovation in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (SIRAC) - has been launched to promote new technology in these areas. It hopes to bring together those in industry and academia working in the refrigeration field. SIRAC is holding a launch meeting on March 7 at London South Bank University. For details visit http://www.sirac.org.uk

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars