Liquid ice cooling has a 58% lower impact on climate change
Halle, Belgium, 2016-Jan-21 — /EPR Retail News/ — Colruyt Group has recently started using a new type of refrigerated container to transport fresh products to the stores. This ‘liquid ice container’ was developed by in-house engineers and uses liquid ice, a first in the sector. The container has an impact on climate change that is 58 % lower than a classic refrigerated container. This is because the liquid ice is made using locally generated green power and is constantly being recycled. Moreover, the refrigerated containers can stay at the same temperature for 48 hours, which makes the logistics more flexible and efficient. Currently, there are more than 600 containers in use, and within approximately three years, all the old refrigerated containers will have been replaced.
Fewer greenhouse emissions
The use of liquid ice containers generates less than half the climate change* impact of regular refrigerated containers. Liquid ice is a frozen but liquid mix of water and ethanol. The coolant is produced at the distribution centre in Halle, using locally generated green wind and solar energy. The mix is pumped into specially designed refrigerated containers, which then reach the desired temperature within half an hour. They can then be stocked with fresh products and leave for the stores in normal lorries. Upon their return, the mix is pumped from the container, cooled again, and reused.
“Moreover, when necessary we can inject a maximum amount of liquid ice into the containers to keep them at temperature for up to 48 hours”, says engineer Benjamin De Cooman. “This greater autonomy affords us more leeway in the logistics chain. The new container also has a larger volume, which means we need fewer containers and can transport more goods during fewer trips. In short, we can have a more flexible and efficient transportation planning, which saves transportation kilometres and greenhouse gas emissions.”
The choice for liquid ice is the next step in Colruyt Group’s realisation of its CO2 reduction plan. By 2020, the group wants to reduce the relative greenhouse gas emissions by 20% as compared to 2008.
In-house research and development
Colruyt Group is the first retailer in the world to use liquid ice for the transportation of refrigerated products. The new containers were developed by engineers in the Energy, Environment, and Special techniques department. “We research new techniques that are more efficient and cost-reducing, and that simultaneously reduce our impact on the environment”, says Benjamin De Cooman. “For instance, we’re also researching the application of liquid ice in our freezer transportation.” Colruyt Group has been using cooling containers for the transportation of fresh and frozen products rather than regular refrigerated lorries for decades. This means that different types of products can be combined in one load, which once again saves a lot of transportation kilometres.
*Impact on climate change (greenhouse gas emission) calculated according to the Product Environmental Footprint methodology of the European Commission.
+32 (0)2 363 55 45
+32 (0)473 92 45 10
SOURCE: Colruyt Group