11 Apr 2024

Solving sustainability issues in the cold chain

The VICORPAN project is headed by Cannon Afros and funded by the European Commission’s LIFE program, targeting Climate Change Mitigation criteria. In cooperation with BASF Polyurethanes and EPTA, the project aims at improving energy efficiency and recyclability of the insulation — vacuum-insulated panels (VIPs) — used in domestic and commercial refrigerators. With consumption levels around ten times higher than domestic refrigerators, it is important that commercial refrigeration units meet or exceed the expected energy grade.

Traditional insulation for refrigerators is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to recycle. A second issue was that due to the varied shapes of many refrigerators it was not always possible to guarantee that the insulation adequately covered the entire surface area, leading to unnecessary energy loss. Together, we have managed to solve these two problems: the VIPs created in our R&D lab are completely recyclable, while being lightweight and shapeable to provide a more complete insulation.

These solutions may appear small, but given the incredible number of commercial refrigerators in use around the world these panels have a high potential of reducing commercial refrigerator emissions, contributing to a large reduction in the cold chain’s total energy consumption.

Vacuum-insulated panel

At UTECH Europe, Simone Bechi, R&D Engineer at Cannon Afros, will present “Enhancing efficiency and sustainability in commercial refrigeration: the LIFE20 VICORPAN Project” on Wednesday, April 24 from 12:45-1:00 pm in Auditorium Two.