New refrigeration technologies for urban and long-distance transport

Air Liquide launches Blueeze and Cryocity
Food & Pharma
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25 May 2020

Transporting chilled and frozen food products faces a number of challenges in today’s rapidly evolving society, with its new consumption habits, economic developments and sustainability concerns.

Air Liquide has launched two new refrigeration technologies to help overcome these challenges. Blueeze and Cryocity are autonomous solutions where the gas is effectively used as a cold storage battery. This autonomy means that they are compatible with any vehicle power train, whether electric, diesel, petrol, hybrid, hydrogen or CNG/LNG. Blueeze is intended for longer distance internal or international transport, while Cryocity has been designed for last-mile urban transport.

Blueeze

Based on liquid nitrogen at -196°C, Blueeze can keep the temperature of the contents of a large truck as low as -18°C for between two and five days, depending on the outside temperature. And there’s good news about the product’s carbon footprint.

“Blueeze is emission-free in every sense,” according to Andy Augustus, Market Manager Food & Pharma and Cold Chain Transport at Air Liquide. “The system does not emit any CO2 and nor does it rely on the vehicle’s engine, unlike traditional refrigeration systems. As a result, no fine particulates are emitted.”

More power, greater efficiency

“What’s more, Blueeze functions very efficiently and with great precision. The temperature can be regulated in steps of 0.1°C to as low as -18°C and can then be maintained for several days without the need to add more refrigerant. Blueeze is also considerably more powerful than conventional refrigeration systems. It’s also extremely low-maintenance, further reducing the TCO.”

“It’s available in multiple countries, and the list has recently been extended to include Belgium and the Netherlands,” Andy continues. “One of our customers has operated six trucks with the Blueeze system for several months now, and they’ve decided to invest in 29 additional trucks with Blueeze.”

“Incidentally, the Blueeze system will in many cases greatly outlast the truck in which it is installed. That’s why we made it possible for the system to be easily transferred to another vehicle.”

Cryocity

As a refrigerant, Cryocity uses carbon dioxide snow, based on liquid CO2. Since this CO2 is a by-product of the production process for other gases, there are no additional CO2 emissions. Better still, the energy required for the recovery process and transport of the gas is fully offset, meaning Cryocity is also a zero-carbon footprint product.

Andy explains how it works: “Cryocity is entirely autonomous in its operation, just like Blueeze. This has important advantages in urban traffic. The system is completely silent, which means that deliveries can be made early in the morning or late at night without causing noise nuisance for local residents. And it retains its full refrigeration capacity even if the vehicle is operating at very low RPM or is at a standstill.”

“Many larger European cities are implementing measures to combat noisy deliveries that emit too much fine particulate matter and CO2. City dwellers, in their turn, value fresh food products processed in an environmentally responsible manner. Cryocity is an answer to this list of requirements. And once a fleet has 15 or more vehicles, the total cost of ownership is no higher than for traditional refrigeration.”

The Cryocity refrigeration unit is compact and lightweight, which means that the vehicle’s load capacity is virtually unaffected. Nevertheless, Cryocity generates enough refrigeration to keep a 16 square metre loading area in a vehicle at 4°C for 10 hours.”

Ready for the future

Urban deliveries are expected to be quite different in the future. One solution we are starting to see more often involves hubs on the outskirts of town. Such hubs use smaller vehicles and intelligently aggregate loads from different suppliers.

“The Cryocity system will be extended to allow dual temperature zones within a single unit, for example frozen (-18°C), and chilled (4°C) zones,” says Andy. “The aim is for fewer trucks and vans to clog the city streets, while the number of deliveries remains the same or even goes up. The advantage of Cryocity in cities is that refrigeration is not compromised when the vehicle has to make frequent stops. This makes Cryocity ideal for e-commerce deliveries, which often involve dozens of stops.”

For more information about Blueeze or Cryocity contact Andy Augustus.

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