It is easy to see that both commercial and domestic refrigerators have evolved beyond all recognition in recent years. The tiny fridge that used to be in your kitchen with an even tinier freezer compartment has morphed into a large, flash looking fridge that produces ice, slush and running water. Even the enormous walk-in refrigeration units used in the fresh food business have changed and developed over the years. Everything is changing, and when you look at the innovation taking place in the refrigeration market, it’s easy to see why.
Refrigeration through waste
The refrigerants used in commercial refrigeration can be harmful if not disposed of correctly. This is no problem for responsible businesses or domestic users who will dispose of them sensibly. But the issue always comes when somebody chooses not to throw their refrigerator away properly but to dump it. The environmental damage can be untold.
It is unsurprising then that one of the areas of innovation at the moment lies in discovering different refrigerants. As pointed out by the Guardian this has led to the discovery of a natural refrigerant that could eliminate these problems.
The refrigerant is made from sugar beet. It comes from a sustainable source and causes over 3000 times less of a risk to global warming. Additionally, it doesn’t produce any more water than the refrigerants that are currently used.
Protection without refrigeration
Interestingly, there have also been recent innovations in this area that can be used in developing countries where refrigeration is not always possible according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The technique is based on the system used by the sea urchin to protect itself from environments that could be hostile. The idea is that a protective shell is built around vaccinations that are needed in countries where it is not possible to keep the drugs cold. Each shell at the current stage in development costs only a few pounds. This gives the opportunity to protect vaccines for people that otherwise might not be able to access them. This will of course save lives. In future, it is thought that the protection will be able to be made even more cheaply once it is produced commercially.
In every area of technology, you can see the advances that have taken place over the past century, half a century, decade and even within the past 12 months. This is perhaps less obvious within the field of refrigeration, because the outer casing of many appliances has remained fairly similar. So the next time you buy a refrigeration unit, it is worth taking the time to read the literature and finding out what exactly is cooling down your food. Who knows, in a few more years, you might find more sugar in the body of your refrigeration unit than you do inside it.« Back