Analysis of global energy savings in the frozen food industry made possible by transitioning from conventional isobaric freezing to isochoric freezing

Yuanheng Zhao, Matthew J. Powell-Palm, Junjie Wang, Cristina Bilbao-Sainz, Tara McHugh, Boris Rubinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

An efficient global cold food chain is critical to the sustainability of the growing world population, and it is anticipated that the global frozen food market will reach $404.8 billion by 2027. Frozen foods are typically stored under conventional industry-standard isobaric (constant-pressure) conditions at sub-freezing temperatures, however, which can degrade the textural and nutritional quality of the food and comes at high energetic and carbon costs. While efforts to reduce this energetic toll have traditionally targeted the devices used to generate refrigeration, we herein identify that significant energy savings may be attainable by altering the fundamental thermodynamics of the freezing process itself. Here we show that preserving frozen food under isochoric (constant-volume) thermodynamic conditions, as opposed to conventional isobaric conditions, may theoretically reduce annual global energy consumption by as much as 6.49 billion kWh, with accompanying carbon emission savings of 4.59 billion kg. Importantly, these savings can be achieved rapidly and inexpensively, without any costly changes to the current global refrigeration infrastructure. Furthermore, early studies demonstrate that isochoric freezing results in substantially improved food quality, extends the preservable lifetime of fresh and otherwise delicate food products, and has cross-cutting biopreservation applications in domains as diverse as medicine, biology, and pharmaceuticals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111621
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume151
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, AFRI project Proposal #: 2017?05031, Award # 2018-67017-27826 ?Preservation of food by isochoric (constant volume) freezing? and by the NSF Engineering Research Center for Advanced Technologies for Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio) NSF EEC #1941543. YHZ was supported by the Scholarship of China Scholarship Council. Special thanks to Dr. Jue Wang from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences for helpful assistance with the MATLAB programming.

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture , AFRI project Proposal #: 2017–05031, Award # 2018-67017-27826 “Preservation of food by isochoric (constant volume) freezing” and by the NSF Engineering Research Center for Advanced Technologies for Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio) NSF EEC #1941543 . YHZ was supported by the Scholarship of China Scholarship Council . Special thanks to Dr. Jue Wang from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences for helpful assistance with the MATLAB programming.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Cold storage
  • Energy savings
  • Frozen food
  • Global cold-chain
  • Isochoric freezing
  • Isochoric supercooling

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