Zero-emission cooling technology specialist Dearman is working on a project using its patented ‘clean-cold’ technology to reduce food waste in South Africa.
The Croydon-based company is best known for its zero-emission transport refrigeration system, which replaces diesel with liquid nitrogen in refrigeration trailers and trucks, and has been employed by the likes of Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s.
Dearman’s engine is seen as a cleaner alternative to diesel auxiliary engines, which produce NOx and particulate emissions.
As part of the project, the company will adapt the same technology to create a mobile ‘pre-cooling’ technique, which can be used to reduce the temperature of food directly after harvest to prevent the harvested crops from spoiling.
Backed by grant funding from the government’s Department for International Development, the 24-month project will see Dearman working with local partners Transfrig, the cold chain operator, and Harvest Fresh, a food producer based in the Gauteng province to develop the system.
Dearman’s project seeks to deliver a successful technology demonstration, including a six-month field trial, and set out a viable route for wider commercial deployment of the pre-cooling system.
The company estimates that deploying 250 pre-coolers in South Africa would be enough to process the 350,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetable wasted during post-harvest handling and storage.
Commenting, Dr Daniel Fennell, Dearman’s Head of New Applications, said: “We’re very excited to be launching our new project in South Africa. Small farmers in the country want an affordable pre-cooling system, but one that does the job cleanly. The zero-emission system we are developing can offer a real alternative to polluting, expensive diesel systems and help to reduce post-harvest food loss.”