Zero-emission cooling technology specialist Dearman is working on a project using its patented â€˜clean-coldâ€™ 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 Sainsburyâ€™s.
Dearmanâ€™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 â€˜pre-coolingâ€™ 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 governmentâ€™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.
Dearmanâ€™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, Dearmanâ€™s Head of New Applications, said: â€œWeâ€™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.â€