What are the new trends in Cold Chain Projects?

The technology for construction and operation of cold chain projects has undergone a sea change over the past few years. These include advances in all aspects of cold chain management from construction to material handling equipment. The technology of construction has undergone a phenomenal change from conventional brick wall construction to sandwich insulated panel and RCC structures to PEB steel structures. Use of eco-friendly materials in construction is increasing. Docks used for loading and unloading of products are now more scientifically designed to facilitate easier movement of materials and also ensure safety in operation. Efforts are made for effective use of natural light and natural ventilation to the maximum during design stage itself. Insulated panels technology has largely replaced the old and conventional insulation practice. Mechanised insulated cold room or chamber doors and dock doors ensure least energy loss and effective temperature control. Use of eco-friendly refrigerants is now being promoted and practiced to take care of the environmental challenges. Refrigeration machinery and systems are now designed with high energy efficiency for optimal use of power thus, reducing operational costs and ensuring minimal water consumption. Cold chain operations are getting more and more automated with state-of-the-art control systems. Capacity controls are used with compressors for energy savings.

What technological innovations would you like to incorporate in commercial refrigeration projects?

Application of energy recovery systems, energy efficient designs of refrigeration equipment and automation are some of the innovative features on the plant and machinery side. Efforts are being made to introduce the concept of ‘Green’ technology as the use of renewable energy for the cold chain sector. We are promoting application of DX Ammonia systems for the first time in the country. We are also strongly recommending applications of waste heat reclamation systems on refrigeration plants for hot water generation for users.

What are the emerging technologies in Refrigeration? What are the industrial applications of refrigeration?

Currently, various designs are available both in HFCs and Ammonia refrigeration units. In addition, systems with CO2 as primary or secondary refrigerant would also enter the Indian market in near future. Driven by environmental issues, application of natural refrigerants like Propane and Butane have also been introduced in the appliance sector. Some of the latest design level technology improvements are Low Charge Ammonia Systems in which Ammonia systems have been developed with much lower charge. These systems are Ammonia low pressure receiver (LPR) systems, Ammonia DX systems, and Ammonia Liquid Chillers which have found applications even in comfort AC systems. Carbon Dioxide System is applicable in industrial refrigeration. CO2 in industrial refrigeration is used either as primary refrigerant or as a secondary coolant. Vapour Absorption Systems are also used for low temperature industrial refrigeration.

What are the growth drivers of commercial refrigeration?

The cold chain industry is developing at a faster pace in India due to shift in focus from increasing the production to better handling, processing, storage and transportation facility of the commodity. The industry has now become an integral part of the supply chain industry comprising of refrigerated storage and refrigerated transportation.

Owing to the rising need of the infrastructure, according to a market research report, the cold chain industry in India is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 19 per cent during the period of 2017-2022. The drivers for growth of the industry include changing demographics, lifestyle patterns and food consumption patterns in urban areas with nuclear family set up leading to increasing demand for processed, chilled, frozen food and beverages. Rising need for the cold chain facilities to reduce the cold chain infrastructure gap.