Cold Energy: making refrigeration plants efficient

Colder, while consuming less. Energy saving is at the heart of the Cold Energy project which aims to increase refrigerating power and reduce electricity consumption in the food industry through heat recovery and the use of turbo compressors. 

Inspired and built with technology developed by the car industry, the idea received funding from the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 programme with the intention of progressing to the industrial production and sale of a kit which is now due to reach markets in the coming weeks.

Cold Energy is a European consortium, the founding members of which include Enel X; Turboalgor srl, the project coordinator that developed and trademarked the kit; Avl Schrick Gmbh, a German engineering firm with consolidated experience in the bespoke development of turbo compressors and turbo engines; the Italian company Officine Mario Dorin, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of compressors, and the Spanish group Tres Mares S.A. which is in the business of producing and processing fresh and frozen trout, an activity for which the low temperature refrigeration cycle is essential.

How does the kit work?  The energy efficiency tool is able to recoup some of the losses present in refrigeration plants with a turbo compressor developed using technology from the automobile industry.  According to the project promoters, there is an important point of inefficiency in a conventional fridge: the expansion valve. Not all the available energy is used when moving refrigerating liquid from high to low pressure. The simple addition of two heat exchangers and a turbo compressor can recover part of the energy which would otherwise be lost and increase the plant’s refrigeration power. The kit comprises this double technology:  an economiser and a turbo compressor.

Cold Energy, energy efficiency is key.

In the new energy market energy efficiency is fundamental. Pasquale Monti, Head of Advisory and Monitoring Solutions at Enel X, one of the founders of the European consortium Cold Energy, thanks the partners involved in the project for energy saving in the refrigeration sector and explains why attention to the changing dynamics of demand is central to the transition to renewables.

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