23869482_sThermo King has unveiled a new passive refrigeration technology for autonomous intermodal applications.

The technology uses a food-grade eutectic solution to store thermal energy for completely autonomous operation during transport. In so doing, it is said to combine the operational simplicity of a dry container with the cooling capacity and functional benefits of a reefer.

With no need for plugging and unplugging, passive refrigeration ensures the cargo is transported at the right temperature and humidity conditions to preserve the quality of fresh harvested produce, regardless of the region, time or operator. This feature gives the cargo owners access to new markets with limited or inadequate conventional reefer services.

Depending on the cargo and outside conditons, the passive refrigeration container will hold the set temperature for between 12 and 20 days.

“This technology is different from a traditional reefer unit because it no longer needs to use energy while the container is being shipped,” said Michel van Roozendaal, vice president, global marine, rail and bus for Thermo King. “This new and innovative concept provides a more efficient and economical solution for global exporters, ensuring that, during transport, the fresh goods maintain the quality and freshness that consumers expect.”

The autonomous operation for sea transport and post-harvest applications enables uninterrupted temperature control for reliable transport of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, pharmaceuticals and flowers.

The use of natural convection eliminates the need for forced ventilation, thereby maintaining the desired humidity levels and preserving the freshness and weight of perishables.

The absence of moving parts results in lower maintenance and pre-trip inspection cost, and the autonomous operation results in simplified operations and lower handling cost.

“We tested the new passive refrigeration technology from Thermo King delivering food and supplies to oil rigs in remote offshore areas,” said Alex Trincado, commercial director at EMS Seven Seas, a global marine and offshore supply and service provider. “In an area of inadequate reefer facilities, this technology enabled us to simplify the transportation process and offer our customers an even more efficient, reliable and sustainable cold supply chain,” added Trincado.

“Global exportation of perishable goods is complex and demanding. To be successful, we need innovative technologies that give us peace of mind and offer simplicity, reduced cost and the same performance levels we are accustomed to,” said Erwin Franken, manager logistics department at Van Oers United, an internationally active supplier and producer of year-round fresh vegetables.

“We tested this new technology transporting fresh produce from Morocco to the Netherlands. Thermo King has delivered a new way to move goods all the way from harvesting in the fields to end consumers’ plates without the loss in quality, taste or weight,” continued Franken.