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Use of phase change materials (PCM) to keep superchilled temperatures in consumer packages through the cold chain


Superchilling of foods like fish, pork and poultry is known to increase the shelf-life of up to 100 %. In
western countries, 30 % of the processed foods are thrown due to i.e. short shelf-life. Superchilling is a
refrigeration technology where the product temperature is lowered to just below the initial freezing
point, where 5-30 % of the free water inside the product is frozen. A low amount of ice will not affect
the quality compared with fresh chilled products [3, 4, 5]. To utilize the maximal of increased shelflife,
the superchilled cold chain cannot be broken, which leads to melting of the ice.
Considering the whole cold chain from production, through distribution and supermarkets to the
consumers, the complexity of keeping the superchilled temperature will increase. The technicalities to
keep the products at superchilled temperatures in retail- and domestic refrigerators are not complex.
Transportation of superchilled products from distribution centers to the supermarkets, and further from
supermarkets to the customers gives a higher risk for breaking the cold chain, and loosing shelf-life.
An innovative Phase Change Material (PCM) sachet was developed where the melting point was set to
be -1.7 °C which correlates with ~20 % ice inside the product. A comparative study was performed to
see if the phase change enthalpy of the PCM sachets was preventing the superchilled products inside
consumer packages to melt during a shorter temperature increase of the ambient air. Copyright © 2014 IIR/IIF. All rights reserved.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • SINTEF Energy Research




International Institute of Refrigeration


3rd IIR International Conference on Sustainability and the Cold Chain 23rd 24th and 25th June 2014, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, UK





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