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Towards sustainablility in cold chains : development of a quality, energy and environmental assessment tool - QEEAT


Quantification of the impact of refrigeration technologies in terms of the quality of refrigerated food, energy
usage, and environmental impact is essential to assess cold chain sustainability. In this paper, we present a
software tool QEEAT (Quality, Energy and Environmental Assessment Tool) for evaluating refrigeration
technologies. As a starting point, a reference product was chosen for the different main food categories in the
European cold chain. Software code to predict the products temperature, based on validated heat and mass
transfer models, were written in Matlab (The Mathworks Inc., Natick, USA). Also, based on validated
kinetic models for the different quality indicators of the reference products, (including fruit, meat, fish,
vegetables and dairy products) a software code was written to calculate the quality and safety evolutions of
the food product, using the predicted product temperature as input. Finally, software code to calculate the
energy usage and Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI) value of different refrigeration technologies
was also written in Matlab. All three software codes were integrated, and a graphical user interface was
developed. Using the QEEAT, a user can tailor a cold chain scenario by adding cold chain blocks (different
steps of a cold chain) and simulating the quality evolution, energy use and emission throughout the chain.
Also, the user can modify properties of a cold chain block, by selecting different technologies, or changing
set point values. Defaults are provided for input values, and are based on the current practice, and obtained
by extensive literature studies and consultation with different experts of the cold chain. Furthermore, the user
can build and simulate several chains simultaneously, allowing him/her to compare different chains with
respect to quality, energy and emission.
Copyright © 2014 IIR/IIF. All rights reserved.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • S.G. Gwanpua
  • P. Verboven
  • T. Brown
  • D. Leducq
  • B.E. Verlinden
  • J. Evans
  • S. van der Sluis
  • E.B. Wissink
  • P. Taoukis
  • E. Gogou
  • V. Stahl
  • M. El Jabri
  • D. Thuault
  • Camilla Claussen
  • Erlend Indergård
  • B.M. Nicolai
  • G. Alvarez
  • A.H. Geeraerd


  • UC Leuven-Limburg
  • Unknown
  • 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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