A Need to Make Cold-Chain More Eco-friendlyBy Jan Hogewoning | Tue, 09/08/2020 - 08:19
The term cold chain or cool chain comprises all actions and equipment needed to maintain a product within a specified low-temperature range, from harvest/production to consumption. Considered a science, a technology and a process, it is used to transport fresh agricultural produce and frozen goods around the country and the world. For fresh produce, the cold chain additionally requires other specific environmental parameters, including air quality levels (carbon dioxide, oxygen, humidity and others). This makes fresh produce the most complicated cold chain to operate.
Last week, Carrier Transicold Mexico organized a digital panel discussion titled “Sustainable Technology in Refrigeration Equipment and Transport.” The stated goal of the webinar was to raise awareness of distinct actions to promote and lower the ecological impact of cold chain operations. The participants included Pedro González, Services Manager at Carrier Transicold México; Leonardo Gómez, Director General of the National Association of Private Transport (ANTP) and Caroline Verut, President of the Sustainability Association for Mexico. They agreed on the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the cold chain.
There were several important observations made by participants. Verut pointed out that Mexico has the fourth-largest carbon footprint globally when it comes to the burning of fossil fuels. She mentioned that according to the 2015 National Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the transport sector is one of the major causes of climate change, along with the energy industry. In an interview with MBN, David Domínguez, an energy efficiency specialist at 3lotusconsulting, confirmed this by pointing to a 2019 INEGI study that found transport to emit the most greenhouse gases after industrial activities, and Mexican homes.
In the past, the cold chain sector implemented new technology that helped it to provide refrigeration with more ozone-friendly emissions, Gonzaléz observed. On the CO2 side, however, more work remains to be done. “We have to implement actions that contribute to the use of cleaner engines with very low CO2 emissions and that comply with California standards. By 2030, we have the challenge of continuing to tackle the problem and eliminate our carbon footprint,” stated González. “We must resort to cleaner energies, such as electromobility, but also to actions like smart parking and renewal of vehicle parks. In road transportation, it is necessary to travel with the technology available in the different markets to achieve greater efficiency and competitiveness." One way to improve energy efficiency in refrigeration units, he pointed out, is to take care of the heat transfer in equipment. He believes any fleet older than 18 year should already be subject to strict regulation.