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New Ice Making System to Offer a Low Cost, Environmentally Friendly Solution for Fishing Boats

RECOICE is a European project, designed to maximize the energy efficiency of fishing boats, through use of a novel heat recovery system. The RECOICE concept is to use a Stirling engine to convert waste heat from diesel exhaust into electrical energy to drive the onboard icemaker.

The modern fish consumer demands a product which is low cost and of high quality. Fish rapidly deteriorates in quality as soon as it is caught and so all modern fishing vessels carry a source of ice. Larger fishing vessels typically have on-board ice generators, which produce ice whenever it is required. However smaller fishing vessels do not have on-board ice generators. Instead, they carry pre-frozen ice material, which must be estimated and loaded onto the boat at the beginning of the fishing day. Although small fishing vessels operate in waters which are relatively close to the shore and catch a relatively low volume of fish, there are several problems with pre-frozen ice material: • The method is dependent on having access to fishing terminals and ports equipped with ice making machinery • High costs of purchasing ice, handling and transportation • Melting during transportation and handling In line with these requirements, there is a continuous drive towards low energy, environmentally friendly solutions, which can provide a reduced carbon footprint. Currently commercial ice generators do not fully meet the needs of small and medium sized vessels due to their high cost and high energy consumption. RECOICE will address this problem, by developing a low cost on-board ice generating machine, with low energy consumption, and a design which is targeted towards the needs of small and medium sized fishing vessels. Transportation of ice is a serious problem, particularly in the summer fishing season when it is susceptible to melting. Small-scale ice-making machines for fishing boats are currently on the market, but only as a separate system. They can be easily fitted to many fishing boats but need an additional power source. The required power could come from a new diesel engine/generator or from the existing engine, increasing its diesel consumption. However, increasing fuel consumption of a low efficiency, high-emission engine has a negative impact on the environment, and results in a long term increase in costs. The aim of RECOICE is to produce ice without using additional power from the fishing boat engine. Waste heat is scavenged from the engine exhaust, and used to drive a Stirling engine. The mechanical energy from the Stirling engine is then used to drive the compressor of the icemaker. Since heat will be captured from the exhaust pipe of the boat’s existing diesel engine, fuel consumption and the environmental impact will remain the same. The cost will also be limited to the initial capital investment and a minimal maintenance programme, which will be attractive to the small fishing boat owner. The RECOICE system will be targeted to small and medium sized fishing vessels, and the benefits will include: • Low ongoing fuel costs • Good environmental performance • High quality fishing products • Improved flexibility of fishing schedule The RECOICE development is carried out by five European SMEs (Innovative Technological Systems Srl, MW-Innovation AB, Cooltech GmBH, Naval Architecture Progress, BVBA Verleene) along the value chain and three research organizations (ATEKNEA Solutions Hungary, ATEKNEA Solutions Catalonia,TWI Limited) delivering the required expertise. The two year initiative started in January 2014 and has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 605286. For more information please visit or contact the Coordinator of the project through


Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom