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On-board liquid ice maker from waste heat to keep fish fresh

Novel energy-efficient equipment for making ice aboard fishing vessels will help keep the catch fresh and in good condition, while supporting the European fishing industry and contributing to sustainable shipping

Industrial Technologies
Food and Natural Resources

Europe's fishing industry would benefit significantly from more efficient ice-making systems aboard boats in order to help preserve and transport the fish they have caught. The EU-funded RECOICE (Development of a low cost, low power consumption system for manufacturing liquid ice for fishing) project addressed this challenge. The aim of the initiative was to recover waste heat to power a 6 kW Stirling engine and produce ice without the use of additional power or increasing fuel consumption. Heat was captured from the boat's diesel engine and exhaust pipe by harnessing waste energy with the help of a heat exchanger to power the system's cooling unit. Project partners conducted a market study and researched available literature on the topic. They also outlined the specifications for building the system, taking into consideration its economic feasibility and technical limitations regarding the engine, heat exchanger, cooler and disinfestation unit. RECOICE then measured exhaust gas temperature on an actual fishing boat before developing the heat exchanger. The right materials for building the equipment were identified and the design of the 6kW Stirling engine was achieved. Researchers and engineers also manufactured the binary ice technology to produce the liquid ice slurry, which could be easily pumped through pipes. This will enable crews to maintain ice in thermal storages during off-peak times and use it when needed. Moreover, the liquid ice will not bruise the sensitive fish skin, making it more appealing and valuable on the market. Work was completed on the disinfestation unit, and the newly designed Stirling engine was manufactured, so that the project completed with a viable prototype for smaller and medium-sized fishing boats. The resulting eco-friendly combination of Stirling-engine and liquid ice generator system will support European fisheries through more sustainable fishing and aquaculture to render a healthier marine environment and a more economically viable industry. Significant cost savings in diesel and ice will ensure better products, less emissions and a more streamlined fishing industry.


Fishing, RECOICE, fuel save, liquid ice, Stirling engine, heat exchanger, ice generator

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