For the last 200 years, nearly every fridge, freezer, home and building has been cooled using a vapour-compression refrigeration system (VCRS). Although VCRS has come a long way since the early days of refrigeration, most improvements have focused on making the technology more economically viable – with little attention paid to environmental efficiency. “Not only is VCRS notorious for its slow cooling speed, it is also emits a huge amount of harmful gases into the atmosphere,” says Amir Wasily, CEO and co-founder of V-Chiller, a Hungarian refrigeration technology company. “In today’s rapidly warming world, this is simply unacceptable.” Inspired by the need for a better way to stay cool, V-Chiller created a new refrigeration technology based on vacuum cooling. The system is the world’s first rapid-cooling system, working up to 20 times faster than VCRS. It is also completely eco-friendly, having a zero rating for ozone depleting potential (ODP) and global warming potential. As an added bonus, the new system offers all of this at a comparable cost vis-à-vis VCRS. Now, thanks to the support of EU funding, the company is well on its way to bringing its sustainable cooling technology to the global market.
Increasing efficiency and speed
The main focus of the EU project was to increase the technology’s efficiency and bring its speed up to a higher scale. To do this, researchers tested the viability and technical feasibility of the new cooling technology. During demonstrations, the project showed how the V-Chiller opens the door for businesses to utilise a more efficient and faster way of cooling in a completely eco-friendly way. “This project showed that the current way of cooling has outlived its usefulness,” explains Peter Wasily, V-Chiller CFO and co-founder. “There is a clear need for a more efficient, environmentally friendly solution, and multiple big corporations have already reached out to us to learn more about our innovative rapid cooling system.” According to Peter Wasily, one of the project’s key achievements was reaching COP2, a base measurement used for cooling equipment and heat pumps. “This is a major milestone, and one that we are particularly proud off,” he adds. “We are one of the very few companies with refrigeration technologies that have successfully crossed the COP1 barrier.”
V-Chiller represents a revolution in cooling. As the technology becomes widely adapted, instead of waiting hours for something to chill inside a refrigerator, cooling will take just minutes. As such, food waste will decrease, cold chain logistics will become more efficient, and cooling in general will happen without any negative effect on the environment. “From day one we committed to ensuring that our technology would be totally eco-friendly – that was non-negotiable,” concludes Amir. “Although this decision didn’t always make developing the V-Chiller easy, in the end we delivered on our promise.” The company is currently running a pilot with a large beverage company to assess the viability of using rapid cooling technology in the soft drink sector. If successful, the large, constantly running coolers used in supermarkets could soon be replaced with a V-Chiller-based solution that cools beverages on demand and at the point of sale.
V-Chiller, refrigeration, refrigeration technology, vacuum cooling, vapour-compression refrigeration system, VCRS, global warming, cold chain logistics