Italian OEM Enex, part of Enex Technologies, has been selected to develop an ultra-low-temperature CO2 (R744) direct expansion unit for food blast freezing under the EU’s ENOUGH project, a research and innovation initiative looking to reduce the food industry’s climate impact.
The CO2 unit is being developed by Enex in partnership with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway, and the Italian National Research Council (CNR), based in Rome.
“Enex Technologies is proud to be one of the companies taking part [in] ENOUGH,” said the manufacturer in a statement. “The inclusion of Enex Technologies in this initiative opens new opportunities to collaborate with commercial and academic organizations.”
According to the European Commission’s Innovation Radar, the technology is currently in the exploration stage of development.
“These innovations are in the early phases of technological readiness, but already show high commitment levels from the organizations developing them,” it explains on its website. “Their commercialization requires efforts in transforming [technologies] into marketable products.”
“Enex Technologies is proud to be one of the companies taking part [in] ENOUGH. [Our] inclusion in this initiative opens new opportunities to collaborate with commercial and academic organizations.”Enex Technologies
Enex’s CO2-based blast freezer is designed for freezing tunnels, conveyors and spirals, offering extremely low evaporation temperatures of around -50°C (-58°F) and high air volume flow.
The aim is to reduce energy consumption by 15–20% while also improving the freezing process to ensure better food quality.
The technology is suitable for the hotter climates in southern Europe and can be easily integrated with heat recovery, thermal energy storage and renewable energy sources to further improve its sustainability.
The four-year ENOUGH project was launched in October 2021, with funding from the EU Horizon 2020 Program, to support the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) for transitioning to a sustainable food system.
Globally, food systems are responsible for around one-third of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption, transportation, leakage of f-gases, and food loss and waste.
The initiative brings together 30 industry experts from nine EU member states, as well as Norway, Turkey and the U.K., to review and optimize each step along the cold chain – from production, packaging and storage, to transportation, retail and consumption. It aims to reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and ultimately achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Areas of focus include recovering and reusing waste heat from production processes and implementing natural refrigerants and energy-efficient technologies in cold storage facilities, transport fleets and retail locations to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Other participants include the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR/IIF), Italian manufacturer EPTA and Scottish OEM Star Refrigeration and other natural refrigerant-based demonstrations include a CO2-based transport refrigeration unit from Italy’s CNR and an ammonia (R717)-water absorption-compression heat pump from the NTNU.