A Victoria clean-tech company is hoping to play a key role in the food and pharmaceutical supply chain — including the distribution of [a] COVID-19 vaccine — as it starts production next month of its temperature-controlled shipping units.
CryoLogistics Refrigeration Technology Ltd. uses liquid carbon dioxide that’s pumped into insulated aluminum, vacuum-sealed containers to cool high-value and temperature-sensitive freight, such as seafood, produce and pharmaceuticals.
The company’s SnowSHIP containers allow for “pinpoint” temperature control throughout the supply chain and are considered more eco-friendly for shippers now relying on diesel fuel to power refrigeration trucks.
CryoLogistics CEO Peter Evans said the startup company has been running tests with several companies in Victoria and the Lower Mainland, collecting feedback to perfect its prototype units. It’s now ready to start production of 40 units at a Chilliwack manufacturing plant in October and November, with plans, guided by demand, to build about 20 units per month, said Evans.
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Each unit sells for about $25,000. It’s a little larger than a household refrigerator, about four feet wide, five feet deep and seven feet high, and designed to align with standard pallet sizes and handling.
Evans predicts the CO2 technology will be a game-changer in the supply chain, allowing companies to cut emissions by running fewer “reefer” trucks or reducing the time they are in operation.
It’s also expected to reduce the massive amount of spoilage, said Evans, pointing to studies showing 30% of perishable food produced for human consumption spoils inside the supply chain and ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and generates significant greenhouse-gas emissions.
“The conventional diesel-powered transport refrigeration units now in use are fundamentally no different from those first introduced in the 1950s, each one generating up to three metric tonnes of emissions every year,” said Evans.
Evans said avoiding waste or spoiled goods is especially important to shippers of high-value products.
He said reefer loads are often exposed to temperature changes as truckers load and reload and shuffle pallets during deliveries. “Excessive movements exposes a product to temperature variations or contaminants. Confining a product in a secure system protects it.”
Evans said the system becomes even more important for critical pharmaceutical products, such as vaccines in the fight against COVID-19. “Pharmaceuticals have been part of our business case since Day 1 [in 2017],” said Evans. “And now it’s more important than ever.
“How does the world deliver billions of doses of vaccines?”
“Mixed loads” on a single reefer truck present challenges for shippers, said Evans. Some loads are frozen, some are chilled. Some products require a specific temperature.
The CryoLogistics units are designed to stay within one degree of programmed temperature, and the unit can be monitored continuously from a dashboard on a customer’s computer or cellphone.
“That’s uncommon in the industry,” said Evans.
Excerpt Taken From: Cool! Victoria Firm Could Play Moving Role on Vaccines
Publication: Times Colonist
Written by: Darron Kloster