The modern commercial refrigerator has gone through tremendous improvement over the past few decades. Currently, commercial refrigerators are getting more functional and efficient. Improvements have made it so that the modern fridge will take up less space, store more products, use less energy and preserve food for longer periods.
The benefits of such improvements are many. For example, commercial kitchen owners enjoy more profits and the ability to prepare delicate and expensive cuisines which require long periods of preservation.
Despite these changes, the development of a commercial refrigerator is yet to meet its end. In fact, manufacturers continue to produce better and more efficient models. From outlandish to simple designs, here is what the future fridge could look like in the commercial sector in the coming years.
It is also known as solid-state cooling since it does not involve any gas or liquid. Instead, it involves electricity. Thermoelectric cooling is only possible through what is known as the Peltier effect. The Peltier effect is usually experienced when electric current flows from two different conductors. For example, current flowing through copper to zinc.
In this case, the conductors involved are bismuth wire and copper wire. This temperature change of thermoelectric cooling, is then multiplied in order to create the required conditions inside the fridge. This, in turn, helps in the preservation of food items in a commercial fridge.
Thermoelectric cooling is ideal for smaller units such as wine coolers. It eliminates the need to have moving parts that require frequent maintenance. Additionally, since thermoelectric cooling does not use refrigerants, there will be less damage to the environment.
Twisting and Untwisting Fibre
Fibre has the ability to undergo temperature changes when subjected to mechanical force such as twisting and untwisting. For example, ordinary rubber will heat up when stretched and cool down when relaxed.
Using the same techniques, experiments have shown that twisted, coiled and supercoiled fibres can effectively reduce temperatures. These particular fibres include polyethylene fishing line, rubber and Nickel-titanium. The principle is being used to produce cooling effects that could be multiplied and applied in a fridge. This will make the modern fridge lighter, smaller, more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Use of Plastic Crystals
Plastic Neopentyl Glycol Crystals have been known to cool down under pressure, enough to cause the same cooling effect as refrigerants. They form part of barocaloric materials such as natural rubber which are able to absorb and discard heat energy through magnetic or electric fields.
This cheap and readily available compound is able to perform well under pressure at room temperatures and could potentially replace the HCF fluids used in commercial refrigeration.
Unit Monitoring Apps
Current trends have seen users access most appliances through phones or computer devices. Such innovation helps monitor and control appliances in ways that reduce energy consumption as well as catch faults in time.
The same case is happening in the commercial refrigeration scene with applications designed to monitor and relay relevant information about the refrigeration system. This allows users to know when to perform actions such as defrost, diagnose issues as they appear, and fix the system in time.
The applications are also able to collect important data that will lead to responsible usage of the unit. This will make it easier to use the commercial refrigerator more efficiently thus saving money in energy and maintenance bills.
What This Means for the Modern Commercial Refrigerator
The changes happening in the commercial refrigeration scene range from big to small. Regardless, they will change the way people view and use refrigerators in the near future. There are a number of things one can expect from a modern fridge.
Smaller and less bulky units
With innovations such as solid-state cooling in place, the conventional refrigeration cycle which involves multiple components such as the compressor, evaporator, condenser and the rest, working together will change. These components make a significant percentage of its mass.
More environmentally friendly units
The use of ozone-depleting gasses in the commercial fridge has been ongoing for decades. While the replacement of HFC refrigerants with HC ones might have helped reduce the damage to the environment, HC gases are not entirely safe for the environment. New and improved cooling systems mean that there will no longer be the need to use harmful refrigerants thus playing a role in lowering global warming.
Faster and more efficient cooling
Presently, more than $900 billion worth of food goes to waste. A significant amount of this portion can be eradicated with more efficient refrigerators. The incoming improvements in the refrigeration system are aimed at reducing cooling time. This means that one can rapidly cool large quantities of food items without them going bad.
More energy efficient units
In the UK, it is estimated that consumers spend about 14p per kilowatt-hour. Such energy efficiency will save thousands of pounds in a year.
Energy efficiency has been one of the main concerns for many manufacturers. Additionally, governments and authorities require that every manufacturer produce fridges that comply with current energy regulations.
Therefore, the coming year will see an increase in energy-efficient units in the commercial scene.
Standard commercial refrigeration as we know it has come a long way however the conventional fridge still uses gaseous refrigerants which, have been known to cause harm to the environment. It can also be bulky and noisy depending on the make and model. The predicted improvements are aimed at changing these features and ensuring more efficiency in the commercial sector and in the world as a whole.