In previous blog posts, we have explained how the refrigeration process works to power the freezers and refrigerated trailers we provide our customers. Without the refrigeration cycle, the portable cold storage industry would not exist. The nature of cold storage for commercial purposes is such that refrigeration based on compressors and condensers is required to achieve desirable results. This is why evaporative cooling is not considered viable for portable cold storage on a commercial level.
Let us talk about evaporative cooling versus refrigeration in light of the current drive to come up with more environmentally friendly ways to achieve a sustainable, global cold chain. Evaporative cooling has come up as a possible solution for developing countries with limited electrical supply. It is a solution that can work on a small scale and for short-term needs, but no one has found a way to make it work for long-term, large-scale needs.
Our 1.8m mobile cold room is ideal for the catering trades where extra cold storage is required, or as temporary cold storage during a refrigeration breakdown. It has an approximate internal cubic capacity of 5 cu metres.
Evaporative cooling is based on the principle that evaporating water naturally draws out heat. It is a time-tested principle that has been used for millennia as a means of cooling spaces. Indeed, in arid environments it is possible to provide space cooling entirely through the evaporative process. It works by forcing cool water air into a warmer space, thereby causing the water to absorb heat that is then released through evaporation.
Weaknesses of Evaporative Cooling
Two main weaknesses of evaporative cooling make it impracticable for large-scale commercial cold storage. The first is the challenge of high humidity. Evaporative cooling is currently used mainly in arid environments because dry air is required to achieve the best results. It does not work in humid air that prevents water from evaporating quickly.
The second weakness of evaporative cooling is that it does not work fast enough. This limits how cold a space can be kept over long periods. Simply put, you can use evaporative cooling to provide a comfortable ambient temperature in a California home, yet the same process would never work to power a refrigerated trailer or walk-in freezer. There is just not enough raw cooling power available.
The largest of our freezer trailers, the 3.0m is popular with caterers, hotels and restaurants. Especially useful where a freezer breakdown has occurred or where extra frozen food storage is required.
The refrigeration process works well for portable cold storage because it is not severely affected by humidity or external temperature. Through the compression and expansion of a refrigerant, the refrigeration cycle removes heat from interior spaces and transfers it to the exterior. Yes, it requires electricity or some other sort of fuel. However, it is a reliable system that has worked very well since its inception.
We expect to see the development of evaporative cooling systems provide short-term cold chain solutions in developing countries. Nevertheless, if the global cold chain is ever to become a reality, better refrigeration systems need to be developed along with evaporative cooling. There is no getting around the fact that the refrigeration cycle just works better.
If you would like to see the refrigeration cycle in action, consider Icecool Trailers next time you have need of portable cold storage. We hire out freezer and refrigerated trailers, as well as different sizes of walk-in cold rooms and freezers. All of our equipment is meticulously maintained by our in-house staff of skilled technicians. We offer service throughout England and southern Wales, including London proper and the Thames Valley.