This article was publishes in our Sustainability report 2022 – originally in Dutch.
Energy is valuable, and we notice how dependent we are on it now that prices are going through the roof. With cooling and temperature elements, Coolpack has been helping to guarantee a stable cold chain for its customers for decades. The elements find a valuable application not only in transport, but also in storage. The Coolpack team is increasingly participating in storage and installation projects in which the temperature elements form a reliable back-up and provide sky-high energy savings. How exactly? You can read that on this page.
What is Phase Change Material?
Coolpack is the market leader in the Netherlands in the field of gel packs and coolants for temperature-controlled transport. Refrigerants are filled with a cooling gel. This is a type of Phase Change Material (PCM): material that can change phase. “Ice for every temperature, you could also call it: the melting point of water is 0°C. At this melting point, the energy storage is highest: the temperature remains stable longest at the melting point, until the ice has completely melted. Ice is therefore an ideal coolant if you want to keep something at a temperature around 0°C for a longer period of time,” explains Arno Zomer, Commercial Manager at Coolpack.
“But of course there are also products that need to be stored at a temperature below or just above the freezing point. And this is where Phase Change Material comes in. By adjusting the recipe of the filling, the melting point/freezing point can be lowered or raised. And for that you have come to the right place at Coolpack!”
Save energy with Phase Change Material
Coolpack serves more and more customers with PCM solutions. Think of customers who need to store products below freezing or at ambient temperature. Salesman Bart Kroes is enthusiastic about the developments surrounding PCM. “The world of PCM is a lot of fun and still new to many people. I myself derive energy from serving this whole new market and helping our customers save money as well as energy,” says Bart cheerfully.
How do customers save energy by using PCM? “Our temperature elements and gel packs are pre-heated, usually at the customer’s location. They then retain the desired temperature for up to several days, depending on the insulation capacity of the packaging or the environment. This way you can guarantee your desired temperature during transport, independent of electricity, you have a reliable back-up in your temperature-controlled room when the electricity is off and cooling has to work less hard, which means you save energy.”
New investigations and tests with customers
You can imagine that new PCM applications are constantly being researched, including by Coolpack. “Intensive processes are underway in which we conduct research with the customer into a suitable PCM solution and its effect. The more specific the problem statement, the more research is needed. We first determine the goal: does the customer want to retain energy during maintenance work, maintain a certain temperature for longer due to a lack of electricity or electricity-independent cooling for sustainability or cost considerations? The ideal temperature and the critical temperatures are important here: above or below what temperature should the products really not reach? For example, the ideal temperature for rolls of film can be -45°C and the critical temperature at which they really must not exceed -30°C.” Bart explains.
“We then look at the current resources available at the customer. Think of the insulation capacity, risks and actions. We also include factors that we check when ordering regular refrigerants. We then calculate how many kilos of PCM the customer needs for a good result. And the practical side: whether the customer has the capacity to properly prepare the PCM temperature means prior to application. In this way we realize great savings together and we guarantee quality retention of products!”
Want to know more about Phase Change Material?
Everything about Phase Change Material in Healthcare, Food, Logistics, Organisms and Installation applications can be found on Coolpack’s knowledge platform phasechangematerial.nl. Bart, Arno and the rest of the team are ready to answer all your questions!