Liquid ice containers: eco-friendly refrigerated and freezer containers
Since 2016, we have been transporting our fresh products in self-developed refrigerated containers. The Liquid Ice Containers (LIC) keep our products cool with liquid ice and are 73% more climate-friendly than the classic refrigerated containers that use CO2. We have recently started to use even more eco-friendly liquid ice containers for the transport of frozen products to the shops.
What is liquid ice?
Liquid ice is a frozen but liquid mixture of water and ethanol or salt. The refrigerant with minuscule grains of ice has a much lower climate impact than the current alternatives. Before the LIC was put into operation, we used CO2 refrigerated containers. Today we use 6,600 liquid ice containers for the transport of fresh products to the Colruyt, Bio-Planet and OKay shops. In addition, 2,000 liquid ice containers for frozen products are already in use, accounting for
Six major advantages
Our Research & Development department developed the container themselves and perfected the liquid ice technology. This offers 6 major advantages.
More loading space
On the outside the new container is the same size as the traditional CO2 cooling container. The difference is that the liquid carbon dioxide used to be pumped into a cooling compartment at the top of the container, while now the top and back walls are filled with liquid ice. The vacuum insulation is also thinner. As a result, the LIC has 12% more loading volume and our trucks can transport more refrigerated products each journey.
When the containers come back from our shops, we replace the melted liquid ice with freshly frozen liquid ice. The liquid ice from the containers is refrozen and used again in another LIC. So not a drop is lost.
The LIC remains at the same constant temperature for a long time. That’s a maximum of 48 hours for refrigeration containers. Maximum 32 hours for freezer containers. So we can be 100% sure that our products remain fresh. This greater autonomy gives us more flexibility in the logistics chain. We plan our transport more flexibly and efficiently, resulting in fewer emissions. There is also more flexibility in the shops themselves.
When a container is injected with liquid ice, it reaches the desired temperature in under 30 minutes and is then ready to be loaded with chilled, fresh products.
The container has a handy click system on the door which prevents it from closing when the container is being loaded or unloaded. So we can quickly and easily put all our fresh products in our fresh produce section, ready for you.
The LIC has less impact on climate change than a conventional refrigerated container. For the refrigerated container that is 73% less, for the freezer container even more. Besides, the liquid ice is made using green electricity from wind and solar power, which means we avoid even more CO2 emissions.
VIDEO: liquid ice: Colruyt Group innovates with its refrigerated containers
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.