The clean cold experts at Dearman have launched a new project aiming to reduce wasted harvest in South Africa. The project is backed by grant funds from the Department for International Development.
Food waste in South Africa is estimated to be worth US$6 billion annually, half of which occurs in the fruit and vegetable sector. Low farmer income makes access to cooling technology difficult. Dearman’s 24-month project seeks to develop a mobile pre-cooling system, using the company’s liquid nitrogen engine. (Earlier post.) Pre-cooling rapidly reduces the temperature of produce immediately after harvest, to ensure minimal post-harvest food loss.
Working with local partners Transfrig, the cold chain operator, and Harvest Fresh, a family-owned food producer based in the Gauteng province, Dearman will develop a mobile, off-grid, zero-emissions system that allows small farmers to access affordable pre-cooling.
The fruit and vegetables pre-cooling market is estimated to be worth US932 million across Africa. Dearman’s project seeks to deliver a successful technology demonstration, including a six-month field trial, and set out a viable route for wider commercial deployment of the pre-cooling system.
The company estimates that deploying just 250 Dearman pre-coolers in South Africa would be enough to process the 350,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetable wasted during post-harvest handling and storage.
Additional impacts would include saving 328 million cubic metres of water and 29,000 hectares of land also currently wasted, as well as boosting farmer incomes by 12%.
Dearman’s technology uniquely harnesses liquid nitrogen to deliver zero-emission power and cooling. The company is developing a portfolio of proprietary technologies, products and services, which deliver significant reductions in fuel usage and emissions, at low capital cost.
The first application of Dearman technology is a zero-emission transport refrigeration system, an alternative to traditional diesel units. It has the capacity to have a significant impact on air quality and CO2 emissions, while providing industry leading performance, but without adding significant cost.
The Dearman technology is the basis for a suite of zero-emission power and cooling solutions being developed by the company, which have applications across transport and the built environment.