Cryogenic technologies for fish/food/drug storage

Article Index

Code No: TMS016 Price: 1750 Category: Storage

Table Of Contents :

  • Introduction
  • General Introduction
  • Methods of refrigeration
  • refrigerants & freezants
  • evaluation of freezing techniques
  • energy use in freezing and storage
  • storage of food products
  • storage of milk & drugs
  • freezing & storage of marine & animal products
  • equipments needed for freezing & storage using cryogenic technology
  • economic & infrastructure base for launching cryogenic storage systems
  • technology status in the world
  • spin-offs of cryogenic technology possible in rural and small towns
  • market potential for cryogenic technology
  • technological & economic evaluation of the options available
  • action plan.


Cryogenic technologies for fish/food/drug storage

(A)  Title: Techno- Market Survey Report on Cryogenic Technologies with special reference to F Food/Fish/Drug and Milk Storage Specially in Rural and Small Town Environment.

(B)  Objective: TIFAC assigned us to have a detailed assessment of the Cryogenic Technology for the Captioned applications. The desired information was expected to become a base line source data for the following broad objectives.

i) As Technology Information which will be useful for forecasting and assessment.

ii) To meet the needs of decision makers in Government, Corporate Sector and Research & Development Institutions etc.

The research objectives for the assignment were outlined to cover following aspects.

i) The relationship and the importance of the selected subset of Cryogenic Technology to the broad area to which to it belongs.

ii) The current status of the Technology in the World and in the Country.

iii) Assessment of the Technology and the technology options available to India.;

iv) The economic aspects of the technologies alongwith their feasibilities which lead to preferred options.

v) Impact of the preferred option by itself, its linkages to the broad areas of Technology & spin-off’s.

vi) Identification of agencies/groups/individuals and suggest action plan.

(C)  Scope:

As the Cryogenic Technology has multi disciplinary applications, the scope of this study was specifically refined to make an in-depth study with reference to following aspects.

Food and Drug storage
Milk and Fish storage.

The scope was further refined to cover applications in rural and small town environment.

(D)  Methodology:

This being the kind of exploratory research, flexible wide ranging and versatile research approach was adopted. This covered reference to all possible secondary sources ad primary sources. It has been summarized as follows:

  • All possible books, Journals & seminar proceedings on this subjects like Cryogenic Technology, storage & presentation of food/fish/drug & milk, rural technologies and published data, of the products were referred.
  • A list of equipments, accessories manufacturers Worldwide was prepared from the trade directories as well from mentions in Journals.
  • Correspondence as made with 100 Concerns & 40 of then were contacted to get their further information & views on the technology application.
  • Initial rapport was established with agencies like Indian Cryogenic Council, All India Gas Manufacturers Association, Food Preservers Association, Marine Products & Export Development Agency etc. to understand and shortlist key respondents for personal interviews.
  • About 46 persons were interviewed in depth who are associated with the subject. These respondents were from Bombay, Calcutta, Vishakapattanam, Bangalore, Pune, New Delhi, Karnal & Anand etc.
  • Simultaneously we received responses form 6 persons to our mailed questionnaires.
  • Focus group discussion was conducted in Bombay amongst 10 experts representing specific dimensions.
  • A second round of personal interviews was made with select experts at Bombay & Calcutta to discuss preliminary research findings and have more in depth discussions.
  • In order to ascertain views on the recommended action plan, all short listed Institutions were mailed approach for suggested research.
  • Observations & experimental data was obtained from the select installations currently in operation in India.
  • All the information obtained was compiled, analyzed and the report was presented to TIFAC.
  • After the receipt of comments from TIFAC on the draft all further information was collected, complied, collated and final report was submitted in January 1991.

(E)  Findings:

The critical finding of this study are as follows:

i) Amongst the various ramifications of Cryogenic Technology the use of cryogenic fluids like Liquid Nitrogen and Carbon-Dioxide appears as the possible route for the technology application for the subject of this report in the near future.

ii) It can be construted as a distant possibility of using effects on materials at low temperature or magnetic cooling for cooling down temperature of large volumes in economical way by avoiding the use of CFC’s. However, on international level at this stage Cryogenic Technology is not considered as a substitute for CFC’s.

iii) For none of the products the preservation and storage is desired at cryogenic temperatures but the use of liquid nitrogen is found as a superior method of lowering the temperature to near 0C and maintaining for products such as Shrimps, Prawans, Lobsters, Cherries, Lichees, Ice-creams and prepared airline (Flight Kitchen) food dishes.

iv) In India under the current situation it is not economical and technically feasible to use Liquid Nitrogen for low cost food items like Vegetables, Fruits, Milk etc. but it can be used for marine products and select fruits like Cherries, Lichees etc. at village level. It is desired to use this technology for processing of high value marine products to avoid dehydration and drip loss.

At urban centers, it is possible to increase its usage for distribution of ice-creams and in airline flight kitchens for storage of prepared dishes.

v) Milk preservation has been found to be much economical by Ammonia Refrigeration & transportation in insulated tanks. At village level no significant application for milk storage is possible even though the Animal Husbandry department have established utility of Cryogenic fluid for semen preservation.

vi) At village level, conventional refrigerator or solar coolers are found to be the most economical for drug storage. Cryogenic technology can complement drug storage facilities if cryo-batch coolers are established for animal or marine products.

vii) The use of Liquid Nitrogen for various other products needs creation of experimental data about its suitability and design parameters for equipment.

None of the Cryogenic research establishments in the country have done any substantial work in this area and it is desired to take up such projects in collaboration with commodity bodies.

(F)  Analysis:

The diverse analysis of the subject matter has been summarized as follows:

i) Analysis of experimental results show that about 0.8 to 1.5 Liters of Liquid Nitrogen is needed for processing a Kg of product. At the current cost of Rs. 5/- per liter of Liquid Nitrogen, it becomes absolutely uneconomical for most of the storage of agricultural and horticultural produce.

It may become economical for high value (like Rs. 60 per Kg and above) marine products for exports and select varieties of fruits.

ii) Europe, American and Australia have resorted to quick freezing by Liquid Nitrogen and using liquid nitrogen spray for in-Transit refrigeration. Even in these countries it is being used for expensive high value animal and marine products. In USA, 7% of the total food is processed by this route.

Needless to mention, in the developed countries more than 90% of the produce is processed compared to less than 1% in India.

iii) In terms of recurring cost for achieving the same cooling effect, Cryogenic Technology route is 45 times expensive compared to mechanical refrigeration.

The capital cost of crore equipment is almost 1/3rd of the mechanical refrigeration unit but it can get offset due to necessity of liquid nitrogen storage equipment at village level.

iv) Use of liquid nitrogen at village level can become economically effective if liquid nitrogen is available at reasonable rates and is used for high value products.

The superior retention of product attributes due to just 1/10th the dehydration and drip loss compared to the conventional method.

(G)  Recommendations:

The recommendations and subsequent action plan of this study is of paramount importance due to the following key advantages of using this technology selectively in Indian Villages.

i) Superior storage characteristics will increase processing of animal products and marine products.

ii) Individual quick freezing of Shrimps, Prawans, Lobsters, immediately after catch at costal villages will increase exports & better quality retention will improve unit expert earnings.

iii) In the absence of electricity cold temperatures can be maintained.

iv) Transport of village produce to nearby urban centers can be at low capital cost of refrigerated vans if In-transit liquid nitrogen spraying is adopted.

The main recommendations of this report are as follows:

i) In order to create proper data for users of various products, experimental and demonstrative work should be promoted by TIFAC and DST.

ii) The present Cryogenic Technology research Institutions/Departments should be encouraged to be basic and innovative work for these applications and not only in superconductivity. Cryosurgery, meissner effect etc.

iii) By accepting the improved attributes retention characteristics of this technology the government should give incentives for using liquid nitrogen for processing marine products and other high value food items.

Adoption of this technology even for airline food by incentives can increase export earnings and establishment of such kitchens in India as the whole activity is quite labour intensive.

iv) The government should create more awareness amongst users by better publicity through Audio-visual media, awareness amongst agencies and train g of personnel.

v) To encourage more realistic use of this technology, suitable amendments may be made in cold storage order, static and mobile pressure vessels act, Central Excise and Customs for concessions in duty for encouraging installations, Institution of award for better usage etc.

Transformations of these recommendations in action plan is bound to create a realistic possible alternative for improving storage of village produce and reducing losses.

(H)  Action Plan:

The action plan has been phased as follows.

i) Short listing of research objectives and Institution from the approach suggested in the report.

ii) Collection of detailed research proposals from Institutions and their appraisal.

iii) Research projects execution and review of results obtained.

iv) Demonstration of research accomplishments for users and user agencies.

v) Planning of manufacture, installation of pilot projects.

vi) Reassessing the performance of units and then laying overall policy for promotion and development of this technology application on long term basis.

The above phases can be accomplished I 2 to 3 years and the overall capital outlay around Rs. 5.00 crores may be needed.

Such expenditure on the part of the government will help in catalyzing adoption of the technology for wide applications. Just 2 % reduction in drip loss for the marine product experts would mean annual increase in foreign exchange earnings by Rs. 21.60 Crore also increasing higher revenue per kg of marine products in the export market.

(I) Presentation of the Techno-Market Survey Report:

The entire work has been presented in the text of the report.,

i) The databank on addresses of concerns in the manufacture of equipment, list of research institutions, bibliography, list of persons interviewed has been appended to the main report.

ii) About 24 slides showing photographs of current status of the technology in the world have been submitted.

iii) Couple of audio cassettes have been submitted which have recordings of few interviews as well part proceedings of focus group discussion.

iv) Two video cassettes have been submitted. These are prepared by IOL Ltd. Which have some coverage showing manufacture and use of liquid nitrogen for food freezing.