Cryogenic technologies for fish/food/drug storage

Article Index

(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.