Latest Posts

Announcement: Seeking Project Consultant!

The Cold Chain Innovation Hub is currently looking candidates for consulting services on the development of minimum energy performance regulations for the Philippine cold chain sector.

In collaboration with the Philippine Department of Energy – Energy Utilization and Management Bureau (DOE-EUMB), the project aims to promote energy efficiency in the cold chain industry through its support for the development of the minimum energy performance (MEP) for cold storage facilities and minimum energy performance for commercial refrigeration products (MEPP).

To this end, the project is seeking candidates to provide consulting services for this goal.

See below for excerpts of the proposed activities and scope of work.

Proposed Activities:

The implementation of project activities shall be for a period of five (5) months from contract signing. The activities will cover primary and secondary data gathering, technical working group meetings and validation workshops.

The consultant is expected to coordinate with UNIDO, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Cold Chain Committee on the primary and secondary data requirements and other activities within the scope of this terms of reference.

Collaboration, ownership, and knowledge development are inherent features of the project and relative to this, the consultant is expected to work closely with the technical working group to ensure that they are involved, and to facilitate transfer of knowledge to the concerned agency and its staff by engaging counterparts in concerned project activities through various modalities (e.g. mentoring, coaching, etc.) such that lessons are institutionalized.

Scope of Work:

The assessment will cover two (2) components: 1) Cost-benefit analysis on the development of the minimum energy performance (MEP) for the cold chain sector; and, 2) Institutional and political assessment on the development of the minimum energy performance policy for the cold chain sector and the minimum energy performance for commercial refrigeration products (MEPP).

Component 1 will be conducted by an external consultant, while Component 2 will be conducted by the FCC project team through UNIDO. The tasks of the Consultant and the project team will be done in a parallel timeframe and they are expected to work together in terms of coordination, data gathering and scheduling of activities.

We are looking for strong candidates that have experience in economics, energy research, environmental science or a related field — in the conduct of research or policy analysis

For the full terms of reference, please click here.

If you or someone you know is interested, please send your CV and a description of the approach and methodology for implementing tasks/activities of this ToR, work-plan, time schedule and budget to: to garibay_gb@yahoo.com and mvaldez.gpfcc@gmail.com not later than March 31, 2022.

Using Cold Storage to Reduce Postharvest Loss

In June 2021, William Dar, Secretary of the Philippines Department of Agriculture, attended a demonstration of a solar-powered on-farm cold storage system that the government is planning to deploy in rural farms throughout the country. The goal is to deploy these cold storage units throughout remote areas of the Philippines to help reduce postharvest losses and increase income for farmers and their surrounding communities.

In this article, we look more generally at how on-farm cold storage units benefit farmers, how they deal with extreme weather, and provide an example of how they can be operated as a self-sustaining business.

The Ecofrost Solar Cold Storage by ecoZen
The Philippines is working with Next Agri Corp Philippines and India-based Ecozen, makers of the Ecofrost solar-powered cold room (pictured above), to launch cold storage units in remote areas throughout the Philippines.

Cold storage reduces postharvest loss by increasing flexibility

In our June 2020 research report on “Evaluating the Philippines’ Food Cold Chain, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact”, we found that near the farm cold storage equipment was a key missing element in the Philippines’ food cold chain.

On-farm cold storage equipment can also be thought of as a walk-in cold room that is cooled by a refrigeration system. Using a refrigerated cold room provides three key benefits for farmers (from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2012):

  • Refrigeration allows farmers to wait for a better price for their produce. The FAO explains that “without refrigerated storage, many farmers have no choice but to dispose of their produce as quickly as possible before ripening and/or deterioration sets in. This puts them at a disadvantage when negotiating prices with a potential buyer.”
  • Refrigeration evens out the supply of a commodity during the year. The FAO explains that “an oversupply of many commodities is common during the harvesting season, resulting in very low farm-gate prices that discourage farmers from harvesting their crop.”
  • Refrigeration increases the volume of sales and income by reducing spoilage. The FAO explains that “the reduction in temperature slows down deterioration and ripening, reducing the number of rejects and increasing selling prices.”

Refrigeration generally extends the shelf life of produce from two days to around 21 days. This increased flexibility in timing creates a buffer to better match supply and demand, minimizing postharvest loss and eliminating the waste in labor, energy and greenhouse gas emissions that result from over production and spoilage.

Slide from the Philippine Ports Authority presentation on the "Palamigan ng Bayan" program during the CCI-Hub Policy Forum on June 28, 2021
The Philippines also began implementing the “Palamigan ng Bayan” program in March 2021 to provide refrigerated containers to farming and fishing communities in the Philippines (slide from the Philippine Ports Authority presentation during the CCI-Hub Policy Forum on June 28, 2021).

Cold storage containers are designed for durability

One of the main issues with on-farm cold storage equipment is that they must be extremely durable in order to survive extreme weather like typhoons, floods and high heat.

Carrier Transicold makes refrigerated containers that are used for international freight shipping. In our June 2021 webinar on Advanced Technologies for Transport Refrigeration, Suresh Duraisamy, Associate Director for Global Container Refrigeration at Carrier Transicold, spoke about how their refrigerated containers can be also used as on-farm cold storage and how they would deal with extreme weather.

Suresh explained that their refrigerated containers “are designed for marine use where the units are installed on the deck of a ship,” so that means they can withstand sea water splashing on them.

“The compressors are mounted a little higher and even if you have up to a foot of water, it can sustain [operation] without any problems,” Suresh said. “So, rain should not be a problem at all. They are also tested and designed to work in up to 50°C (122°F) ambient temperatures.”

Slide from Carrier Transicold's presentation during the CCI-Hub Technical Training Workshop on June 9, 2021
Carrier Transicold’s 20-foot NaturaLINE® Refrigerated Container Unit (slide from Carrier Transicold’s presentation during the CCI-Hub Technical Training Workshop on June 9, 2021)

Cold storage can be operated as a pay-as-you-go business

Even though these benefits may be clear, cold storage equipment is still too expensive for most farmers. But some entrepreneurs are demonstrating that there is a viable business model that can justify the investment.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu is the founder of ColdHubs, a company in Nigeria that is providing solar-powered and natural refrigerant-based walk-in cold rooms to farmers at their farms and local markets.

In a presentation he gave in 2018, he outlined his revenue model as well as his financial figures and projections (see the full video here).

ColdHubs charges its customers $0.50 USD to store one 20kg plastic crate of produce per night in the cold room. Each cold room holds 150 crates. 100% utilization is equal to $75 USD per day or $27,375 USD per year. The financials that Nnaemeka presented in one of his slides are shown below:

2017201820192020
Total No of cold rooms5151930
Total crate inventory7502,2502,8504,500
% of crates used70%70%80%80%
Rental rates per crateUS$0.32US$0.50US$0.50US$0.50
RevenueUS$32,130US$173,250US$369,000US$527,400
SalariesUS$20,150US$37,800US$51,700US$60,500
Operational costsUS$4,800US$12,250US$9,600US$23,900
Total ExpensesUS$24,950US$50,050US$61,300US$84,400
Net IncomeUS$7,180US$123,200US$307,700US$443,000
From Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu’s ColdHubs presentation on October 2, 2018 on Youtube

In addition, the equipment is solar-powered and uses natural refrigerants. This reduces the risk and exposure that the business would have to high electricity costs or the environmental regulation of HFC refrigerants.

For those who have the funds and can invest, Nnaemeka’s ColdHubs operation shows that there can be a clear path to making a return on the investment while at the same time reducing postharvest loss and increasing income for farmers and their surrounding communities.

Solar-powered walk-in cold room business ColdHubs was featured in this video as a prize-winning implementer of the Cooling as a Service business model for smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

More training and components will be needed

The Department of Agriculture pointed out, however, that there will still be need for a local network of supporting technicians and equipment components in order to make sure the cold storage equipment can be properly serviced and maintained after it is installed.

The Cold Chain Innovation Hub project aims to help fill this gap by providing training and certification on cold storage refrigeration technologies. Our physical training and exhibition space is set to open soon at the TESDA Regional Training Center NCR in Metro Manila. The space will have actual equipment on-site with technical experts available for training later this year.

To stay updated on the latest updates, make sure to sign up for our newsletter. You can also check out our “Solar Cooling for the Food Cold Chain” webinar, where we go into detail about how solar energy can be used to power a cold storage equipment for the food cold chain in the Philippines.

Cold Chain Innovation Hub Research Report on Evaluating the Philippines’ Food Cold Chain, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

The following report — “Evaluating the Philippines’ Food Cold Chain, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact | Research Report – June 2020″ — is based on desk research conducted by the Cold Chain Innovation Hub for the “Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippines” project.

The report has been divided into three parts and reproduced below.

Download the full report PDF here.

To see the report’s full list of references, sources and links click here.

Main Findings

  • The Philippines has an opportunity to leap frog traditional cooling technologies and implement several alternative clean cooling technologies available in the market today.
  • Implementing traditional cooling equipment today risks exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions for the next decade or more.
  • The Philippines agriculture and farming sector is very vulnerable to disruption due to a lack of post-harvest cold chain infrastructure.
  • Major infrastructure shortages include modern integrated pack-houses with pre-cooling equipment and cold storage facilities located near farms as well as refrigerated transport for both rural areas and urban distribution.
  • Alternative clean cooling technologies exist today and are ready to be tested and demonstrated as part of a fully functioning state-of-the-art innovative farm-to-fork cold chain to support the future development of the Philippines.

Part 1: Current State of the Philippines’ Cold Chain

Post-harvest cold storage infrastructure for a large part of the Philippines’ agriculture, fishery, and livestock/poultry sectors are non-existent or inadequate today.

The cold storage infrastructure that does exist today in the country is largely owned and operated by major logistics companies.

Most of the cold chain system in the Philippines are developed and operated by major local logistics companies and retailers (superstores and convenience stores) that sell imported agri-products and foods.
Richard Li, 2018

The infrastructure is largely disconnected from the local production regions. Additionally, cold storage infrastructure that has been created in the last few years has been sitting unused because they were strategically deployed in areas that are already disconnected from the beginning stages of the cold chain.

The situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the insecurity of the food supply in the Philippines and its over reliance on imports and exports has been brought to the forefront.

However, deploying traditional cold chain equipment is a double-edged sword — improving food security while at the same time risking a significant increase in energy use and environmental impact.

This means that there is an urgent need to identify, test and demonstrate energy efficient and clean cold chain equipment in the Philippines.

According to a study conducted by the UK-based Birmingham Energy Institute in 2017 on establishing clean cold chains in India, alternative technologies for the entire cold chain are available and market ready today.

Luckily there is no shortage of clean cold technologies with which to build a sustainable cold chain in India…It became clear that every stage of the cold chain – from pack house pre-cooling to vehicle refrigeration to cold storage hub – could be freed from its current dependence on grid electricity or diesel.
“India’s Third Agricultural Revolution”, Birmingham Energy Institute, 2017

Several examples of these alternative clean cooling technologies, as applicable to the Philippines food cold chain, have been identified in this report.

Cold Chain Components

For the purpose of this report, we’ve identified the four major food categories that require cold chain infrastructure:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fish and seafood
  • Poultry and livestock
  • Milk, butter and ice cream

To set a foundation for a basic understanding of the food cold chain as a whole, we have first focused on the fruits and vegetables sector. The cold chain and its associated infrastructure components for this sector have been simplified and broken down in the following infographic:

A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector
A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector

These major components with their desirable set-up locations have also been broken down and identified in a study conducted by the Government of India in 2015. This is shown in the table below:

infrastructure componentDesirable set-up location
Modern Pack-house (PH)At farm gate for fresh produce preconditioning
Long Haul Transport (T)From pack-house to “Mandi” (Indian term for wholesale produce market)/wholesale buyer
Cold Storage Hubs (CH)Close to consumption/distribution centre
Cold Storage Bulk (CS)At farm gate/food processing premises
Ripening Chamber (RC)Close to consumption/distribution centre
Last Mile Transport (t)Within distribution city
Retail/Front-end (FE)Last mile merchandising
Food Processing Unit (PU)Factory dispatch of food product as source point
From the All India Cold-chain Infrastructure Capacity, Assessment of Status & Gap, National Centre for Cold-chain Development, 2015

Near the Farm

A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector
A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector

Pre-Cooling

What is pre-cooling?

Pre-cooling is the first step for fruits and vegetables in the food cold chain. It is the process of removing field heat from freshly harvested produce and is typically done before it is stored in a cold room for a longer period of time before being picked up by a refrigerated truck.

To ensure energy efficiency in cold storage facilities, pre-cooling of harvested crops is necessary in order to prepare the crop for proper temperature input into the cold storage process.
Richard Li, 2018
The main objective of pre-cooling is, therefore, to reduce the temperature of a commodity to the optimum level as rapidly as possible after harvest without inducing physiological disorders or physical damage.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012

Pre-cooling is important because it maximizes and preserves the optimum level of quality for the produce and its value for sale.

It must be noted that pre-cooling of fruits, vegetables and meat products becomes critical in determining the grading outcome as it significantly prolongs shelf life of these fruits/vegetables and satisfies the cooling/quality requirements of meat processors.
Richard Li, 2018

Ideal temperatures vary for various types of produce:

2°C for spinach, for example, 7-10°C for peppers, green beans and tomatoes, and 13° for mangoes.
“India’s Third Agricultural Revolution”, Birmingham Energy Institute, 2017

Traditional methods and technologies

There are several pre-cooling methods used for fruits and vegetables. Some work for many types of produce while others only work for certain types.

Some common methods are pictured below:

Example of forced air cooling from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012
Example of forced air cooling from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012
Example of hydro cooling from the World Vegetable Center, 2017
Example of hydro cooling from the World Vegetable Center, 2017
Example of icing from the World Vegetable Center, 2017
Example of icing from the World Vegetable Center, 2017
Example of a cold room with a room air conditioner and a CoolBot device from the World Vegetable Center, 2017
Example of a cold room with a room air conditioner and a CoolBot device from the World Vegetable Center, 2017

These methods are also summarized in the table below:

Methoddescriptionrequired equipment
Shade/night harvestingProduce left in the shade during and immediately after harvesting (or harvested at night) deteriorates less than produce left in the sun.None
Hydro coolingHydro coolers may either be an immersion-type or a shower system and may make use of ice blocks or a mechanical refrigeration system as a source of cooling. For either type, a water pump is used to circulate and distribute water.Ice machine, refrigeration system, water pumps
Evaporative vacuum coolingA vacuum cooler makes use of an air-tight chamber which is made of steel. Under reduced pressure heat is absorbed by the evaporating water at the surface of the produce.Air-tight steel chamber, refrigeration system
IcingIcing makes use of crushed ice packed together with the commodity in water-resistant containers.Ice machine, water-resistant containers
Forced air coolingTunnel cooling, a common method of forced air cooling used in developed countries, involves the blowing of cool air through containers of produce.Refrigeration system, cold room, fans
Cold roomThis method simply involves placing stacks of produce in a refrigerated space. Slowest method of pre-cooling due to field-heat still being present in produce.Refrigeration system, cold room
From the “Good practice in the design, management and operation of a fresh produce packinghouse”, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012

In the Philippines

According to several studies, there is a lack or absence of pre-cooling facilities in and around farm and trading areas in the Philippines and it has contributed significantly to the quality deterioration and increased food losses along the food cold chain.

Pre-cooling and cold storage facilities are lacking both in the northern and southern farms in the Philippines…Traded vegetables are just deposited around the trading facility under direct sunlight, uneven dusty and rocky ground and left on that condition until trading transaction has been completed and truck for loading has arrived, which could last for hours.
Richard Li, 2018

The current lack of post-harvest facilities and cold chain practices are resulting in major post-harvest losses in the crops sub-sector.

Cabbage is estimated to have 29% food loss due to inadequate pre-cooling.
“Technology Reducing Post harvest Losses and Maintaining Quality of Fruits and Vegetables (Philippines)”, Perlita Aquino-Nuevo, Arnel Ramir Apaga, 2010

Research conducted in 2010 by the University of the Philippines Los Banos and the Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization showed that the current business-as-usual process involves the harvesting and transport of fruits and vegetables all the way to market with zero use of refrigeration.

At present, the distribution system is quite inefficient due to lack of functional post harvest facilities, trading centers and packing houses, storage facilities for fresh, poor infrastructure and weak implementation of policies for agriculture.
“Technology Reducing Post harvest Losses and Maintaining Quality of Fruits and Vegetables (Philippines)”, Perlita Aquino-Nuevo, Arnel Ramir Apaga, 2010

This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and has exposed the lack of flexibility and vulnerability of the country’s food supply due to inadequate cold chain infrastructure.

Risks of using traditional methods and technologies

Traditional refrigeration systems used for pre-cooling that involve refrigeration systems, electric fans and pumps contribute to carbon emissions in direct ways (through synthetic refrigerant leaks) and indirect ways (through reliance on grid electricity or diesel).

Conventional cooling technologies typically run using refrigerant gases (‘F-gases’) that are themselves extremely powerful greenhouse gases and tend to leak. Pound for pound, some F-gases cause thousands of times more warming than CO2. Conventional cooling technologies also typically rely on diesel or grid electricity, and so cause further large emissions of CO2 from their energy consumption. In addition, since many of the technologies are powered by lightly regulated secondary diesel engines, they also emit grossly disproportionate amounts of local air pollution.
“India’s Third Agricultural Revolution”, Birmingham Energy Institute, 2017

Cold Storage (Bulk)

What is Cold Storage (Bulk)?

A cold storage (bulk) facility is strategically located near the farm. Once produce has been pre-cooled it must either be immediately loaded into a refrigerated truck for transport to market or kept in a cold storage (bulk) facility.

In a 2019 report titled “Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chain in India” by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, Cold Storage (Bulk) facilities were described as follows:

It is designed for long duration storage of produce to build an inventory buffer which will serve to smoothen the episodic production by stabilizing & sustaining the supply lines. These are normally constructed in areas close to producing areas (farm-gate) to facilitate quick access to producers for a selective set of crops only.
“Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chain in India”, MP Ensystems, University of Birmingham, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, 2019

Pre-cooling and cold storage often are integrated in modern pack-house facilities. These are described in a separate section of the report (see: The Pack House).

Traditional methods and technologies

Typically, fruits and vegetables can simply be stored in a cold room near the farm while it waits to be picked up. These cold rooms are cooled by packaged refrigeration systems or even modified air-conditioners on small to medium scale farms.

Common cheap forms of cool rooms include:

methoddescriptionrequired equipment
Self-constructed cool room with an air conditioner and a “Coolbot” deviceA traditional room window mounted type air conditioner can be connected to an insulated room made from double-walled plywood panels with polystyrene sheets for insulation. Connecting the “Coolbot” device artificially lowers the temperature of the air conditioner thereby forcing it to operate as a refrigeration unit.Plywood, Coolbot device, room air conditioner
Commercial refrigerator or walk in coolerThis is a larger commercial refrigerator or walk in cooler powered by the electrical grid using either hydrocarbon or freon refrigerant.Commercial refrigerator
From the World Vegetable Center, 2017 and Urban Farmer Curtis Stone, 2016

In the Philippines

In the Philippines, there is a significant lack of cold storage (bulk) facilities.

In the Philippines, there are only a few cold storage facilities available for small to medium scale farmers, hence, food loss occurs during prolonged storage. The very high temperature and relative humidity due to the tropical nature of the country is also one of the reasons for the quality deterioration of crops for small to medium scale farmers who cannot afford cold storage facilities.
Richard Li, 2018

Risks of using traditional methods and technologies

Similar to pre-cooling technologies, traditional equipment used for cold storage bulk facilities have significant impacts on the environment including refrigerant gas leaks, pollution from diesel engines, or the use of fossil-fuel powered grid electricity.

On the Road

A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector
A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector

Refrigerated Trucks and Vans

On land, produce is transported mainly by refrigerated vehicles (in addition to by sea via the roll on/roll off system in the Philippines).

Traditional methods and technologies

  • Refrigerated trailer (diesel-powered refrigeration system)
  • Refrigerated trucks/vans (vehicle engine direct drive powered refrigeration system)
  • Refrigerated trucks with eutectic plates (pre-charged cooling before transport)

Refrigerated trailers’ refrigeration systems are typically powered through integrated diesel driven motors that are in addition to the truck’s main engine.

From “AdvancedRefrigeration – Transport Refrigeration Part 1”, Porter and Chester Institute, Youtube, 2018
From “AdvancedRefrigeration – Transport Refrigeration Part 1”, Porter and Chester Institute, Youtube, 2018

For smaller refrigerated trucks and vans, their refrigeration systems are usually powered either by direct drive systems linked to the vehicle engine or separate batteries.

From “AdvancedRefrigeration – Transport Refrigeration Part 1”, Porter and Chester Institute, Youtube, 2018
From “AdvancedRefrigeration – Transport Refrigeration Part 1”, Porter and Chester Institute, Youtube, 2018

Eutectic plate trucks are chilled prior to transport by a refrigeration system powered by a diesel generator or by being plugged into the electrical grid.

From “AdvancedRefrigeration – Transport Refrigeration Part 1”, Porter and Chester Institute, Youtube, 2018
From “AdvancedRefrigeration – Transport Refrigeration Part 1”, Porter and Chester Institute, Youtube, 2018

The three methods with the associated energy sources are summarized below:

methodequipment neededenergy source
Refrigerated trailerTransport refrigeration systemSecondary diesel generator (in addition to the vehicle’s primary diesel engine), electrical grid
Refrigerated truck/vansTransport refrigeration systemVehicle engine
Refrigerated trucks with eutectic platesStationary refrigeration system, eutectic plates or phase change materialsSecondary diesel generator (in addition to the vehicle’s primary diesel engine), electrical grid

The majority of the refrigerated trailers, trucks and vans use R134a or R404a as refrigerants.

The usage of the trucks can be broken down into two main categories:

  • Long haul: Used to transport produce from the farm to a storage or distribution center.
  • Short haul: Used to transport produce from storage and distribution centers to markets or retail/food service locations.

In the Philippines

The Philippines has a severe shortfall of refrigerated vehicles to serve its urban population as compared to developed countries.

…providing the farmers with refrigerated trucks is actually a key in preventing food loss and increasing the income of farmers.
Cherrie Atilano, President & CEO, Agrea, 2020

Based on data provided by several sources, compared to France which has a similar number of urban residents, the Philippines has less than 10% of the refrigerated vehicles needed to serve its urban population.

No. of urban residentsno. of refrigerated vehicles
France (2014)55,000,000140,000
Philippines (2019)50,000,00010,000
Sources: Global Cold Chain Alliance, 2018, Dearman, 2015, World Bank, 2020

Instead of refrigerated vehicles, transportation of fruits and vegetables are done by open non-refrigerated trucks, or oversized jeepneys and tricycles.

Open truck transporting vegetables from Benguet to Batangas in Southern Luzon (6 hours) from “Born to be Wild: The vegetable trading posts in La Trinidad, Benguet”, GMA Public Affairs, Youtube, 2018
Open truck transporting vegetables from Benguet to Batangas in Southern Luzon (6 hours) from “Born to be Wild: The vegetable trading posts in La Trinidad, Benguet”, GMA Public Affairs, Youtube, 2018

These are used mainly when transporting produce from rural areas to urban or wholesale markets as well as terminals and ports for export.

Land transportation is usually done by trucks from the packing facilities to the terminals and ports for distribution internationally.
Richard Li, 2018

Unrefrigerated land and sea transportation is usually combined when bringing produce from the southern regions to the northern regions where the major domestic markets are located. Transit time is usually less than two days and produce is typically exposed to high temperatures during the trip.

This process is described in detail in a 2010 study conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Banos and the Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization:

Commodities are usually transported by ship from the southern part where crops are produced and marketed to the northern part where the major domestic market is situated. If there are no delays due to bad weather or technical ship problems, the transit time is about 36 hours. Delay in transport would lead to additional handling cost, loss of volume and loss of potential profit (Bautista and Maunahan, 2007) When commodities in the metal van are loaded in passenger ships, the vans are placed below the boat where the engine is located. The temperature rises really high due to the engine heat and the heat of the commodities emitted in the process of respiration. Commodities are also shipped using cargo vessels which takes a shorter period of time (24 hours). However, cargo vessels are more limited than passenger ships.

After the ship has docked, it will still take about 5-6 hours for the fruit van to be released. If fruits are bulk loaded, stripping takes another 16 hours. The bananas will then be transferred in trucks or oversized jeepneys and transported over land. However, the vehicle is always fully loaded and the handlers sit on top of the produce. The people sitting on the bulk loaded fruits add weight especially to the bottom fruits which results in compression damage.
“Technology Reducing Post harvest Losses and Maintaining Quality of Fruits and Vegetables (Philippines)”, Perlita Aquino-Nuevo, Arnel Ramir Apaga, 2010

Risks of using traditional methods and technologies

There are two main components related to the environmental impact of refrigerated transport vehicles.

The first and the largest is the diesel engine used to power the transport refrigeration unit (TRU) on the truck (separate from the trucks main engine).

From “Emissions of Transport Refrigeration Units with CARB Diesel, Gas-to-Liquid Diesel, and Emissions Control Devices”, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, 2010
From “Emissions of Transport Refrigeration Units with CARB Diesel, Gas-to-Liquid Diesel, and Emissions Control Devices”, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, 2010
Vehicle refrigeration today is overwhelmingly powered by diesel, often using a highly polluting secondary engine to drive the Transport Refrigeration Unit.
“Liquid Air on the Highway”, Dearman Engine Company, Toby Peters, 2014

According to a 2015 report titled “Cold chains and the demographic dividend” by UK-based Dearman Engine Company, the diesel engines used to power the TRUs:

  • Consume up to 20% of the truck’s fuel
  • Emit significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide
  • Emit significant amounts of particulate matter
  • Emit 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide per truck per year

In addition, the TRU:

  • Leaks F-gas refrigerants at an estimated annual leakage rate of 25% (the most common F-gases used for TRUs are R134a or R404a)

Finally, the vehicle engine itself emits CO2. These emissions occur both as the truck is moving and as it sits idle during loading and off loading.

Near the City

A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector
A simplified outline of major food cold chain components for the fruits and vegetables sector

Cold Storage (Hubs)

What are Cold Storage (Hubs)?

Cold Storage (Hubs) can also be called cold storage distribution facilities. They are located near urban areas and markets and are usually distinguished from a cold storage (bulk) facility by its short term handling, as opposed to longer duration storage.

SPAR South Rand Cold Storage Distribution Centre, South Africa, from SPAR Group Limited
SPAR South Rand Cold Storage Distribution Centre, South Africa, from SPAR Group Limited

The Government of India described cold storage (hubs) as follows:

It is designed for short-term handling of produce so as to serve as a distribution logistics platform for marketable packaged produce and ready to retail produce…These are normally constructed close to consumption centres, built at the front-end linked to source points with refrigerated transport.
“All India Cold-chain Infrastructure Capacity, Assessment of Status & Gap”, National Centre for Cold-chain Development, 2015

In the Philippines

According to the Department of Agriculture, there are 233 accredited cold storage warehouses in the country. Total cold storage capacity is estimated to be around 2,000,000 m3 according to the Global Cold Chain Alliance and the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines. The Global Cold Chain Alliance also estimated the average facility size to be around 16,667 m3.

Number of Facilities233
Total Capacity~2,000,000 m3
Average Facility Size~16,667 m3

Note on Units of Measure:

Cubic meters was chosen to be adopted as the standard capacity unit of measure in order to assess the Philippines’ cold storage sector from a global perspective. Cubic meters is the standard unit adopted by the Global Cold Chain Alliance. In the Philippines, however, it is customary to measure cold storage capacity in either number of pallet positions or metric tons.

Therefore, there is some potential for statistical error due to the need to apply quantitative conversion factors. This report uses conversion factors provided by the Global Cold Chain Alliance which are as follows:

1 metric ton = 4.3 cubic meters

The conversion from weight-based units (metric tons) to volume-based units (cubic meters) depends on the product in storage. Conversions provided by the Global Cold Chain Alliance are based on assumptions provided to them by food industry experts about types of products stored.

The majority are largely owned and operated by major logistics companies for import and export.

Most of the cold chain system in the Philippines are developed and operated by major local logistics companies and retailers (superstores and convenience stores) that sell imported agri-products and foods.
Richard Li, 2018

Geographical Distribution

The Philippines is divided into 17 administrative regions within its three main island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Of the 233 total cold storage warehouses accredited by the Department of Agriculture, the majority (91) are located in the National Capital Region (also referred to as Metro Manila).

LuzonRegion 1
Region 2
Region 3
Region 4A
Region 4B
Region 5
Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
National Capital Region (NCR)
158
VisayasRegion 6
Region 7
Region 8
32
MindanaoRegion 9
Region 10
Region 11
Region 12
Region 13
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
43

Traditional methods and technologies

Large cold storage facilities used as distribution hubs can vary widely in format and scale. However, most facilities use centralized refrigeration systems.

A traditional ammonia refrigeration system uses over 10,000 lbs (4,356 kg) of ammonia, usually with a glycol loop, in what is called a central system. This central system uses air handling units, cooling coils, etc. located throughout the facility. The main components, such as the compressors, condensers and vessels of the system, are in a central machine room. Ammonia is then piped from the machine room to the evaporators at the load.
“World Guide to Low-Charge Ammonia”, shecco, 2019

Smaller facilities typically employ freon-based refrigerants while larger facilities typically employ ammonia.

95% of the facilities in the Philippines operate on ammonia. The majority of the systems are single stage flooded pumped liquid recirculation systems using reciprocating or screw compressors. A few systems use glycol as a secondary refrigerant. A few NH3/CO2 systems have been installed (less than 5%).

Small facilities (under 100MT of storage capacity) sometimes use freon-based systems (i.e. 404A with scroll compressors).

Food Retail

In the Philippines

The Philippines’ food retail market in 2018 was valued at $47.4 billion.

In 2016, sales of sari-sari stores (sari-sari is the Philippine word referring to a small owner-operated neighborhood convenience store) were estimated to reach more than $26.94 billion, accounting for almost 60% of total food retail in the country (Food Retail Sectoral Report, United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, 2017).

Supermarkets posted the second biggest sales growth next to convenience stores with 7% growth in 2016. Supermarkets continue to be the most frequently visited modern retailer since they are usually located near residential areas or in shopping malls which consumers regularly visit.

Shifting consumer preferences

In the Philippines, there is an ongoing shift in consumer habits to buy fresh and frozen produce from supermarkets than from traditional wet markets.

There is a growing demand for gourmet and healthy foods, frozen ready-to-cook foods, processed grocery items and other food ingredients for home meal replacement. This is also being driven by a growing consumer awareness of food quality and safety.

The rapid modernization and expansion of the Philippine food retail industry have also led to the increase of national and upscale supermarket chains throughout the country.

Traditional methods and technologies

Typical commercial food retail refrigeration systems consist of refrigerated display cabinets or display cases that are either independent units or are connected to a centralized refrigeration system.

Typical commercial refrigerators from the Cold Chain Technology Brief Commercial Professional and Domestic Refrigeration IIF/IIR UN Environment, 2018
Typical commercial refrigerators from the “Cold Chain Technology Brief Commercial, Professional and Domestic Refrigeration”, IIF/IIR UN Environment, 2018

Food Service

In the Philippines

There are a total of 30,889 establishments engaged in Accommodation and Food Service Activities according to the 2016 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI).

Restaurants led the sector with 7,218 establishments, accounting for 23.4 percent of the total number of establishments. This was followed by cafeterias with 4,725 establishments (15.3%) and fast-food chains with 4,411 establishments (14.3%).

The Philippines food service sector is highly dominated by independent restaurants. However, quick-service restaurants and foreign fast food chains are gaining prevalence owing to the preferences of the growing millennial customer base.

Traditional methods and technologies

Food service businesses such as fast food restaurants, cafes and bars typically use smaller commercial refrigerators where food is stored while it waits to be prepared for consumption. The majority are independent units that are not connected to a larger centralized refrigeration system.

Typical professional refrigerators from the Cold Chain Technology Brief Commercial Professional and Domestic Refrigeration IIF/IIR UN Environment, 2018
Typical professional refrigerators from the “Cold Chain Technology Brief Commercial, Professional and Domestic Refrigeration”, IIF/IIR UN Environment, 2018

Part 2: Clean Food Cold Chain Alternatives

Several clean cold chain technologies exist today. Some examples are listed below.

Pre-Cooling & Near-Farm Cold Storage

Portable, solar-powered cold rooms:

The Ecofrost Solar Cold Storage by ecoZen
The Ecofrost Solar Cold Storage by ecoZen

These insulated containers have cooling compartments and a refrigeration system driven by a solar roof. The refrigeration system simultaneously cools the produce and recharges the unit’s built-in cold storage panels made of phase-change materials.

The units can pre-cool and store produce. It can also control humidity and operation can be monitored via smartphone.

Small-scale solar-powered absorption chillers:

Small-scale solar absorption chiller by Solar Polar
Small-scale solar absorption chiller by Solar Polar
Solar Polar is a British company that has developed a small-scale solar-powered absorption chiller. Absorption chilling is a well established technology that turns heat directly into cooling – without any electrical stage – through the vapour absorption cycle.
“India’s Third Agricultural Revolution”, Birmingham Energy Institute, 2017

Solar-powered mobile cooling demountable trucks:

Solar-Powered Indian Cold-Chain Eutectic Solution by Cartwright Group
Solar-Powered Indian Cold-Chain Eutectic Solution by Cartwright Group
The British truck body builder Cartwright Group is developing another solar powered mobile cooling concept. Known as SPICES – Solar Powered Indian Cold-chain Eutectic Solution – the device comprises a demountable truck body with a solar roof. During harvest the unit is detached from the truck and left at the field, where farmers can load their crops to be pre-cooled and then transported directly to market in the same vehicle without further handling…Temperature is maintained through the combination of solar power and eutectic cold storage, and needs no external power supply or infrastructure investment by farmers.
“India’s Third Agricultural Revolution”, Birmingham Energy Institute, 2017

The truck body can be detached and left at the field where crops can be pre-cooled and then transported directly to market. It is solar-powered and uses eutectic cold storage and needs no external power supply.

Transport

Replacing F-gases with natural refrigerants:

Several refrigerated vehicles with transport refrigeration units that use natural refrigerants such as CO2 and propane are available and in use in the market today.

Transfrig R290 Transport Refrigeration System
Transfrig R290 Transport Refrigeration System
Carrier Transicold – Natural Refrigerant Trailer unit with Biocoop, Carrier, Youtube, 2018
Carrier Transicold – Natural Refrigerant Trailer unit with Biocoop, Carrier, Youtube, 2018

In addition, electric Transport Refrigeration Unit’s (TRU’s) compatible with electric vehicles are available.

Thermo King E-200 electric transport refrigeration unit
Thermo King E-200 electric transport refrigeration unit
Foodstuffs NZ 100% electric refrigerated logistics truck
Foodstuffs NZ 100% electric refrigerated logistics truck

Liquid carbon dioxide is also being used for TRUs rather than diesel powered refrigeration systems.

Thermo King CryoTech transport refrigeration unit
Thermo King CryoTech transport refrigeration unit

Additionally, liquid air/nitrogen is being used as both the fuel to drive the vehicle engine as well as the coolant to replace the diesel powered refrigeration system completely.

Dearman liquid air/nitrogen piston engine + transport refrigeration unit
Dearman liquid air/nitrogen piston engine + transport refrigeration unit

The Pack House

What is a pack house?

Harvested produce is often brought to a common facility for preparation and storage pending transport to market. In its various forms, this facility is referred to as a packing-shed, a pack-house or a packing-house.

An integrated pack house designed for multiple horticulture crops was recently built in Haryana, India. It includes variety of sorting, grading, packing and cold storage facilities. An example can be seen here.

Haryana’s first integrated pack house (with sorting, grading, packing and cold storage facilities)
Haryana’s first integrated pack house (with sorting, grading, packing and cold storage facilities), PVPC Group, Youtube, 2020

A packing-house can be defined as a designated facility where fresh produce is pooled and prepared in order to meet the requirements of a target market (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012).

Model integrated pack house

The proposed design of a model energy efficient, sustainable and modern pack house facility in Haryana, India was included in a 2019 report titled “Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chain in India” by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation. The refrigeration system uses ammonia. The blueprint is shown below:

Blueprint of a model energy efficient, sustainable and modern pack house facility in Haryana, India from Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chain in India, MP Ensystems, University of Birmingham, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, 2019
Blueprint of a model energy efficient, sustainable and modern pack house facility in Haryana, India from Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chain in India, MP Ensystems, University of Birmingham, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, 2019

Cold Storage

Modern energy efficient and natural refrigerant-based alternatives to traditional large cold storage refrigeration systems include low-charge ammonia and transcritical CO2 based systems.

What is low-charge ammonia?

Modern low-charge ammonia systems are large industrial refrigeration systems where an attempt has been made to reduce the amount of ammonia used in the system while retaining its energy efficiency.

In recent years, three types of low-charge ammonia systems have emerged as systems being used for cold storage and other industrial and commercial refrigeration systems.

Low-charge Ammonia: Optimized SystemAn optimized low-charge ammonia refrigeration system works by using the traditional industrial ammonia refrigeration technology and further optimizing it with low-charge components, such as specifically designed evaporators, controls, heat exchangers, compressors and condensers.

A properly designed low-charge optimized system, uses less than 6,053 lbs (2,746 kg) of ammonia and requires therefore fewer vessels, fewer pipes, smaller pipe diameters and no pumps.
Low-charge Ammonia: Packaged SystemA packaged ammonia system eliminates the huge quantities of ammonia inventory, and piping, by moving to smaller self-contained systems that are usually placed on the roof/ground outside preventing any danger from leaks.

These self-contained systems have about 4.3 lbs/TR (0.55 kg/kW) ammonia charge and usually combine the compressor, evaporator valve system and control systems into one easily installed and movable packaged system.
Low-charge Ammonia: NH3/CO2 SystemAn ammonia/CO2 system can come in various formats (such as cascade, CO2/NH3 with pumped volatile brine and ammonia DX system using liquid CO2 overfeed) but the main idea is to isolate the ammonia charge, which is usually between 4 and 6 lbs/TR (0.5 – 0.83 kg/kW), to the machine room and use the CO2 as the secondary coolant that can be pumped into cold rooms in the facility.
Source: “World Guide to Low-Charge Ammonia”, shecco, 2019

Transcritical CO2

In addition to low-charge ammonia systems, systems that employ the use of CO2 only have also emerged as energy efficient and sustainable solutions for cold storage facilities.

Hannaford, a Scarborough, Maine-based division of Ahold Delhaize, is one of the first U.S. grocers to employ a transcritical CO2 system in a refrigerated warehouse. Hannaford’s CO2 warehouse also contains one of the world’s largest refrigerated spaces (250,000 ft2; 23,226 m2) to use a transcritical system. The warehouse supplies 85 of Hannaford’s approximately 190 stores in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.
Four transcritical racks are planned in what is a replacement of the warehouse’s original, almost 30-year-old R22 system. Three of the racks are medium-temperature, two-stage, intercooled systems, while the low-temperature rack (the first installed) is single stage, with ejector defrost. The installation was completed in February 2020.
“Hannaford Pioneers Transcritical CO2 – Again”, R744.com, January 15, 2020

Food Retail and Food Service

In commercial food retail and food service, transcritical CO2-based refrigeration systems as well as hydrocarbon-based refrigeration systems have emerged as sustainable and energy efficient solutions. Moreover, several hydrocarbon-based refrigeration systems have already been installed in the Philippines in the past few years.

In August, Royal Duty Free – a Philippines-based chain of duty-free supermarkets – will retrofit one of its stores to use only R290 plug-in units combined with a water-loop system, according to a local refrigeration contractor, Cold Front Technologies Asia, Inc. The store is located in Subic Bay — a special economic zone a few hours’ drive northwest of the Philippines’ capital city of Manila. It will be “the first store in the country to use 100% R290-based refrigeration,” according to Emilio Gonzalez La’O, Cold Front’s president.
“Royal Duty Free is First in Philippines With All-R290 Store”, Accelerate24.news, July 11, 2019

Technology Assessment Methodology

In order to contribute to the development of a clean and energy efficient food cold chain in the Philippines, the following best-practice assessment, measurement and analysis methodologies have been identified.

The listing of different methodologies must be further investigated and adapted to the requirements and limitations of the Philippine cold chain industry.

The following is a technology assessment methodology taken from the 2019 report titled “Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chain in India” produced by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

It outlines the 8 major factors considered when selecting the most appropriate piece of technology to use in any given clean and energy efficient cold chain application.

CostLanded Cost (Percentage greater than Ammonia based VCC)

Operation & Maintenance Cost (% cost of refrigerant system)
Specific Energy ConsumptionSpecific Energy Consumption (kWh/TR)

GHG emissions related to operation (kg CO2)
Scale-Up OpportunityWhether intensive training is required for operation and maintenance services

Qualification of personnel to operate and maintain

Scale-up opportunity (% of capacity)

Development status of the technology

Technology in existence for (years)
Local Capacity to BuildEnergy requirement (units/day)

Water requirement (litres/year)

Water quality (source)

Number of employees in the company

Number of technology providers within district
Efficiency GainsEfficiency gains (%)
Operation and MaintenanceAvailability of after-sales services (in km radius from site)

Availability of spare parts (% years of life of technology)
Compatibility with Closed Loop SystemCompatible with renewable or waste heat recovery technologies
Global Warming Potential/Ozone Depleting Potential (GWP/ODP)GWP related to refrigerant

ODP related to refrigerant
From “Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chain in India”, MP Ensystems, University of Birmingham, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, 2019

Part 3: Measuring Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

The following are different energy efficiency and environmental impact monitoring and analysis methodologies sourced from research papers and case studies considered to be best practice globally.

The facilities to be analyzed are as follows:

  • Packhouse (TBC)
  • Transport refrigeration unit (TBC)
  • Cold storage warehouse
  • Supermarket
  • Convenience store (TBC)
  • Restaurant (TBC)
  • The cold chain as a whole (TBC)

Cold Storage Warehouses

Several studies have shown that within cold storage facilities, typically 60–70% of the electrical energy may be used for refrigeration.

In the United States, one study conducted by an energy efficiency organization in 2016 found typical energy use for cold storage facilities to be broken down as in the table below.

Refrigeration54%
Electric Defrost21%
Lighting10%
Office HVAC9%
Battery Chargers3%
Office Equipment2%
Exhaust Fans1%
Source: “Cold Storage Facilities Energy Savings Guide”, Energy Trust of Oregon, 2016

Cold storage facilities can generally be categorized into three main categories:

Chilled-1°C to -10°C
FrozenBelow -18°C
Mixed useThose with both chilled and frozen rooms operating from a common refrigeration system.
Source: Specific energy consumption values for various refrigerated food cold stores, J.A. Evans, et al., 2013

Specific Energy Consumption

Specific Energy Consumption (commonly referred to as SEC) is currently the most widely used metric in the cold storage industry to benchmark and compare the energy performance of a given cold storage facility relative to other cold storage facilities in the industry.

It is defined as the amount of total electricity consumed (kWh) per cubic meter of facility size (m3) per year (or per annum commonly notated as “a”).

SEC = kWh/m3/a

SEC best practice

In a study conducted by Andy Pearson of UK-based Star Refrigeration, presented at The 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration in August of 2019, a best practice curve for modern cold storage facilities based on the SEC metric was proposed.

“Energy Performance of Industrial Cold Storage Facilities”, The 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Andy Pearson, 2019
“Energy Performance of Industrial Cold Storage Facilities”, The 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Andy Pearson, 2019

The curve is based on actual electrical usage for 21 cold storage sites in the UK where all were “managed under a common maintenance regime with a strong focus on energy performance and continuous improvement.”

For reference, the following SEC figures can be obtained from this standard.

BEST PRACTICE SEC FIGURES FOR TYPICAL COLD STORAGE FACILITIES
50,000 m316 kWh/m3/year
500,000 m3< 5kWh/m3/year

SEC limitations

While SEC is widely considered to be the best baseline metric to use to compare the energy efficiency of cold storage facilities currently, there are a number of significant factors that are not taken into account.

  • Building utilization
  • Weather
  • Building fabric condition
  • Building and process management
  • Refrigeration plant condition
  • Other compensating factors

In addition, alternative methods of measuring not only the energy efficiency of a facility, but the efficiency of the facility as a whole are also available. These methods are all based on the general principle of efficiency being equal to benefit being divided by cost. Some of these include

General facility usage: Operating output divided by required input

Equipment specific: Cooling capacity divided by electrical input

Building as a whole: Product throughput divided by cost of operation

SEC significant past studies

Current best practice is built upon significant studies employing the SEC metric conducted over the past twenty five years. The following is a list of these studies in chronological order.

ORIGINAL PUBLISHING DATENAME OF STUDYREGION FOCUSNOTES
1994ETSU, 1994. Energy Consumption Guide 37: Cold Storage Sector. Energy Efficiency Office, Department of the Environment, Harwell, United KingdomUK
1995Bosma, J. 1995. Inventory study of the energy conservation potential in cold storage installations in the Netherlands. Proc. 19th International Congress of Refrigeration, The Hague vol II, IIF/IIRNetherlands
2002Duiven, J. E and Binard, P. 2002. Refrigerated storage: new developments. IIR Bulletin – 2002-2.EU
2013Evans, J.A. Huet, J-M. Reinholdt, L. Fikiin, K. Zilio, C. Houska, M. Landfeld, A. Bond, C. Scheurs, M. and van Sambeeck, T.W.M., 2013. Cold Store Energy Performance, Proceedings of the 2nd IIR Conference on the Cold Chain and Sustainability, Paris, IIF/IIREUAlso known as the ICE-E study. This study was extended and updated by Evans et al in 2015, with 44% more data. See below.
2015Evans, J.A. Foster, A. Huet, J-M. Reinholdt, L. Fikiin, K. Zilio, C. Houska, M. Landfeld, A. Bond, C. Scheurs, M. and van Sambeeck, T.W.M., 2015. Specific Energy Consumption Values for Various Refrigerated Food Cold Stores, Proceedings of the 24th IIR Congress, Yokohama, IIF/IIREU

Example SEC Case Study: Comparing energy efficiency of a plant retrofit in Australia

In a technical paper from Australia-based industrial refrigeration system installer Scantec Refrigeration Technologies, the energy efficiency of two different refrigeration systems, retrofitted at a single cold storage facility in Mackay, North Queensland, Australia were analyzed using the SEC method.

The original system as an HFC-based refrigeration system which was decommissioned in 2015. The owners of the facility discussed replacing the old HFC-based system with a “new, more energy efficient central refrigeration system”, the paper states. The installation of the new system was completed in August 2018.

Old System

The refrigerant used in the low temperature segment was R404A. The refrigerant used in the medium temperature segment was unknown but believed to be R22.

New System

The new system was a direct expansion (DX) ammonia (NH3) based system. There was a low NH3 inventory in the refrigeration plant. It included a dry expansion refrigerant feed for the low temperature freezer evaporators and a propylene glycol loop for the medium temperature services.

Energy data collection limitations

Certain limitations in the collection of energy data were noted in the paper. Energy consumption records for the old HFC system were provided by the energy retailer, Ergon Energy. The energy consumption records for that plant included auxiliary consumers such as general light and power, office air conditioning and forklift charging.

For the NH3 system, the energy consumption was recorded via the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. It therefore represented the energy consumption of the refrigeration plant only.

Results

The following SECs were calculated for the two systems.

Date coveredsecenergy consumption
HFC SystemDecember 2009 to January 2015206 kWh/m3/year2,020 kWh/day
DX NH3 SystemOctober 2018 to January 201988 kWh/m3/year1,260 kWh/day

Therefore, there was a recorded SEC reduction of around 57% by replacing the industry standard HFC based systems with a central, low charge NH3 plant in this study. A number of other factors were considered in the study such as the economics of the system’s cost to the end user, as well as considerations for ambient temperatures, building fabric, subfloor heating, etc.

For the full case study, refer to “Real energy efficiency of DX NH3 versus HFC”, presented by Stefan S. Jensen of Scantec Refrigeration Technologies at the 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in August of 2019.

Supermarkets

The term “supermarkets” is often used as a generic term referring to the category of commercial retail businesses where food is the majority of the product mix.

These stores are generally accepted to fall into four major categories characterized mainly by the size of the sales area in square meters (m2).

Hypermarkets5,000 m2 to over 10,000 m2
Superstores1,400 m2 to 5,000 m2
Supermarkets (mid-range stores)280 m2 to 1,400 m2
Convenience storesless than 280 m2
Source: Energy Consumption And Conservation In Food Retailing, S.A. Tassou, Y. Ge, A. Hadawey, D. Marriott, 2010

It is generally acknowledged that refrigeration accounts for 30-60% of a supermarket’s energy bill, resulting in the highest energy consumption related to other systems (See: Minetto S., Marinetti S., Saglia P., Masson N., Rossetti A., International Journal of Refrigeration, 2017).

Several industry studies and surveys from Europe and the United States generally correspond to the following typical breakdown of energy use of a supermarket shown below (See: DTE Energy, 2015 and Benchmarking Analysis of Energy Consumption in Supermarkets, 2016).

Electricity

Refrigeration: 60%
Lighting: 18%
HVAC: 15%
Other: 7%

Natural Gas

Heating: 56%
Water heating: 22%
Bakery: 22%

Electrical Energy Intensity

As expected, energy consumption of supermarkets can very widely depending on a number of factors including business practices, store format, product mix, shopping activity, ambient temperatures, indoor temperatures and humidity conditions, the equipment used for in-store food preparation, preservation and display, etc.

Studies have also shown that a large amount of variability exists in the energy use of these stores even within the same store category and the same retail food chain.

The most widely used performance indicator for energy use in the supermarket sector is “electrical energy intensity”. This metric is defined as the amount of electrical energy consumed per year per square meter of sales area (kWh/m2/year).

A number of studies have been conducted in Europe and the US benchmarking energy use for various supermarkets in the regions. One study conducted in the UK in 2011 concluded: “The electrical energy consumption can vary widely from around 700 kWh/m2 sales area per year in hypermarkets to over 2000 kWh/m2 sales area per year in convenience stores.”

The following is a summary of key energy use benchmarks found from that study (energy consumption data sourced from a sample of 2,570 retail food stores from a number of major retail food chains in the UK in 2010):

store typesample sizesales area (m2)AVERAGE ELECTRICAL ENERGY INTENSITY
Convenience stores64080-280 m21,480 kWh/m2/year
Medium sized stores1,360280-1,400 m21,500-850 kWh/m2/year
Large sized stores1505,000-10,000 m2600-220 kWh/m2/year
Source: Energy Consumption And Conservation In Food Retailing, S.A. Tassou, Y. Ge, A. Hadawey, D. Marriott, 2010

In another study conducted in 2013 on yearly energy consumption collected from 150 supermarkets in the Netherlands (all from the same supermarket chain), the resulting regression coefficient of yearly electrical energy consumption on sales area was 407.45 kWh/m2/year.

Chart analyzing the yearly energy consumption of 100 supermarkets from the Netherlands in 2013, IEA Heat Pump Conference 2017
Chart analyzing the yearly energy consumption of 100 supermarkets from the Netherlands in 2013, IEA Heat Pump Conference 2017

In another report conducted by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme (K-CEP) in 2018, assembled by shecco, analyzing energy efficiency guidelines for HFC-free commercial refrigeration, the following average annual electrical energy intensity figures for supermarkets were observed.

countryAVERAGE SUPERMARKET ELECTRICAL ENERGY INTENSITYsource
Sweden400 kWh/m2/yearEnergimydegheten, 2010
Norway460 kWh/m2/yearNVE, 2014
USA600 kWh/m2/yearEnergy Star, 2014
UK1,000 kWh/m2/yearTassou et al., 2011
Spain327 kWh/m2/yearCIRCE, 2015
Average electrical energy intensity for supermarkets in different regions from the “Technical report on energy efficiency in HFC-free supermarket refrigeration”, shecco, Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme, 2018

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 1998, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol initiative resulting in what is now internationally recognized as one of the main standards for corporate carbon reporting.

To date, a number of the world’s largest companies in the food retail sector have adopted this protocol as a standard for calculating and reporting their yearly carbon footprints.

Broadly, under the protocol, emissions fall into one of three categories or “scopes”.

Scope 1Direct emissions from owned or controlled sources
Scope 2Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy
Scope 3All indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions.
Source: “The Greenhouse Gas Protocol”, A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, World Resources Institute, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Revised Edition March 2004

Philippine GHG Inventory and Reporting Protocol

The Philippines Climate Change Commission, which reports to the Office of the President, published its “Philippine GHG Inventory and Reporting Protocol: Manual for Business” in 2017.

The report states that in order “to prevent the double counting of emissions and compliance with international standards, this reporting protocol harmonizes the best features of available standards worldwide.”

It is largely based on “The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard” document referenced above. As an example, several of the Philippines largest conglomerates have adopted the reporting protocol into their sustainability reports. Two examples are listed below.

Ayala Corporation

Ayala Corporation is the oldest and one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines with core interests in real estate, banking, telecommunications, and power.

Scope 1 Direct Energy EmissionsThermal Power Generation
Generation Set
Company-owned Vehicles
1.6 million t-CO2e
Scope 2 Indirect Energy EmissionsElectricity Function of Facilities0.43 million t-CO2e
Scope 3 Other Indirect EmissionsOutsourced Vehicles
Electricity Consumption of Tenants
Desludging of Septic Tanks
Armored Cars
2.6 million t-CO2e
Ayala Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2018 from Ayala Corporation’s website

SM Investments Corporation

SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) is a Philippine conglomerate with interests in shopping mall development and management, retail, real estate development, banking, and tourism. SM Markets, a chain of food retail stores consisting of SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket and Savemore are a subsidiary under SMIC.

In SM Investments Corporation’s 2017 Sustainability Report, the company indicates that it calculates its GHG emissions “using the equity share approach according to The Greenhouse Gas Protocol”. An excerpt of figures provided is shown below:

Scope 1 Direct GHG Emissions6,922 t-CO2e
Scope 2 Indirect GHG Emissions481,081 t-CO2e
Scope 3 Other Indirect GHG Emissions3.1 million t-CO2e
SM Investments Corporation 2017 GHG Emissions Summary from the SM Investments Corporation website

International GHG Emissions Benchmarks

Several examples of leading multinational food retailers which have adopted the Greenhouse Gas Protocol are listed below:

Metro AG

Metro AG is a large German Multinational Food Retailer. It uses the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to measure key performance indicators for its facilities in terms of energy use and carbon emissions. Below is an excerpt from its 2017/18 Corporate Responsibility Report.

IN T CO2 (CO2 EQUIVALENTS)REFERENCE YEAR 20112015/162016/172017/18
Scope 1 – direct greenhouse gas emissions836,828712,692705,377621,139
Scope 2 – indirect greenhouse gas emissions1,487,4201,145,9531,108,9501,106,026
Scope 3 – other indirect greenhouse gas emissions4,234,5123,294,7003,157,2233,614,024
Total greenhouse gas emissions6,558,7605,153,3454,971,5515,341,189

Definitions: Level of all main emissions by Scope in line with the methodology of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

The following sources of emissions are included:

  • Scope 1 = fuel oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), refrigerant losses from commercial cooling, refrigerant losses from air-conditioning, fuel consumption of company cars and the group’s own logistics fleet, emergency power generators
  • Scope 2 = electricity consumption, district heating and cooling
  • Scope 3 = external logistics for the transport of goods to our stores and warehouses, in-house paper consumption for advertising and office purposes, business trips, goods and services purchased for own use, capital assets, upstream chain emissions and grid losses for all direct and indirect energy sources, waste, employee commutes, leased assets

Costco

US-based wholesaler Costco tracks its carbon emissions according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Reporting Standard.

The company’s goal is to “to work toward maintaining our carbon footprint growth to less than our company sales growth.” This goal was achieved in its 2018 reporting period as summarized by the company below:

Sales (in thousands)tCO2e (tons of carbon dioxide emitted)tCO2e % Increase (over prior year)Sales % Increase (over prior year)
Total in Covered Regions in 2016$109,207,1042,250,90613.4%2.1%
Total in Covered Regions in 2017$131,652,6512,358,6294.5%12.31%
Total in Covered Regions in 2018$145,885,3152,508,4196.5%10.8%
Costco’s Carbon Footprint Summary (2016-2018) from Costco’s website

This includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 as defined by the company below:

Definitions

  • Scope 1: Direct Emissions include all natural gas and propane provided to owned or controlled facilities used for heating or food processing and manufacturing. Included in direct emissions are diesel used by Costco’s truck fleets, refrigerated trailers and yard haulers; propane to power mobile floor scrubbers; jet fuel for corporate jets and fugitive emissions from leakage of HFC refrigerants from refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
  • Scope 2: Indirect Emissions are for purchased electricity and are the largest component of GHG emissions.

Family Mart

Japanese convenience store operator Family Mart measures its carbon emissions according to Japan’s Ministry of Environment guidelines, which are also based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

The following is a summary of the company’s 2017 emissions according to its website.

Definitions

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions of greenhouse gases, such as through the use of fuel in the business’ own operations (e.g.: gasoline used by company-owned vehicles)
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions of greenhouse gases, such as through the use of electricity provided by other companies (e.g.: electricity used at the head office, offices, and stores)
  • Scope 3: Indirect emissions of greenhouse gases as a result of business activities that do not fall under Scopes 1 or 2
ScopecategoryCO2 EMISSIONS QUANTITY (T-CO2)PERCENT
Scope 148,6850.65%
Scope 21,398,60418.63%
Scope 36,055,75780.72%
Category 1 Procured products and services5,483,494
Category 2 Capital goods250,511
Category 3 Fuel and energy related activities not included in Scopes 1 and 297,793
Category 4 Shipping and delivery (upstream)118,720
Category 5 Waste from operations60,899
Category 6 Business trips2,090
Category 7 Employee commutes784
Category 11 Use of sold products330
Category 12 Disposal of sold products41,136
Total7,502,046100%

In addition, Family Mart also employs third party verification of its results. Verification is conducted by the Japan Audit and Certification Organization for Environment and Quality (JACO). Below are screenshot examples of its independent verification reports for its 2017 emissions.

Examples of Family Mart's independent verification reports for its 2017 emissions by the Japan Audit and Certification Organization for Environment and Quality
Examples of Family Mart’s independent verification reports for its 2017 emissions by the Japan Audit and Certification Organization for Environment and Quality

Download the full “Evaluating the Philippines’ Food Cold Chain, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact | Research Report – June 2020″ here.

Part 1: Current State of the Philippines’ Cold Chain

Japan Willing to Support Philippines in Cold Chain Logistics Standards and Certification

On September 13, 2021, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism held an online webinar entitled “Cold Chain Logistics Workshop between the Philippines and Japan”.

In the webinar, it discussed the opportunity for the Philippines to adopt recently developed cold chain logistics standards developed by ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and Japan.

In November 2018, Japan and ASEAN created the “ASEAN-Japan Guidelines on Cold Chain Logistics”, an overall guideline on the proper handling of temperature sensitive food parcels and operation of refrigerated vehicles.

The guidelines are related to ISO standard ISO 23412:2020. The Japan Standard Association in turn developed its own associated standard JSA-S1004 in June 2020.

“JSA-S1004 specifies the requirements for low temperature storage and transport services in [Business to Business] cold chain logistics services,” the presentation states.

These requirements include such items as:

  • Cargo check upon acceptance and loading (for warehouse and vehicle operators)
  • Temperature monitoring (for warehouse and vehicle operators)
  • Safety measures (for warehouse and vehicle operators)
  • Safe driving training (for vehicle operators)

Japan Willing to Support Philippines

In its presentation, Japan said that “as a next step, ASEAN member states are encouraged to develop their national standards for cold chain logistics services” and that “Japan is willing to support the Philippines on this matter”.

In addition, Japan encouraged the Philippines and other ASEAN members to develop complementary certification audit guidelines “as a reference so that certification bodies in each country can conduct appropriate and fair certification audits”.

Finally, Japan stressed the benefits that standardization presents for all stakeholders of the cold chain industry.

For logistics service providers, it improves the quality of their services and increases their reliability to customers.

For shippers and manufacturers, standardization increases their market access and enables them to outsource logistics at lower cost but with the same quality.

For consumers, it ensures more reliable services and for the government, it contributes to efforts on sustainable development goals (SDGs) and food safety.

Standards Key to Enable Adoption of New Technologies

The use of climate-friendly and energy efficient refrigeration equipment in the food cold chain can deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits through reduced food loss and waste, and may contribute to a “green economic recovery”.

This is especially true with the new breed of refrigeration systems that use natural refrigerants, which can catalyze the industry’s transition.

However, effective industry standards, guidelines and certification need to be in place in order to guide this growth and development.

Standards are often viewed as an additional burden to the industry. But on the contrary, it also helps ease concerns and issues regarding the adoption and use of technology.

In this sense, it is a short cut, rather than an impediment, that could fast-track the adoption of new technologies and innovations.

Policy Alignment Needed to Support Low-Carbon Technologies in the Philippines’ Food Cold Chain

The Philippines today is beginning to see unprecedented growth in the adoption of low-carbon technologies for the food cold chain industry.

This is being driven by an acceleration of new ideas and innovation aimed at addressing the climate crisis.

The government should take advantage of this momentum and match it by coming up with policy reforms, targets and updated standards, following this industry’s growth pace.

Continue reading “Policy Alignment Needed to Support Low-Carbon Technologies in the Philippines’ Food Cold Chain”