A revolutionary European program and worldwide research to reduce electricity consumption and food waste by using the sun, magnetism and new technologies.
These initiatives all have one objective in common, and that is cutting down on the energy consumption that is still very high. And that while the current number of one billion refrigerators running in the world today is only expected to grow. In Europe about 30% of the household energy bill is generated by the refrigerator, while that number is more than double in Asia and in America as there refrigerators use more energy. Moreover, the durability and the quality of food preservation should be improved since this, although better than in the past, still fails to stop the amount of irresponsible waste.
Every year 30-40% of the food we buy is thrown away because the temperature inside our fridges is not low enough and because consumers make some serious mistakes when storing food. The most advanced program, Frisbee, was born in Europe in 1992 with the introduction of the energy label that has more than halved the consumption of electricity on the European continent. During four years of research, 11 laboratories, 13 companies, 2 associations and 5 countries were involved.
Frisbee has studied the route in getting ham, fish, apples and ice cream to the consumer. It discovered that the cause of waste is largely due to the refrigerator temperature being over six degrees, which for 70% of food is too high. Three proposals have been made, the first of which requires the creation of a large super chilling compartment, with temperatures ranging from -2 to -1 degrees. The higher energy consumption is offset by moving a substantial portion of frozen foods to this area from the freezer. The second proposal is to use materials that absorb the cold, retaining it for many hours, and the third, in line with the research carried out by General Electric, is to create cold by using magnetic materials rather than with a compressor as is currently done.
For developing countries suffering from frequent power cuts, there is the solar refrigerator, which uses energy coming from solar panels, as is already being done in Africa thanks to a French innovation. Another fridge, developed by MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is already in operation for two years and cools large quantities of water to keep delicate foods cool when there is no electricity. When the electricity comes back on, the refrigerator resumes, ensuring that foods are kept at the correct temperature. Finally, nothing prevents all these innovations from being monitored by mobile phone, by now ubiquitous throughout the world.