EcoChill: good news for the planet, the budget and kiwifruit

EcoChill: good news for the planet, the budget and kiwifruit

Refrigeration specialists EcoChill reject synthetic gases opting instead for old-school cooling techniques that are better for the environment, but with strict modern safety and engineering practices.

Kiwi-owned and operated EcoChill provides refrigeration solutions to supermarkets, coolstores and processing plants. The systems use natural gases, such as carbon dioxide and propane, and water as the coolants. They also require less energy to run, looking good on the bottom-line as well as doing right by the environment.

Owner of EcoChill Matthew Darby says that the use of natural gases in refrigeration is not new, “in fact they were the first gases to be used. It’s just that somehow people thought they could do a better job than nature and started making complex chemical synthetic gases to replace them.”

The systems are already installed in several locations throughout New Zealand and the numbers are looking good:

EcoChill completed a refurbishment of a large produce distribution and storage customer who reported a 21 percent reduction in power consumption.

A kiwifruit grower who fitted out two coolstores with EcoChill reported 20 percent less power consumption in the new rooms compared to the existing ones still in operation.

“[The grower] has also seen the product lose no weight while in cold storage in the EcoChill rooms, which means the fruit is in better condition after six week’s of storage than the fruit in the old rooms,” says Darby.

Another benefit to EcoChill customers is the opportunity to employ heat recovery technology:

One supermarket now heats “all of their water via the EcoChill system using no electricity whatsoever for hot water.”

EcoChill is the result of a merger in 2006 between Darby’s family business Technicool and sister company Arneg. EcoChill now employs 32 people and is based in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch.