Cold Stores for Africa

Cold Stores for Africa

Perhaps motivated by the shockingly high percentage of fresh produce that never makes it to the table in developing economies, a number of companies are now offering “instant” freezer stores, some of which can be powered by PV panels.


Mostly they consist of new or recycled insulated freezer containers coupled to PV panels. This sounds good, and can work although I have understood that refrigerated containers can only maintain temperatures of around minus 18 degrees C if the doors are kept closed and any incoming product has a core temp of at least minus 20 degrees C. Moreover, the useable storage volume of a container is not great, especially when one needs access to multiple product lines and maneuvering palletized product inside them is just about impossible.



With these constraints in mind, Barpro Storage has designed a freezer store with the utilization of the freezer volume as the prime objective. The freezer size is 14.200 meters long by 12.022 meters wide and 8.00 meters high and uses the new Kingspan Modularis system of freezer store construction that does not require an external steel structure.


The Insulated panels are made from Kingspan’s microcell quadcore material which gives industry leading thermal performance and can be erected on suitable foundations in as little as three days. The panels, at 200mms thick have a heat flow of 5 watts per meter 2 at a heat difference of 55 Degrees Celsius.


Kingspan panel


The R2845 refrigeration system supplied by Cape Town based MRE Refrigeration incorporates 3x 25KWR compressors with air cooled condenser units which can take 30 tons of product per day arriving with a core temperature of minus 10 degrees C, while maintaining an air temperature of Minus 20 degrees C. Maximum power usage is 140 amps.


Lighting, supplied by PM Systems, uses sliding 250 watt metal halide lights each with their own plug for easy servicing. These lights come on only in the mobile racking’s open aisle giving just over 220 Lux at ground level. In the gangway there are 2 100watt LED fittings also with easy access fittings. Maximum. Power usage is 4 amps.


The final wearing floor supplied by Melt Wahl Concrete Services is designed to take the increased rail point loads imposed by mobile racking and includes cast in 150mms thick kerbs. While this would take just over a week to complete, it will need a month to cure and another 2 weeks to bring to temperature. Every installation would require an initial engineering visit to assess the ground conditions.

Storage Solution

The Storax mobile racking supplied by Barpro Storage, gives a storage capacity of 208 pallets nominal each of 1000kgs gross. Every pallet position can be accessed within 1.5 minutes which makes Storax especially suitable for the storage of multiple products. Maximum power usage is 4 amps. An alternative racking solution is the Storax Ranger, which increases the storage capacity to 280 pallets but reduces accessibility to every pallet location.

While a chilled anteroom or loading bay is advisable so as to reduce the levels of warm humid air entering the freezer chamber either together with or as an alternative to a high-speed door.

Assuming the civil work is completed and ready to take the Kingspan panels the freezer room could be erected and operational in 8 weeks. The order period to get the components on site would vary depending on location but should be within 16 weeks, reduced for a location in the Cape Town area. Cost wise in Cape Town one could budget on R3.5M complete $292,000, but excluding the civil works. The cost of installations elsewhere would depend on location.

The team is already working on costing a 400 pallet store designed primarily for frozen chicken.

Contact James if you have any comments or ideas or on 021 552 9190

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