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Starfrost goes back to the future with CO2 freezing technology.

EQUIPMENT specialist Starfrost has developed a revolutionary freezing system for seafood products that could previously only be processed using nitrogen.

In conjunction with parent company Star Refrigeration, Starfrost's equipment development team has pioneered two types of freezing system using carbon dioxide (CO2) technology. Both CO2 systems offer an alternative freezing solution for seafood such as shrimp, once viewed as a 'nitrogen only' product.

Starfrost has developed two pilot systems that combine CO2 refrigerant with low temperature, high velocity freezing techniques. Both these noncryogenic mechanical systems operate at lower temperatures than traditional -32C freezers. The CO2 systems offer food processors an environmentally friendly nitrogen-free solution, with low running costs.

Starfrost has developed a low temperature, high velocity impingement tunnel freezer using CO2 technology, as well as a contact freezing system. The contact freezer features an overhead air system, with the product placed in contact with a smooth metal plate containing refrigerated pipes. Tests have shown that soft and wet seafood products such as scallops are highly suited to the contact system's rapid freezing process, which leaves no belt marks.

Starfrost Director Dave Pearson says: "Our pilot non-nitrogen systems have already been successfully tested on products such as large shell-on shrimp. Shellfish requires extremely fast freezing. In the past, cryogenic freezing with nitrogen was the only answer. A standard mechanical freezer is net ideal for these products as it can draw in moisture at very low temperatures. Our low temperature, high velocity CO2 system can easily match the quality results of nitrogen, without the use of ammonia in the factory space."

He adds: "Our product trials have even shown a better distribution of freezing across the entire product. With our new CO2 systems the desired temperature at product cores can be quickly achieved without extreme over-freezing at the edges."

Starfrost is keen to work with food processors that are interested in a freezing system that also provides "free" hot water to meet factory requirements.

Dave Pearson says: "One further advantage with today's CO2 freezing technology is the potential for the operator to recover waste heat and energy from the system. This by-product of the freezing process can be collected as high grade hot water, suitable for cooking, cleaning or process heating on site. It could even be sold to neighbouring factories."

Thanks to the latest CO2 refrigeration technology, Starfrost believes high cost nitrogen freezers could soon be a thing of the past for the food processing industry. CO2 refrigeration technology has already been successfully applied to plate freezing, cold storage, retail chill cabinets and high density blade server cooling.

Dave Pearson adds: "Our industry has come a long way since the early mechanical refrigeration systems of the late 19th Century. From the CO2 perspective however, we are almost back to where we started with an environmentally friendly natural refrigerant."

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Title Annotation:equipment & services
Publication:Frozen & Chilled Foods
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:467
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