IIR Research Priorities

The IIR decided, within the framework of its Strategic Plan, to draw up a list of research priorities for the future. It hopes that these priorities will be a valuable guiding force for decision-makers in the public and private research sectors, and at governmental and corporate levels, in order to fund and promote technology needed to ensure the well-being of humanity and to provide protection for the future. Regrettably, the IIR is not in a position to provide research funding itself. Over a 1-year period, the IIR commissions worked on the definition, separately, then overall, of research priorities making it possible to achieve these objectives. The priorities were initially classified on a per-commission basis, then on a refrigeration-field basis, in order to reflect priorities in each sector. Priorities were also grouped together in overarching themes, given that many research fields are common to several commissions and would benefit from interaction. The research priorities are divided into 7 key themes: 1. Understanding, improvement and optimization of present equipment and systems: although refrigeration technology is in many cases not new, the heat-transfer processes are complex and require better modelling, flow measurement and investigation of interactions. The design of various components used in refrigeration systems can be improved, thus enhancing energy efficiency and reliability. 2. Performance of new energetic systems: refrigeration can be the source of and benefit from new technologies in the fields of superconductivity, liquefaction of gases, cryogenics, nanotechnologies, etc. Less widely used refrigeration systems such as adsorption-absorption systems are attracting interest in today's context of environmental issues to be addressed. Combined use of widely used and recent technologies can give rise to new approaches to optimisation and must be explored. 3. Optimization of the whole chain, including connected installations: the cold chain, from harvest to the consumer's plate, forms a single entity. Improving one link in the cold chain is not enough: an overall approach taking into account overall energy consumption and compliance with the temperatures required in order to preserve foods, for instance, is required. A lot of work remains to be done on overall approaches involving control, measurements and monitoring. 4. Behaviour of refrigerated and frozen live products: in both the medical and food fields, the use of refrigeration must not induce deterioration of the intrinsic quality of the product, even if refrigeration prevents contamination. Biological systems are fragile. The manner in which cells are frozen must be perfectly mastered in the field of preservation of genetic resources or human and animal tissues. In the case of foods, safety, nutritional value and sensory quality must be maintained. 5. Performance of refrigerants: beyond the value of previous work, targeted research on the properties of refrigerants with no ozone-depleting potential and little or no global warming potential (CO2, hydrocarbons…) is now needed in order to encourage their use where the energy efficiency and running costs of the equipment used are competitive. 6. Improvement of the environment: all of the above-mentioned research can contribute to improvement of the environment, to a small or greater extent. However, specific research focused on improvement of energy efficiency, process and refrigerants, safety, systems enabling waste cold and heat recovery, heat-pump systems, thermal storage, recycling of materials and noise abatement, etc. must be conducted in order to address overall environmental issues. 7. Finally, new uses of refrigeration: just improving existing refrigerating systems is not enough. We need to take advantage of the extraordinary modifications refrigeration applications can induce in living and non-living material in order to develop new uses in space technology, medical (new surgical techniques…), preservation of genetic resources, in order to address new needs in terms of materials, health and preservation of biodiversity. You will find the full text of the IIR research priorities on our Web site. Please consult it and publicise this information: we really need more research in the refrigeration area, to address our two great challenges: health and the environment. Full document: http://www.iifiir.org