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Food refrigeration: what is the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and how might emissions be reduced?

Froid dans l'agroalimentaire : quelle est la contribution aux émissions des gaz à effet de serre et comment pourrait-on en réduire les émissions ?

Auteurs : GARNETT T.

Type de monographie : Ouvrage


This publication is a FCRN working paper (see also this Bulletin, reference 2010-1701). For many foods, refrigeration is a feature of almost every stage in the supply chain. The paper looks at what this means in terms of refrigeration's contribution to UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, at how this reliance on refrigeration has come about and what the consequences might be as regards future trends and associated emissions. It looks at how we might be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food refrigeration both by improving the greenhouse gas efficiency of the equipment itself and, as a culture, by reducing our dependence on the cold chain. Refrigeration creates greenhouse gases both because of the energy used to operate the equipment and because of the inherent GWP of the refrigerant gases. Roughly speaking we estimate that refrigeration associated with the food that we eat accounts for about 3-3.5% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. Figures for the refrigeration at the food manufacturing, retailing and domestic stages are available and total about 2.4% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. An additional half to one percent is added here to take into account the hidden 'embedded' energy of foods (such as meat, fruit and vegetables) that are grown or manufactured abroad and imported, together with the additional energy used by mobile refrigeration units while food is being transported within the UK. The report can be downloaded from: www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrnPublications/publications/PDFs/Refrigeration_paper_2007.pdf.