Wall’s develops ultra-efficient ice cream freezers

Scientists at Unilever have announced the development of a new ice cream freezer cabinet capable of a 70% energy reduction for retailers worldwide.

Unilever developed the freezer for its Wall’s ice cream brands and it plans to use the new design to replace current models that already deliver a 50% energy reduction compared to a 2008 baseline.

The energy efficiency of the new cabinet will make it more environmentally friendly and will also pass on energy savings to retailers.

Unilever’s chief sustainability officer Jeff Seabright said: “Thanks to the radical approach of our scientists, Wall’s ice cream cabinets across the world are driving down energy use while driving up design and innovation standards.

“As the market-leader in ice cream and cabinet refrigeration, the size of the reductions announced coupled with our scale allows us to make a positive difference in reducing environmental impact.”

Unilever scientists estimate that the energy saved from installing the new, efficient freezers worldwide would equate to removing more than half a million cars from the road.

Leading the pack

The continued progress in Wall’s freezer technology comes after the company made cabinet energy reductions of 30% in 2011 and up to 50% in 2014. The 50% reduction was achieved through improved insulation, high efficiency compressors and LED lighting. Unilever’s future research on freezer technology includes the possibility of solar-powered cabinets for selling ice cream.

Unilever is also part of an industry-wide drive to phase out hydro-flourocarbon refrigerants by 2015 as part of the Consumer Goods Forum.

Research and development vice president for ice cream Andy Sztehlo said: “We lead the pack when it comes to ice cream cabinet technology. Starting in 2004, we have undergone a journey of continuous improvement, developing our science and technology to create what by some distance is the world’s most efficient ice cream cabinet.”

Last month, edie took a tour of Ben & Jerry’s factory in the Netherland’s to see its new biodigestor. Ben & Jerry’s, which is part of Unilever, operates a Willy Wonka-esque biodigester – ‘The Chunkinator’ – which provides 50% of its Hellendorn factory’s power from waste ice cream and wastewater.

Take a look behind the scenes of the new biodigester with an image gallery from edie’s recent visit to the Ben & Jerry’s factory.

Matt Field

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