This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Liquid crystal" is a substance that exhibits both solid and liquid characteristics. By applying the technology for this material, which is widely used as a display device, Sharp has developed an "appropriate temperature cool storage agent" that keeps the temperature at 12 degrees Celsius during transportation of fruits and vegetables. Pal System, a food delivery service, has adopted this device and started full-scale operation for deliveries on July 20.
This thermal storage agent is so-called "ice that won't melt until 12 degrees Celsius".
Conventionally, the cold storage agent used by Pal System for the transportation of foodstuffs, both for refrigerated products and fruit and vegetables, has a melting point of -1°C to 1°C. If fruit and vegetables come in direct contact with the cold storage agent, they could be damaged by freezing or discoloration due to low-temperature damage. For this reason, a cushioning material had to be inserted between the cold storage agent and the fruit and vegetables.
On the other hand, this appropriate temperature cool storage agent is based on technology that prevents the liquid crystals in LCD screen from becoming individualized on ski slopes in the middle of winter and from becoming liquid on the beach in the middle of summer. It can be used as ice that begins to melt at various temperatures, as a cooling agent.
Specifically, it can be stored in the state of ice that begins to melt between -24 and 28 degrees Celsius, and the ice used in this project melts at 12 degrees Celsius and changes from a solid to a liquid state. At that time, it absorbs the heat of the surrounding environment to keep not only the material, but also the surrounding air and objects in contact with it at a specific temperature.
In addition, its high melting point of 12 degrees Celsius makes it possible to reduce the time to freezing. The freezing time for 0°C cold storage agent is reduced from 18 hours to 12 hours, which Pal-System estimates will reduce the amount of electricity needed to freeze the cold storage agent by about 40%. In addition, sorting of fruits and vegetables, which used to be done at night, can now be done in the morning of the same day, which will lead to a reduction in labor shortages and a change in the way of working.
In addition to the introduction of Sharp's appropriate temperature cool storage agent, Pal System has also replaced the Styrofoam used for cold storage with highly insulated foam, which has been gradually expanded as a new delivery system.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.