Doing Cold Better


Doing Cold Better

Click here to view the new report - Cold chains and the demographic dividend - published by Dearman

The report highlights the potential environmental danger of booming global demand for cold.

The environmental challenge caused by booming global demand for cooling could be far greater than previously thought. That is the finding of a new report, by Dearman, the clean cold and power technology company.
The report indicates that due to changing demographics, particularly in Asia, the number of refrigerated vehicles on the road could feasibly reach 15.5 million by 2025, up from less than 3 million in 2013. 


Demand for cooling in all its forms - air conditioning, data, industry, food and medicine - is soaring worldwide.  Growth is nowhere stronger than in rapidly industrialising markets, such as India and China, where investment in cold chains and cooling is booming to service the lifestyles of the fast growing urban middle classes and reduce high levels of post-harvest food loss. 

The global cold chain is expected to grow 13% per year; the rapidly emerging markets in Asia and South America are all seeing 25%+ year-on-year growth. India alone projects it needs to spend more than $15 billion on its cold chain over the next five years. In fact the growth in global demand for all forms of cooling to 2030 could equate to three times the current generating capacity of the UK. 

However, the pollution from cooling is not recognised. As one example, a diesel transport refrigeration unit consumes up to 20% of a refrigerated vehicle’s diesel but can emit up to six times as much the NOx (nitrogen oxides) and 29 times as much the PM (particulate matter) of the truck’s modern engine.  Diesel gensets are the go-to technology to keep air-conditioning and cooling running in emerging nations.

Sustainable and clean cooling is an urgent global challenge and a new, multi-billion pound market. The Cold and Power Campaign is championing a novel, UK-developed technology – liquid air – as an economic and environmental solution for harnessing renewables and wasted energy to deliver clean power and cooling economically.

Independent research suggests the market potential is ~175,000 liquid air engines per annum by 2020 generating net revenues to the UK of ~£710 million, net GVA of ~£130 million, and over 2,000 jobs (equal to hydrogen) if manufactured here.  This could increase to more than 1.2 million liquid air engines produced globally by the mid twenties.

"Most energy policy makers think electricity and transport, the more enlightened think about heat, but only those with true vision and leadership see the importance of cold in the coming decades; full marks to University of Birmingham for recognising this and putting a solid stake in the ground around which to rally for cold and power."

Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment, Institution of Mechanical Engineers






Why start doing cold better? Global challenges




  •  30% - 50% of global food production is wasted globally, while one in eight people in the world go to bed hungry every night

  • The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) estimates that more than 200 million tonnes of perishable foods could be preserved if developing countries had the same level of cold chain as found in the developed world

Growing Population & Changing Demographics

  • Demand for food is projected to grow by 40% by 2030. According to current trends, India would be able to meet only 59% of its total food demand; in East Asia, only 67% of the food demand will be met from within the region

  • The world's urban population is expected to exceed six billion 2045, from approximately 3.5 billion today

  • The global middle class is expected to grow to 4.9 billion by 2030 from 1.8 billion today. The Indian middle class is expected to swell to 475 million – larger than the combined populations of the US, Japan, and the UK

  • The growth in global demand for all forms of cooling to 2030 could equate to three times the current generating capacity of the UK

  • The world could require 12-14 million new TRUs (transport refrigeration units) to meet aspirational demands of new middle classes

  • India alone projects it needs to spend more than $15 billion on its cold chain over the next five years

cold food chain

Water & Resources

  • Food wastage consumes 250km3 of water – three times the volume of Lake Geneva

  • 23% of fertiliser is used on food which is subsequently wasted

  • Food wastage occupies 1.4 billion hectares of land – almost 30% of the world’s agricultural land


  • Food waste accounts for 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon emissions – the third biggest emitter after the USA and China

  • Transport refrigeration units consume up to 20% of a truck’s diesel and emit much higher levels of harmful pollutants than a truck engine – up to 29 times as much PM (particulate matter) and 6 times as much NOx (nitrogen oxides)

  • If trends in refrigerant usage continue, it has been projected that HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) would be responsible for nearly half of all global greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050





Toby Peters

Founding Director,
Dearman Engine Company

"'Clean cold’ is the new, £multi-billion market; the UK could be a world leader if we can make a strong shop-window."

Jon Trembley

COE Lead Cryogenic Applications, Air Products

“Utilisation of liquid nitrogen for both refrigeration and power is an exciting concept, especially for transport applications. The technology can provide not only potential savings in fuel consumption and emissions, but also better cold chain temperature control
and stability.”

Professor Richard Williams

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and
Head of Engineering and
Physical Sciences,
University of Birmingham

“While the idea of a ‘liquid air economy’ is no silver bullet, it does offer a unique combination of energy, environmental and economic benefits. What’s more, since liquid air is based on existing components and supply chains, a liquid air economy could develop far sooner than some other approaches.”

Professor Neville Jackson

Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Ricardo

“Liquid air offers significant potential benefits as a future energy vector, both for use in light duty propulsion and as an enabler for other promising low-carbon powertrain innovations, particularly waste heat harvesting.”

Pat Maughan

Managing Director,
Hubbard Products Ltd

“Near term future cold chain requirements cannot be achieved with existing available components and technologies. Hubbard has enthusiastically engaged with Dearman to jointly develop a transport refrigeration system that will be the paradigm shift to economic clean cold on the highway.”