Sustainable Cold Chains Crucial for Africa, Says Danfoss

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Danfoss urges investment in energy-efficient cold chains to curb food loss, particularly across the African continent, and beyond.

Engineering giant Danfoss is calling for more sustainable, energy-efficient cold chains in Africa to combat food waste and promote energy savings. With significant food loss due to inadequate refrigeration, the need for improved infrastructure is clear.

Globally, 14% of food is lost because of ineffective refrigeration, according to the UN Environment Programme. This, it says, is enough to feed a billion people.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the situation is even more dire, with up to 40% of food lost between farms and markets, two-thirds of this occurring in the first mile. This highlights the urgent need for investment in cold chain infrastructure to save resources and protect the environment.

The Need for Cooling in Africa

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) ninth annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency — held recently in Nairobi, Kenya — underscored the importance of global action on energy efficiency.

The conference emphasised that increasing temperatures, population growth, urbanisation, and rising incomes are driving a greater need for cooling.

The first-ever Global Cooling Watch Report, launched at COP28, predicts that cooling demand could triple by 2050, potentially doubling greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to more than the total annual greenhouse gas emissions produced by the US today.

However, the report also indicates that enhancing efficiency in cold chains and refrigeration through minimum energy performance standards and passive cooling can deliver 30% of the required energy savings by 2050. This large energy saving is possible because refrigeration operates 24 hours a day, year-round, making it a critical area for efficiency improvements.

Near-zero emission cooling
Astrid Mozes, President of Regions at Danfoss, highlighted the potential for near-zero emission cooling.

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According to her, “The good news is that near-zero emission cooling is possible. In fact, emissions in 2050 could be cut by 97% with readily available technology including state-of-the-art energy efficiency.

Astrid Mozes, President of Regions at Danfoss
“Kenya is one country where sustainable business models and financing solutions are key to delivering sustainable and reliable cold chains.”

Kenya’s approach serves as a model for other regions seeking to improve their cold chain infrastructure.

Danfoss Initiatives in Africa

Danfoss is actively working to establish secure cold chains in Africa. One notable initiative is the Loss2Value Project, launched in Kenya in collaboration with DanChurchAid, a Danish humanitarian NGO.

This project aims to reduce post-harvest losses by demonstrating the value of energy-efficient cold storage to smallholder farmers and traders. By promoting sustainable business models and financing solutions, the initiative empowers SMEs and farmers to make lasting positive changes.

The Loss2Value Project not only addresses immediate challenges but also contributes to creating a resilient and sustainable agricultural landscape in Kenya. By implementing energy-efficient cold storage, the project helps reduce food loss, save energy, and lower emissions, making it a crucial step toward sustainable development.

Moreover, Danfoss has recently enrolled 12 students from across Africa to gather market data related to food waste in their home countries. These mechanical and electrical engineering specialists spent six months researching food facilities, hotels, and industries in Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, and the Ivory Coast.

The goal is to gain valuable insights that can inform future and existing cold chain projects in Africa.

These efforts by Danfoss underline the critical importance of developing sustainable, energy-efficient cold chains to tackle food waste and achieve significant energy savings. By focusing on regions like Sub-Saharan Africa, where food loss is particularly high, Danfoss aims to make a meaningful impact on both local communities and global food security.

The company’s initiatives showcase how combining technology with sustainable business models can create a positive and lasting change in the agricultural sector, ultimately benefiting farmers, consumers, and the environment.