Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?
Highlighting research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes
Part of Today in the Lab - Tomorrow in Energy?
IEA (2021), High-performance transport materials for thermally sensitive vaccines, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/articles/high-performance-transport-materials-for-thermally-sensitive-vaccines
What is the aim of this project?
The aim of the coCO2vac project is to develop cold storage materials, known as phase change materials (PCM), for storage and transport of COVID-19 vaccines and other pharmaceuticals at -70 °C to -60 °C. Aqueous salt solutions that release heat when they freeze and take up heat when they melt are investigated as PCM. Producing such materials is more energy-efficient than using dry ice. Research and development of PCM requires identifying and investigating potentially usable PCM on a laboratory scale, and carrying out both application-oriented tests of the PCM in cold packs and trials of PCM production on a pilot plant scale.
How would the project be explained to a high school student?
Some COVID-19 vaccines need to be stored at -70 °C to -60 °C to remain effective. This poses a major transport challenge as these vaccines have to be distributed worldwide. Today, dry ice (carbon dioxide) is used to keep vaccines cold.
Instead of dry ice, special transport containers with PCM could be used keep vaccines cold. PCM are reusable and can repeatedly melt and solidify to release and store cold. PCM cold packs can be frozen with special refrigeration machines that are more energy-efficient than the machines that produce dry ice.
How does the project help to achieve climate and energy goals?
What government policies could advance this project?
Expected project duration
About the Energy Storage TCP
Established in 1978, the Energy Storage TCP facilitates research, development, implementation and integration of energy storage technologies to optimise the energy efficiency of all kinds of energy systems and enable the increasing use of renewable energy. The Energy Storage TCP enables high-level co-ordination in research, development, dissemination and market deployment of energy storage solutions.
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