Design Essentials for Refrigerated Storage Facilities
|Publication Date:||1 January 2005|
Food preservation, in which perishable foodstuffs are stored in controlled environments to maximize their shelf life, encompasses more than two-thirds of refrigerated storage. Although "the colder, the better" is widely accepted as a method for retarding microbial, physiological, and chemical changes in food, each commodity requires unique temperature and humidity conditions for maximum shelf life and product quality retention, for which accurate technical data as well as efficient design methods, operation, and maintenance are needed.
Annual consumption of frozen food worldwide amounts to more than 30 million tons (27 million metric tons) per year, with a growth rate of over 50% for the past decade. The amount of chilled food is about 10 to 12 times greater than the supply of frozen products, making a total volume of refrigerated food of some 350 million tons (318 million metric tons) per year (Garone and Clasbey 2000). As this trend continues and spreads into developing countries, there will be a great demand for modern refrigerated warehousing design techniques as well as efficient refrigeration system design practices.
A refrigerated storage facility is any building or section of a building that achieves controlled storage conditions using thermal insulation and refrigeration equipment. Such facilities can usually be classified into two groups: (1) coolers with commodities stored at temperatures usually above 32°F (0°C) and, (2) freezers or low-temperature rooms operating below 32°F (0°C). They can also be classified into small, intermediate, and large storage rooms, ranging from small rooms utilizing prepackaged refrigerator units to mammoth cold storage cooler/freezer warehouses. Currently, footprints of 300,000 ft2 (28,000 m2) and capacities of millions of cubic feet (tens of thousands of cubic meters) and larger are not uncommon. In most cases, the large and moderate sized cold storage warehouses are designed by either a specialist engineer or a design contractor, for whom this design guide is intended to be a quick reference.