CONTAINER: The University of Birmingham and CRRC Shijiazhuang have developed a container that uses phase change material in place of traditional refrigeration technology.

The material changes between liquid and solid depending on the temperature, with the phase change absorbing or releasing energy to maintain the interior of the container between 5 and 12°C for up to 120 h. Commercial trials have recently been completed with goods carried for 1 000 km on rail and 35 000 km on road across different climate zones.

Once ‘charged’, the container requires no power supply. The university says that it offers a more stable temperature than a mechanical unit, and is more efficient to operate. Its location and temperature can be monitored remotely in real time

According to the university, several cold chain logistics companies in China have expressed interest in the container.