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Exploring ambient loading of citrus fruit into reefer containers for cooling during marine transport using computational fluid dynamics
Defraeye, T.; Cronjé, P.; Verboven, P.; Opara, U.L.; Nicolai, B. (2015). Exploring ambient loading of citrus fruit into reefer containers for cooling during marine transport using computational fluid dynamics. Postharvest Biology and Technology 108: 91-101. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.postharvbio.2015.06.004
In: Postharvest Biology and Technology. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV: Amsterdam. ISSN 0925-5214; e-ISSN 1873-2356, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Computational fluid dynamics; Package design; Cold chain; Airflowshort-circuits; Vent holes; Convective transfer

Authors  Top 
  • Defraeye, T., more
  • Cronjé, P.
  • Verboven, P., more
  • Opara, U.L.
  • Nicolai, B.

Abstract
    A promising cold-chain protocol is explored as an alternative to the commonly-used forced-air pre-cooling (FAC) of citrus fruit prior to shipping: ambient loading of fruit in reefer containers for cooling during long-haul marine transport. Despite the multiple logistical and economical savings it provides, the potential of "ambient loading" of fruit in reefer containers has been left largely unexplored. The present study targets this practice, but also cooling by vertical airflow in general. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used to identify differences in cooling rate and uniformity between individual boxes at different heights on a pallet and between individual fruit within a single box. Simulations show that low airflow rates, typical for refrigerated containers, do not only induce slower fruit cooling, compared to FAC airflow rates, but also the cooling heterogeneity between different layers of boxes (in height) and between individual fruit in a single box is larger. In addition, the presence of gaps between pallets invokes airflow short-circuiting, leading to highly reduced fruit cooling rates. Finally, strategies for future improvement of the ambient loading protocol are proposed, which in the first place should target faster and more uniform cooling.

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