Les Echos – COLDINNOV: cooling the climate with fire

Article first published in Les Echos on 12/10/2018

By Didier Julienne

A major French innovation in refrigeration production reduces global warming and increases global food security.

Imagine making industrial or domestic refrigeration without compressors or liquid-gas absorption, i.e. without hydrofluorocarbons (refrigerant gases attacking the ozone layer), without expensive refrigerant oils, without the mechanical wear and tear of a compressor — therefore without maintenance or spare parts —, without the heat released or the unsustainable noise at night from compressors, without African electricity’s generators — therefore without diesel — etc.

These savings and this well-being would trigger a revolution in the profitability of all industrial sectors consuming refrigeration. Here, everyone immediately thinks of the cold chain — the plane or cargo leaving the producer at the other end of the planet, the refrigerated truck and the refrigerated cabinet of the supermarket — but cold is also essential for printing presses, health, automobiles, the entire food industry, data centers, air conditioning for processes, mining industry for deep mining refrigeration, domestic or comfort air conditioning, etc.

While refrigeration accounts for 16 % of French electricity consumption, in the United States, where electricity is mainly carbon based, the share of electricity consumption solely due to air conditioning (excluding domestic, commercial, industrial and process refrigeration) is 14 % (and rises to 21 % in the south of the country); as for China, where 71 % of electricity production is linked to coal and gas, the air conditioning market exploded in 2017.

In total, market for refrigeration industry (compressor or liquid gas absorption) is estimated to nearly $100 billion in 2018, and is growing by nearly 10%.

It is this market that a future French unicorn will revolutionize.

Its process eliminates the consumption of materials and natural resources, and. in addition, reduces electricity consumption by 70 %. It is an innovation that reduces global warming.

COLDINNOV (www.coldinnov.com) is a company with roots in Angers (Christian Cesbron, Jean Louis Juillard) and Toulouse (Lionel Bataille). Its process, a patented, reversible NH3 solid gas thermochemical reactor, operates in a closed circuit and requires no maintenance, no additives, no hydrocarbons, no consumables, no harmful gases, etc.

The COLDINNOV reactor produces cold from a waste heat source. This fatal heat is that of a machine, an internal combustion engine (car. plane, boat…), a boiler, a generator, a fuel cell (hydrogen), an incineration process, the natural heat of the earth in mining tunnels. It also comes from renewable energies such as thermal solar or biomass.

Because the COLDINNOV machine knows how to refrigerate the industrial process of a factory in France, fruits and vegetables on the edge of the field in subtropical regions or even the galleries of a mine in the United States or Africa, it is a technological advance equivalent to the upheaval created by digital photography on silver.

In addition, because the COLDINNOV reactor is integrated into the industrial processes, this embedding leads to significant productivity gains.

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the COLDINNOV machine is level 6 on a scale of 1 to 9. It is therefore very advanced, and will exceed 7 during the quarter since a first machine will be installed in a factory in France. That customer’s ROI will be two years or less, thanks in particular to the electricity savings and productivity gains already identified. Those that are still hidden are not counted. Here the fertility of the unexpected far exceeds our imaginations, and it also works for the savings generated by the COLDINNOV reactor.

It’s TRL evolving at high speed towards 9, with a fundraising of 5 to 10 million euros COLDINNOV and its industrial partners will launch into their first world markets: industrial and agri-food processes. The company will also reach Africa where 40% of the crops are lost due to the lack of cold storage. Photovoltaics, coupled with the COLDINNOV machine, will eliminate this great waste. Here the process is radically in line with Environmental, Social and Governance factors.

Finally, immediately afterwards, the company will focus on the domestic and tertiary markets.

The COLDINNOV reactor has been the major innovation since the beginning of industrial refrigeration. It combines energy saving, intelligent energy transition, food safety, environmental and ozone layer protection.

In short, COLDINNOV uses natural or anthropogenic heat to reduce global warming, and this from now on.