CO2-water hydrates for rapid chilling / conservation of meat

CO2 hydrates are a crystalline structure of water molecules enclosing CO2 molecules, formed in a stochastic process under appropriate conditions of temperature and pressure. They can be used for cold storage, reducing the charge of the conventional synthetic refrigerants that should be phased out for either legal, safety or environmental reasons. The main advantages of CO2 hydrates are its formation conditions (phase change above 0 ˚C) and the enthalpy of dissolution (about 500 kJ/kg), which is higher than that of water ice (333 kJ/kg). Aiming for more efficient processes, reducing energy consumption, CO2 hydrates are proposed for rapid chilling of meat. Spraying hydrate slurry on fresh slaughtered meat, the thermal energy is very rapidly extracted from it by the dissolution of the hydrates. Besides cooling, the CO2 hydrate has a positive effect on meat preservation, decreasing the dehydration and the spoiling of meat.

The objective of this study is to identify if the quality of the meat product is maintained / improved after contact with the hydrate slurry and the chilling time / cost are significantly improved. Is the process hygienic and does the acid solution kill bacteria without affecting the product taste. At the same time, aspects as hydrate nucleation and growth and hydrate dissociation are being studied both theoretically and experimentally in detail to identify ideal process conditions.

This project is financially supported by the “Koudegroep Delft-Wageningen”, a cooperation between UNETO-VNI, NKVL, KNVvK, TVVLNekovri in cooperation with University of Wageningen.