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(Em)Powering climate research: Trane SuperFreezer transports ice cores from Antarctica

European scientists have discovered a way to sustainably drill and recover an ice core from Antarctica which dates back 1.5 million years. The Beyond EPICA project aims to deepen our understanding of Earth's climate system by analyzing ice cores from Antarctica. By retrieving exceptionally preserved ice core samples dating back thousands of years, this project provides invaluable insights into past climate conditions and aids in predicting future climate scenarios.

Analyzing these ice cores requires sophisticated lab equipment and highly trained scientists. Instead of bringing all this high-end technology and human know-how to the South Pole, it is much more effective and efficient to bring the ice core samples to our laboratories in Europe. After drilling the ice cores, these are transported by refrigerated ships from the South Pole to a port in southern Italy.

But once the ice reaches land, the engineers of the Beyond EPICA project are faced with another challenge: how to deliver the precious cargo all the way from the port to a research laboratory in Germany?


The challenge: last (long) mile delivery from the port to the lab

To ensure the ice cores reach the sophisticated laboratories where they can be further analyzed, engineers had to address two key challenges:

  1. Guarantee an ultra-low and tight temperature control up to -30° Celsius, and
  2. Ensure up to 7 days of autonomous power for a +1,500 km journey.

Additionally, the ice cores would need to be transported in a robust structure that could withstand handling and potentially rough conditions on the road, while making sure its precious cargo remains intact.

 

The solution: Connected and Autonomous Super Freezers

Understanding the challenges involved in transporting such a precious and sensitive cargo from the south to the north of Europe, Trane Rental Services worked with EPICA Beyond’s team to provide a holistic solution. The ice core will be transported in a 20ft SuperFreezer, a refrigerated container designed to transport sensitive cargo in ultra-low temperatures down to -70° Celsius. The container itself is double insulated and manufactured with the highest quality materials, withstanding outdoor temperatures from +50° Celsius to -30° Celsius. An integrated RMM module enables telematics solutions to closely monitor the cargo temperature, change set-points and retrieve datalog files.

Given the long journey and often unreliable access to power, the SuperFreezer is equipped with a Thermo King clip-on genset SG-3500. On top of providing up to one week of autonomous power, the genset uses 6 per cent less fuel compared to other brands.

“In addition to delivering and installing proven, reliable and state-of-the-art technology, the Trane Rental Services team is also able to remotely monitor the cargo and adjust settings as required,” explained Marco Giordano, a cold storage rental expert at Trane. “Whether it’s short-term or long-term rental, our goal is to ensure customers like EPICA Beyond a safe and efficient operation, every step of the way. “

 

Partnering for impact

Trane, a strategic brand of Trane Technologies, is proud to support EU-funded projects like Beyond EPICA project by assisting in the transportation of Antarctic ice cores for crucial climate research. Our Superfreezers and comprehensive cold storage solutions ensure the safe and secure transportation of these invaluable samples, contributing to the scientific community's efforts to combat climate change. Together, we are advancing our knowledge of Earth's climate system and paving the way for a sustainable future.

refrigerated container
Trane SuperFreezer refrigerated container with a clip-on genset

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