Community Cooling Hubs

Community Cooling Hubs  integrate food cold chains with other cold-dependent services such as community health facilities, social facilities such as creches and even emergency services.

Using appropriate technology and business models, Comunuity Cooling Hubs will help to remove barriers that stop subsistence farmers from using temperature-controlled logistics. These Hubs can also be deployed to provide the local Community access to other refrigeration dependant services.

Ultimately, these community hubs will help farming communities in India reduce food waste, increase their income and meet rural communities’ cooling needs in an affordable and sustainable way.

Cooling For All

The Cooling for All Needs Assessment help governments, non-governmental organisations and development institutions to accurately size the market for cooling demands based on comfort, safety, nutrition and health needs.  

Developed by Heriot-Watt University and SEforALL, the assessment looks to develop, for the first time, a methodology aligned to the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to better provide demand data to develop country-specific cooling action plan delivering access to cooling for the benefit of all who need it.

Needs Assessment June 2020



The CryoHub innovation project is investigating and extending the potential of large-scale Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES) using the stored energy for both cooling and energy generation. By employing Renewable Energy Sources to liquefy and store cryogens, CryoHub will balance the electricity grid, while meeting the cooling demand of a refrigerated food warehouse and recovering the waste heat from its equipment and components.

The prime objective of the CryoHub project is to investigate the potential of large-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) at refrigerated warehouses and food factories and to use the stored energy for providing both cooling on site and electrical energy generation during peak demand periods

Vaccine Delivery

Our scientists are launching key studies to help African and Indian nations prepare for the sustainable distribution of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Mass, rapid COVID-19 vaccination will be an immense challenge in sub-Saharan Africa countries and India as they have significant rural populations. Across Africa and India the existing cold-chain infrastructures will need to be significantly improved if a vaccine is to reach the people who need it.

Working with the United Nations Environment Program – United for Efficiency team, researchers from the University of Birmingham and Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, are undertaking a fast-track study in Rwanda to explore how the cold-chain is currently used to distribute vaccines in the country.

The study will also define gaps in infrastructure and develop strategies for sustainable COVID-19 vaccine delivery. Findings will help governments, vaccine development agencies, pharma and logistics companies begin to plan for the future.

The programme will run alongside the work of experts from Birmingham and Heriot-Watt in India, where they are joining forces with non-profit, commercial and academic partners to begin investigating the scale of challenge involved in distributing a potentially temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccine.

World-first cold storage road/rail container

Using phase change material (PCM), Birmingham scientists and their counterparts at CRRC Shijiazhuang have developed a ‘refrigerated’ truck-to-train container that is easier and more efficient to operate than conventional equipment.

Once ‘charged’, PCM inside the container – which can be transferred from train to truck and vice versa – can keep the inside temperature between 5-12 ˚C for up to 120 hours.