Indicating the growing number of innovative cooling solutions using natural refrigerants, the “first fully solar-powered, off-the-grid ice block machine using R290 refrigerant” debuted this morning on day two of the Refrigeration & HVAC Indonesia 2018 Expo, currently taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia from 26-28 September.

The system was the result of a two-year collaboration between GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and the Directorate-General of New Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (EBTKE) at the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) to design and develop an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient solution for Indonesia’s rural fishing industry, which is often disconnected from electrical grids, to help increase its fresh fish production.

“Indonesia has 100,000 km of coastline and is aiming to double its fish production, meaning there will be an increase in demand for cold chain logistics,” said Frank Stegmueller, an advisor for the Electrification through Renewable Energy (ELERN) programme, part of GIZ.

“[The solar-powered R290 block ice] machine can be manufactured in Indonesia, which makes for a market-ready solution that we can launch today.


The system eliminates the need for diesel power and runs completely on solar energy — able to produce 1.2 tons of block ice per day.

The solar photovoltaic system generates 25 kWp, while the ice machine provides a cooling capacity of around 100 kWh/ton.

The use of R290 refrigerant was identified as the best option to move away from the use of synthetic refrigerants and achieve optimal energy efficiency in the ice-making process.

As of today, a functioning prototype has been built and successfully tested. Installation at the actual pilot project site is planned for the end of this year with performance monitoring and analysis to be conducted throughout 2019.

In addition, the local manufacturing supply chain is already in operation, with companies such as Airef, a local manufacturer of refrigeration systems with significant experience in working with hydrocarbon-based systems.

“This machine can be manufactured in Indonesia, which makes for a market-ready solution that we can launch today,” said Stegmueller.

“We are looking forward to this becoming an Indonesian success story, ready to disseminate and upscale.”

R290 knowledge transfer from Germany to Indonesia

The solar-powered R290 block ice machine is able to be completely manufactured, installed and serviced by local Indonesian companies, the result of extensive collaboration between leading German and Indonesian technology manufacturers over the past two years.

The R290 refrigerant is supplied by local Indonesian state-owned petrochemical company, Pertamina.

Germany-based ILK Dresden served as the main provider of initial technical development and design of the system, with the main system components such as variable speed R290 compressors and condenser fans being supplied by German manufacturers such as Bitzer and Ziehl-Abegg.

REC Solar, ATW Solar, BAE Reliable Energy and OMRON provided the system components for the project’s solar panels and electrical systems.

Support, coordination, and implementation were provided mainly by GIZ and EBTKE through the Energy Programme Indonesia/ASEAN, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

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