A prototype container employs active deep freeze technology to ensure safe and controlled transport and storage of COVID-19 vaccines to medical facilities without dry ice.
COVID-19 vaccines are around the corner, according to the latest industry reports. That’s been the hard part, but what’s next? How do they get the vaccine to the people as soon as possible? It encompasses deep-freeze cooling, transport, storage, and distribution, respectively.
Few medical facilities have space to store the vaccine in large quantities at constant minimum temperatures. That’s why Pfizer, a leading contender in the race to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to the market, picked Corning’s Valor Glass packaging back in May 2020 to ensure chemical durability and resist breakage, damage, and particulate contamination.
Now Germany’s Mecotec has unveiled a prototype that employs active deep freeze technology to ensure safe and controlled transport and storage without dry ice. The hybrid mobile container can store and transport up to 1,000,000 vaccination doses in a standard-sized container at temperatures down to –80°C/–112°F.
Figure 1 The fact that the mobile container doesn’t require dry ice for cooling also makes it suitable for safe international air transport. Source: Mecotec
After production, the vaccine is frozen on-site in deep cold storage and then loaded into a container for safe transportation to the distribution station. The machine container can be set up outside the production facility, so that the vaccine can be deep-frozen immediately after production.
The vaccines can be taken out in small or large amounts directly at the distribution station. The vaccine veils are loaded into the mobile refrigerated container in transport packaging and insulation boxes and then transported to the vaccination center while maintaining the deep-freezing temperatures down to –80°C/–112°F. The veils can be taken out individually at the distribution center.
Figure 2 The hybrid container aims to provide a one-stop solution comprising deep-freeze cooling, transport, storage, and distribution. Source: Mecotec
The electrically-operated chiller has two redundantly installed cold generators, and during the transport, the power is supplied by two built-in generator sets. The container can be set up as a stationary site at the vaccination center and supplied with power via a three-phase power connection with 400V.
The hybrid container design also features remote monitoring, GPS location, and complete temperature recording with an alarm system. Moreover, independent power supply and redundancy ensure that almost 100% cooling is achieved.
This article was originally published on EDN.
Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.