About the Project

The significant population movement in recent decades toward urban centers has led to an increase in the consumption of chilled and frozen foods. Refrigeration of these foods requires significant amounts of electricity, corresponding to 50% of the consumption of businesses operating in the food retail trade sector. According to estimates by the International Institute of Refrigeration, the percentage of electricity consumed worldwide for cooling amounts to 17% and, given that the concentration of the population in urban centers will rise to 85% from the current 75% (75% that is today), the amounts of energy consumed for cooling will increase further in the coming years. In addition, with the establishment of increasingly strict rules and laws for food hygiene and safety, the extensive use of refrigeration has become mandatory, but this has a significant environmental impact, as the required electricity is generated using fossil fuels.

The main objective of the proposed investment is to reduce the energy consumption of refrigeration equipment and therefore the energy footprint of businesses active in the food retail trade, through the implementation of strategies to control the operating temperature of their refrigeration chambers. The reduction in required electricity will limit the emission of carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere, satisfying one of the main policies of the European Union to limit the greenhouse effect, but also climate change in general.

The proposed investment aims at the design and development of an innovative system (SmartFridge) of monitoring, recording, storage, management, and automated regulation, after processing through machine learning algorithms, of temperature values, which adopts Internet of Things technology of Things - IoT), and in particular the combination of the technologies of wireless sensor networking (Wireless Sensor Networking -WSN) and embedded AI algorithms. This system will fully comply with the current legal and regulatory framework and will be the main tool for determining the potential energy savings on an annual basis from the implementation of strategies to control the operating temperature of the cold rooms.

According to studies, in developed countries businesses operating in the food retail sector consume approximately 20% of the total energy required for refrigeration. They, therefore, rank among those with the largest energy footprint after industries. The solutions applied to date by refrigeration equipment manufacturers to reduce energy consumption mainly focus on interventions at the chamber construction stage (better insulation for fewer losses, more economical compressors, etc.), which however do not adequately address the problem.
The possibilities of reducing the consumption offered by the proposed SmartFridge system through the proposed method are clearly greater, as the monitoring and control of the refrigeration equipment begin with the installation of the system and last throughout its entire life cycle. To more accurately determine the reduction rate, the system will be tested outside the laboratory and in pilot facilities, taking into account the real conditions in the environment of cooperating companies.
The innovation offered by the proposed SmartFridge system is based on the reduction of the energy footprint of businesses, through the application of strategies and techniques to optimally control the operating temperature of their cold rooms, and by extension, on the reduction of operating costs resulting from the saving of electrical energy. The proposed SmartFridge system is a complete solution that can be easily installed in any existing or new cold room with minimal intervention and low cost. Given that more than 100,000 healthcare companies operate in our country
of interest according to ELSTAT data, and considering that approximately 30% of the total electricity in the Region of Central Macedonia is consumed for commercial use, the implementation of the proposed investment will create great commercial prospects for the produced product and therefore economically, socially, and environmentally benefits.

The expected benefits from the proposed investment are expected to appear both at the environmental level and at the financial level. In the first case, the proposed investment, during its pilot application in 10 cold rooms by cooperating companies, is expected to save electricity on a small scale, without any measurable impact on the environment. Nevertheless, from the pilot application, it will be possible to accurately determine the percentage of electricity reduction in the cooperating companies.
The implementation of the proposed investment then on a large scale is expected to save electricity on a large scale, thus contributing to the reduction of the emission of carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere, and satisfying one of the main policies of the European Union to limit the phenomenon of greenhouse, but also of climate change in general. In the second case, the saving of electricity, initially in the cooperating companies that will participate in the pilot application, but also during the implementation of the proposed investment on a large scale, will significantly contribute to the reduction of the operating costs of the companies active in the retail sector food trade.
The proposed investment, due to its innovative nature, as well as the energy saving sector it targets, is expected to significantly improve the competitiveness of the company Smart Engineering & Management Solutions IKE (SEEMS) mainly in the domestic, but also in the international business environment since there is no commercial product available with similar capabilities. With the implementation of this proposed investment, new know-how will be acquired, both in areas related to the company's current research and commercial interests, as well as in new technological areas, thus expanding its business horizons, improving the recognition of its brand and strengthening its presence, both in Greece and abroad, with a natural consequence of increasing sales and profits and generally improving its economic figures.