11 Dec 2020, 12:56
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany supports research to cut energy use for cooling COVID-19 vaccine

Clean Energy Wire

Germany is supporting research into making the storage and distribution of a new coronavirus vaccine more climate-friendly. The economy ministry (BMWi) said it would provide nearly 150,000 euros for a project by company va-Q-tec to improve cooling technology needed for keeping vaccines at a temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius, a considerable challenge when it comes to the effective roll-out of billions of doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by German company BioNTech and US pharmaceutical heavyweight Pfizer. "The project will be tested in practice in a few months and could halve the transport containers' energy demand," the ministry said. The cooling elements made of phase change material developed by va-Q-tec could replace the dry ice currently used for providing very low temperatures and are supposed to be reusable and fit for other cooling applications, the BMWi added.

Several companies have successfully developed vaccines that could help put an end to the coronavirus pandemic. The product by BioNTech and Pfizer requires a constant temperature from production to injection in order to stay effective. The companies said they are planning to produce up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021, meaning that adequate distribution and cooling systems will need to be set up in parallel to ensure the vaccine can be administered effectively to as many people as possible.

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