World Refrigeration Day

World Refrigeration Day

June 26th sees the launch of the inaugural World Refrigeration Day. Events to celebrate the day are being held worldwide and cover open days, lectures and training events. Why was June 26th selected as World Refrigeration Day? The date celebrates the birthday of William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (more commonly called Lord Kelvin). Kelvin was a titan of physics and engineering who worked in a number of areas including thermodynamics. He was responsible for the Kelvin temperature scale, determining the correct value of absolute zero and discovering the Joule–Thomson effect (with James Joule).

Over the past 195 years since William Thompson’s birth, refrigeration has developed to the industry that we all consider essential for modern life. Without refrigeration the food industry that we rely on today would not be able to transport and supply food, the pharmaceutical industry would not be able to supply many drugs, large servers used for the internet and banking would not be able to function and many parts of the world would not be comfortable or productive without air conditioning. Refrigeration has the potential to transform the lives of people. It can reduce food losses (food that is lost in the early part of the food chain) by providing refrigeration to cool and maintain the temperature of food and maintain its quality and safety.  It can reduce food that is wasted in the home by allowing consumers to freeze or keep food for extended periods. Without refrigeration many pharmaceutical products would not retain effectiveness and lives would be lost due to lack of access to refrigeration reliant medicines. Without air conditioning and comfort cooling, populations would be less productive and there would be greater loss of life in heat waves.

Refrigeration is ubiquitous and essential for modern life and is likely to continue to be so as temperatures in many countries increase due to global warming. That does not mean that there are not challenges. We are in the process of reducing the use of high GWP refrigerants whilst at the same time reducing energy used by refrigeration equipment. The ascendance of China, India and African nations means that refrigeration is reaching new markets which has huge benefits for these nations but conversely greatly increases worldwide energy usage. Greater use of refrigeration has to be balanced against smarter use of energy resources including greater integration of renewable energy. Systems need to be highly efficient but at the same time reliable and low carbon.

Some interesting events being held for World Refrigeration Day include:

TCS&D Show talks broadcast live via Facebook, Register via or follow live links on twitter #wrefd19

Refrigerants for Life webinar. From ASHRAE and UNEP in the USA.  Speakers include Ray Gluckman, Andy Pearson (Star Refrigeration), Sheila Hayter (ASHRAE President) and Andrea Voigt (EPEE). Register via:

Fantastic Fridges. Live launch of the new "Cooling Science" and "Cool Careers" sections of this website for school children, linked to the UK National Curriculum. See:

Icy Challenge for schools. The IOR will be launching a competition for schools to produce short videos of practical experiments related to cooling science - loads of prizes including trips, equipment and a first prize of £2000 for the school. Details to be announced soon - schools can register their interest in taking part at:

Careers in Cooling. IOR video all about the contribution of refrigeration and air conditioning to modern society. Watch on You Tube

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