Guildford, England — The first dispenser in Europe of drinks using new technology is unveiled at the University of Surrey June 26 by its inventor American entrepreneur Mitchell Joseph.

Professor Roland Clift, of the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) at the University of Surrey, has been working with the Joseph Company of California in developing a way to deliver cooled drinks without refrigerated storage: the Chillcan technology. To chill the drink to about 15 degree(s) C below ambient temperature, the consumer just has to push a button on the base of the can. This releases pressurized carbon dioxide which is adsorbed onto activated carbon contained in an inner can. The release absorbs heat (the “heat of desorption”) which cools the drink, contained in the space between the inner and outer cans. The liquid is then ready to be poured or drunk from the top of the can in the usual way.

The Chillcan is much more climate-friendly than drinks stored in refrigerators. It avoids the power consumption and also leaks of refrigerant which represent contributions to greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. The carbon dioxide is recovered from waste gases which would have gone into the atmosphere anyway. The activated carbon comes from biological waste – coconut shells, at present.

Roland Clift, Emeritus Professor at the University of Surrey and Executive Director of the International Society of Industrial Ecology, said: “Helping the development of the Chillcan has been a unique opportunity to apply the kind of systems thinking we have developed in the Centre for Environmental Strategy to a potentially disruptive high-volume consumer product.

“We have been able to help Mitchell Joseph by using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to ensure that the whole supply chain is environmentally sound. LCA has also shown where best to launch the can: to replace drinks dispensers which may be badly maintained, leaking energy and refrigerant.”

“It also shows the importance of recovering and re-using the chiller units, which is the next important stage in developing the Chillcan system.”

The Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey is celebrating its 20th anniversary and the new drinks dispenser was launched at a special event to mark the occasion.