Keeping cold on the high seas
Marco Brivio from Bcool Engineering reveals the secrets behind the refrigeration systems designed for the marine market, plus bespoke projects for demanding customers in which energy efficiency is vitally important.
What features do refrigerators on boats and ships need to have?
Everything on a boat needs to have very specific, high-quality features. Well-designed details and maximum usability are essential for a refrigerator on a boat or ship. Corrosion-proof materials, madeto-measure shapes and sizes, and excellent energy efficiency thanks to water-cooled motors are just some of the key points that characterise a high-quality product for yachts and super yachts. Bcool Engineering projects also take many other features into consideration: we produce backup circuits to reduce any downtime caused by faults, double voltage so the system can function on 230 Volts and on 12/24 Volts using either power from the dock or from the onboard batteries.
Which trends are currently popular in this industry?
The Italian and international marine sector is feeling the recession at the moment and the number of boats being built has dropped significantly. We continue to focus on improving quality so our products and services stand out from the rest. We work closely with the client (shipyard, designer or shipowner/end customer) so we can provide all the design and functional features they require. To guarantee the highest quality of production our company relies on the building skills of Veco, which has become the leading manufacturer of marine refrigerators, freezers and wine cellars under the FrigoBoat brand.
What’s the most original product you’ve ever made?
The shapes and the openings are the features that make our products unique and original. It’s not uncommon to make refrigerators with openings on opposite sides for the same refrigerated compartment to provide easier access to food from both sides. One example of this design is installing a refrigerator with two doors in an island that separates the kitchen area from the living area so the shipowner/client can easily
use the refrigerator in whichever area he may be: or sometimes the wine cellar faces the living area while the refrigerator can be accessed in the kitchen.
What technology is used for marine refrigeration?
The onboard systems are designed and made to measure to suit individual dimensions and performance requirements. The most efficient system uses seawater condensing central units located in the engine room to optimise the system’s performance, space and noiselessness. Condensing units are specially designed on an ad hoc basis with a variety of power outputs and condensers made from cupronickel, which is highly resistant to corrosion in seawater.
Are there any eco-friendly products available?
Energy consumption and consequently optimising a system in terms of energy efficiency is at the core of Bcool Engineering designs. Electricity is always provided by batteries or generators, and solar panels or wind generators are often used to recharge service batteries. Another key aspect is the use of recyclable materials, such as steel and glass, and the exclusion of CFC from the foam.
Apart from the marine industry, what other applications do your projects and products have?
Bcool Engineering doesn’t design systems and products solely for the marine market. We are also the ideal partner for designers and architects who want to give their project a unique twist by using a customised electrical appliance to blend in with the space they are creating.