Unilever is testing commercially viable solar-powered ice cream freezers in New York’s Central Park.
The company, whose brands include Popsicles, Good Humor and Mangum ice cream bars, says when officially rolled out the freezers will be the world’s first.
Unilever has already purchased about 1.5 million freezers. The freezers are being manned by vendors in Central Park and operate free of electricity — vendors can even charge their own mobile devices by plugging them into outlets attached to the freezer units.
The freezers, which reduce total energy consumption to below .5 kWh in one day, are part of the company’s focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration. They follow Unilever’s efforts to remove the last remaining hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) reliant freezers from use. Since 2004, Unilever has been using a climate-friendly hydrocarbon refrigerant alternative. More recently it has been driving an industry commitment to phase out damaging HFC’s by 2015 through participation in the Consumer Goods Forum.