Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
Max Q
Topic Author
Posts: 8999
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:47 pm

Container ships, trains and I think tractor trailers transport refrigerated containers (reefers) that plug into their built in electrical power sources keeping their contents at the shippers desired temperature


Curious as to whether dedicated cargo aircraft have this ability for main deck cargo, can refrigerated cargo be plugged in to the aircraft electrical system to maintain their temperature?


This would be a significant advantage in keeping CV19 vaccines at their required very low temperatures during shipping and aid in distribution
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
Woodreau
Posts: 2090
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:20 am

That’s a pretty good question...

ISO 1496-2 provides specifications for thermal ISO containers for road/rail/shipboard transport.

Refrigerated containers are either cooled by refrigerated air provided by the ship (no electrical power required)
or an integrated refrigerated unit which requires external power provided by the ship. power required is either 220v/50HZ-240v/60hz or 440v/50Hz-450v/60hz 3-phase AC

Aircraft generators don’t generate power anywhere near the specs required for ISO containers without some converters and aircraft obviously don’t carry ISO containers but ULDs instead, so what power requirements do Refrigerated ULDs require?

what little I’ve found about refrigerated ULDs they are either dry ice or air cooled by dry ice circulated by internal fans or the more fancy ones with active temperature control with refrigeration units that are battery powered so they don’t need any aircraft power.

But that’s just what I’ve found from googling.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 7842
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:24 am

Reefers on trucks run off fuel (diesel or propane) not electricity. Truck reefers maintain temps, they can’t cool loads down and, because it’s good, the temps only go to about 10F for frozen food. I’ve seen several thawed loads—ugly mess. Good question, we didn’t have electrical power on the cargo floor in the military, no mission need.

Maintaining the -70C or -80C temps, I’ve read both numbers, will be a logistic challenge.
 
Max Q
Topic Author
Posts: 8999
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:01 am

Interesting, thanks for the informative replies. I started pondering this after reading about the extremely low temperatures required to keep some of these vaccines viable


I don’t know how much modification would be required for a freighter to supply electrical power to a refrigerated ULD or if it’s even been looked at, I’m a bit surprised this capability hasn’t been included before, it would seem quite useful


Are there any plug in electrical sockets on the main deck cargo hold on civil or military aircraft ?
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
aeropix
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:08 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:38 am

Before this thread goes any further, I urge anyone interested to watch Wendover production's video on the logistics of distributing the vaccine. He is an aviation nerd, who produces these high quality videos and he has covered this question definitively here:

https://youtu.be/byW1GExQB84

In a nutshell, the temperatures for storing the Pfizer vaccine are way, way too cold to be sustained by portable machines in any form of transportation. We are talking about liquid nitrogen temperatures, produced in factories by industrial processes, not like plugging in your home refrigerator to the ground service outlets. As an aside, use of the ground service power outlets is prohibited in flight in any case on our B777-F, I suppose as a fire prevention measure.

In any event, anybody interested in this topic would like the linked video, and I think it will answer most questions.
 
gloom
Posts: 550
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:19 am

I remember seeing a movie on Discovery or similar, where Lufthansa MD11 was scheduled on some Europe-Africa (or Europe-Asia) route, taking on flowers and some sort of food. There was a nice sequence where they explained cooled/refrigerated cargo space, temp regulation etc. If I remember correctly, the load was scheduled to be just cooled (sort of refrigerator temps, some 5C, around 40F), not freezed. However, it was at least ready to provide that to part f the cargo, so my guess is there are quite a lot of airplanes with that capability. To what level, I cannot say, but I would expect there are some ready to transport deeply frozen food (so basically able to maintain -24/27C).
However, as already stated above, they are just ready to maintain cargo temperature. Since cooling/freezing requires much more energy to be spent, it would not be able to take cargo and simply cool it down.

Cheers,
Adam
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 16161
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:41 am

The two technologies I am familiar with use either dry ice as the source for cooling, the other batteries.

The dry ice version uses a controller to regulate and log the temperature, the container has a small bunker for dry ice to be topped up.

The other has a similar setup to a camping refrigerator, running off batteries, also with a controller and data logger. When on the ground in the cargo terminal these are plugged into ground power. They are not powered from the aircraft.

Air cargo by its very nature does not have the same long transits as ships, trains, snd long distance trucks require.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
Legs
Posts: 271
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:37 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:42 am

Max Q wrote:
Are there any plug in electrical sockets on the main deck cargo hold on civil or military aircraft ?


Military airlifters certainly do, at least the few I'm familiar with. C-17 has both AC and DC outlets all along the walls for all the various role equipment that can be loaded onboard.
 
flipdewaf
Posts: 4129
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:28 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:01 pm

I have done studies in to this exact issue with my current job, I can’t go in to too much detail but there are several issues with air-freighting frozen items. The options available as Zeke mentioned are dry ice and battery power, the major issues are not between the choice of those two but the handling and control afforded by the shipping agency and actually something very difficult to avoid, the dryer air at s as altitude.

The control/management of the frozen transport temperature makes a huge difference as the mobility of the water as the temperature fluctuates is very challenging. At -18C about 10% of the water is mobile, if you increase this to -16 but then don’t bring it back at a quick enough rate then the ice crystal size grows and can destroy cell structure in organic materials and for foodstuffs this makes noticeable differences.

The air dryness part pretty simple, the dryness of the air at altitude means the lyophilisation increases and particularly at the low temps associated with dry ice causes cell structure damage “freezer burn” as you might see it at home.

Oftentimes it’s more useful for my work to take more time and send via water with better quality than by air.

Fred


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Image
 
johns624
Posts: 3797
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:07 pm

To the OP--trains don't use electrical power either. Each refrigerated car has it's own diesel generator for cooling.
 
rbretas
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:21 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:41 am

I don't know about air transport, but having worked many years in Laboratories, most ultra low temperature stuff is shipped with dry-ice (very cheap) in regular express mail (or liquid nitrogen with regular courier companies, but expensive and requires special flasks). If that can be done easily and reliably for small amounts, it must be even easier on larger volumes.
 
Okie
Posts: 4251
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:30 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 1:52 pm

The sublimation temperature for Carbon Dioxide is 194k/-109f/-78c. Dry Ice will work just fine for Covid vaccine transportation in an insulated container.

The temperatures that Pfizer has requested are the only temperatures they have tested/certified as to retain the effectiveness of the vaccine. The vaccine could remain effective at higher temperatures just have not been tested to such.

At some point the vaccine will have to be defrosted before injection into the human body. The unanswered question so far is how long will the vaccine remain effective after the defrost process.

I just can't imagine the discomfort of injecting -109f into the human body, serious tissue damage would occur. :alert:


Okie
 
DALMD80
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:25 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:07 pm

Maybe flying unpressurized? That would probably only get you down to -40, so that's not great.
The 757-200 with Rolls Royce engines in the US Airways livery is the ultimate in airliner beauty,
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 7842
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:27 pm

Well, might be hard on the crews because if the cargo is at -40, so are the crews and they’re breathing O2 besides.
 
DALMD80
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:25 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:49 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Well, might be hard on the crews because if the cargo is at -40, so are the crews and they’re breathing O2 besides.

Good point.
The 757-200 with Rolls Royce engines in the US Airways livery is the ultimate in airliner beauty,
 
User avatar
AirKevin
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:18 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:46 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Reefers on trucks run off fuel (diesel or propane) not electricity. Truck reefers maintain temps, they can’t cool loads down and, because it’s good, the temps only go to about 10F for frozen food.

They run off diesel. As for temperatures, they can actually go as low as -20°F, though most frozen loads are at -10°F. Ice cream is the only one I can think of to hit -20°F.
Captain Kevin
 
Max Q
Topic Author
Posts: 8999
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:18 am

Okie wrote:
The sublimation temperature for Carbon Dioxide is 194k/-109f/-78c. Dry Ice will work just fine for Covid vaccine transportation in an insulated container.

The temperatures that Pfizer has requested are the only temperatures they have tested/certified as to retain the effectiveness of the vaccine. The vaccine could remain effective at higher temperatures just have not been tested to such.

At some point the vaccine will have to be defrosted before injection into the human body. The unanswered question so far is how long will the vaccine remain effective after the defrost process.

I just can't imagine the discomfort of injecting -109f into the human body, serious tissue damage would occur. :alert:


Okie



I think it’s a two hour time limit from ‘defrost to injection’
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
gloom
Posts: 550
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:19 am

Okie wrote:
The temperatures that Pfizer has requested are the only temperatures they have tested/certified as to retain the effectiveness of the vaccine. The vaccine could remain effective at higher temperatures just have not been tested to such.


On my local TV they said -80C for long-term, standard cooling up to 5 days. So basically -80C for intercontinental (country to country), then you go for standard medical cooler for local distribution.

Cheers,
Adam
 
KFLLCFII
Posts: 3619
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 7:08 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:35 am

DALMD80 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Well, might be hard on the crews because if the cargo is at -40, so are the crews and they’re breathing O2 besides.

Good point.

There's also the temperatures at the departure and arrival points to consider too.
"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
 
Weatherwatcher1
Posts: 857
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:14 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:17 am

I’ve never heard of an external power source in a cargo hold that can power airplane cargo. I’d imagine the risk of fire caused by external electrical devices that are unmonitored would make this an unlikely scenario.

Most airplanes have temperature control in one of the cargo holds, which can get the hold down to near freezing temperatures. Temperature controlled cargo holds are frequently used for transporting pharmaceuticals.
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 20703
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:21 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
I’ve never heard of an external power source in a cargo hold that can power airplane cargo. I’d imagine the risk of fire caused by external electrical devices that are unmonitored would make this an unlikely scenario.

Most airplanes have temperature control in one of the cargo holds, which can get the hold down to about freezing temperatures. Temperature controlled cargo holds are frequently used for transporting pharmaceuticals.


The holds with temperature control only have heating, not cooling. I don't know of aircraft with refrigerated holds, but I suppose it is possible.

With the heating off, the hold temperature decreases during the flight simply because it is cold outside. It will stabilise somewhere around 8-12 degrees. On a dedicated freighter it might be cooler as there is no toasty pax cabin above it. But I don't think you'll see freezing temperatures.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Weatherwatcher1
Posts: 857
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:14 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:42 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
I’ve never heard of an external power source in a cargo hold that can power airplane cargo. I’d imagine the risk of fire caused by external electrical devices that are unmonitored would make this an unlikely scenario.

Most airplanes have temperature control in one of the cargo holds, which can get the hold down to about freezing temperatures. Temperature controlled cargo holds are frequently used for transporting pharmaceuticals.


The holds with temperature control only have heating, not cooling. I don't know of aircraft with refrigerated holds, but I suppose it is possible.

With the heating off, the hold temperature decreases during the flight simply because it is cold outside. It will stabilise somewhere around 8-12 degrees. On a dedicated freighter it might be cooler as there is no toasty pax cabin above it. But I don't think you'll see freezing temperatures.


Regarding passenger planes, most forward cargo holds use Pack air and some have temp control.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is unique in that it can chill the forward cargo compartment to maintain an exact temperature between 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) and 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit). This enables airlines to carry a whole range of cargo such as perishable and live goods, but also specialist freight, which needs to be kept at a low temperature, such as vaccines.


https://thepointsguy.com/guide/pilots-o ... -aircraft/

It’s been a while since I looked at the books, but I believe a 747F has a temp range of 4-29 degrees Celsius throughout the entire airplane
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 20703
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:18 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
I’ve never heard of an external power source in a cargo hold that can power airplane cargo. I’d imagine the risk of fire caused by external electrical devices that are unmonitored would make this an unlikely scenario.

Most airplanes have temperature control in one of the cargo holds, which can get the hold down to about freezing temperatures. Temperature controlled cargo holds are frequently used for transporting pharmaceuticals.


The holds with temperature control only have heating, not cooling. I don't know of aircraft with refrigerated holds, but I suppose it is possible.

With the heating off, the hold temperature decreases during the flight simply because it is cold outside. It will stabilise somewhere around 8-12 degrees. On a dedicated freighter it might be cooler as there is no toasty pax cabin above it. But I don't think you'll see freezing temperatures.


Regarding passenger planes, most forward cargo holds use Pack air and some have temp control.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is unique in that it can chill the forward cargo compartment to maintain an exact temperature between 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) and 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit). This enables airlines to carry a whole range of cargo such as perishable and live goods, but also specialist freight, which needs to be kept at a low temperature, such as vaccines.


https://thepointsguy.com/guide/pilots-o ... -aircraft/

It’s been a while since I looked at the books, but I believe a 747F has a temp range of 4-29 degrees Celsius throughout the entire airplane


Very interesting. You learn something new every day.

Related is that the A350 does have cooling for the galley fridges, as opposed to just packing dry ice.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
FGITD
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:05 am

I believe the 787 has the same galley cooling, rather than dry ice.

The holds air conditioning is a great feature for cargo. Also very effective, though obviously not so much with doors open. Load supervisor at my airport got in trouble a few summers ago...would always ask the captain to drop the hold temps on the basis of the cargo needing it. Turns out he just liked having a cooler airplane to work in on hot days.
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 30130
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:37 pm

Refrigated Containers have adequate charge & warnings in case the Batteries need to be charged/replaced if cooling gets affected.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 20703
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:02 pm

Related: Sam Chiu recently released an interesting video about temperature-controlled air freight.

https://youtu.be/ciLoap2_ic8
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BREECH
Posts: 645
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:20 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:32 am

aeropix wrote:
In a nutshell, the temperatures for storing the Pfizer vaccine are way, way too cold to be sustained by portable machines in any form of transportation. We are talking about liquid nitrogen temperatures, produced in factories by industrial processes, not like plugging in your home refrigerator to the ground service outlets.

Not quite right. Liquid nitrogen is -193C, whole 120C lower than necessary. That's cryogenic temps, and it's a totally different area. There are, however, normal medical freezers on the market that easily go to -80C. I'm not sure if they are portable, but they are just normal freezers using normal refrigerants, so apart from providing power I don't see a problem of making them transportable.

This whole vaccine affair gave birth to mad speculation. Pfizer vaccine is FAR from the first or the only medical material that needs deep freezing. Many reagents, grafts, as well as other vaccines, require storage at -70-80C. It's all just so politicized that a lot of politicians are making it an artificial problem that needs to be SOLVED, so that they can then take credit for solving a non-existent problem. Deep-frozen medical materials have been transported, including by air, for decades.
No friendship, love or respect unite people as much as shared hatred.
Sergey Dovlatov
 
Woodreau
Posts: 2090
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Can freighter aircraft supply electrical power for refrigerated cargo ?

Sat Dec 12, 2020 6:43 am

an article published today about TEUs converted to transport vaccines - but these don't fit on planes - just ships and land transport

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/12/business ... index.html
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos