The Mobifreeze M 270
The Mobifreeze M 270. Source: Lauda

Lauda Launches the ‘First-Ever’ Mobile Ultra-Low-Temperature Freezer, Which Uses R290 and R170

The unit offers storage temperatures from −86 to −50°C in ambient temperatures ranging from 15 to 28°C.

German temperature control equipment manufacturer Lauda has announced the launch of the  Mobifreeze M 270, which uses propane (R290) and ethane (R170) refrigerants and is the world’s “first” mobile ultra-low-temperature chest freezer, according to the company.

“Valuable samples or APIs [active pharmaceutical ingredients] can be safely stored and transported from −86°C [−122.8°F[ to −50°C [−58°F] with high temperature resistance without dry ice,” Lauda said in a press release. “Natural refrigerants are used to provide active temperature control instead.”

According to a product brochure, the unit uses 145g (5.11oz) of R290 refrigerant and 68g (2.40oz) of R170 refrigerant to keep the chest within 3K (3°C/5.4°F) of the set temperature in ambient conditions ranging from 15 to 28°C (59 to 82.4°F), which complies with requirements for pharmaceutical logistics good distribution practices. Hydrocarbons21.com has contacted Lauda about the compressor the Mobifreeze M 270 uses.

Cooling is user-adjustable inside the −86 to −50°C temperature range. The chest weighs 325kg (716.5lbs) and has 270 liters of temperature-controlled storage space.

Lauda said the Mobifreeze M 270 enables cold chain reliability for intralogistic and inter-factory transport for the biopharmaceutical industry. It has a four-hour battery life at a working temperature of −80°C (−112°F) and can be recharged via a wall outlet.

“Delicate and temperature-sensitive substances such as gene therapy medicinal products, monoclonal antibodies or vaccines, which require storage under validated conditions, can now be transported under identical conditions,” the company said.

Lauda said the Mobifreeze M 270 negates the need for phase-change materials (PCMs) and dry ice, a hazardous substance requiring aeration. The company noted that not having to use dry ice reduces costs by eliminating the need for exhaust air systems and personal protective equipment.

Founded in 1956, Lauda provides constant temperature equipment and systems for the chemical, electromobility, hydrogen, medical, pharmaceutical/biotech and semiconductor industries. The company is headquartered in the south of Germany in Lauda-Königshofen, about 120km (75mi) north of Stuttgart.

Ultra-low temperatures with R170

In October 2021, German OEM Secop announced the launch of an R170 compressor for ultra-low-temperature applications. The battery-powered compressor was capable of delivering temperatures between −70 and −86°C (−94 and −122.8°F); at the time, Pfizer’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was being rolled out and required storage temperatures of −70°C.

Like in the Lauda Mobifreeze M 270, Secop recommended pairing its R170 compressor with an R290 compressor to achieve ultra-low temperatures.

“The most reliable solution is to build two-stage systems, where the first stage normally uses propane to reach about −35°C [−31°F], and then the second stage normally is a mixed refrigerant [the major one is R170, with some small amounts of propane/R290 or isobutane/R600a], which drives the temperature further down to below −60°C [-76°F] or more,” said Li Yuan, Global BD & Marketing for Secop.

Stirling Ultracold also uses R170 compressors in its ultra-low temperature freezers, which reach temperatures of −80°C and are designed for use in pharmaceutical labs.

“Delicate and temperature-sensitive substances such as gene therapy medicinal products, monoclonal antibodies or vaccines, which require storage under validated conditions, can now be transported under identical conditions.”

Lauda

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