Once an effective COVID19 vaccine is available in the required quantities and is to be delivered to thevaccination centres, a specific logistical task also needs to be addressed: The vaccine must be transportedat a temperature of at least -70oC to -80oC and stored on site at the vaccination centre. L&R Kältetechnikhas developed a safe, flexible and economical concept for this demanding type of deep-freeze storage: adeep-freeze storage system that is installed in an industrial container.
L&R has extensive experience with the deep-freeze storage of sensitive pharmaceutical active ingredientsand products. Vaccine serums, blood plasma, stem cells, bone marrow and biomedical materials are amongthe stored goods that are kept in the walk-in L&R deep-freeze storages at temperatures down to -110°C.Such storages are in use at many pharmaceutical manufacturers – among other reasons also because theyare more reliable, efficient and energy-saving than laboratory freezers.Based on this experience, L&R has now developed a solution with which millions of vaccine doses can bestored at -80oC.
The basic idea: The storage cell -80°C with a precooling room -20°C is installed in anindustrial container with corresponding redundant, multi-stage refrigeration technology in order to guaranteea storage option that is suitable for pharmaceuticals.Two highly efficient refrigeration systems are installed in the 20′ or 40′ containers, each of which ensures apermanent temperature level below -70oC. The systems are air-cooled, so only one mains connection isrequired for operation. And they have a redundant design so that if one refrigerating circuit fails, the secondcircuit can automatically take over the cooling. An optional emergency power supply or nitrogen emergencycooling (LN2) offers an even higher level of safety.1/4
The interior equipment of the cryogenic storage is adapted to user requirements. Pallet storage spaces arepossible as well as shelves and/or drawers for different product sizes. Optionally, the interior can bemanufactured with a stainless steel floor according to cleanroom standards. The highly effective insulationensures a low heat transfer coefficient. This increases the temperature holding time and reduces the energyrequirement.The deep-freeze containers comply with GMP requirements; they are optionally supplied with FDA approvalfor materials in contact with the product.
Via the touch panel of the Siemens PLC, the user can control thesystem comfortably, and visualize the process. Remote maintenance is possible as well as GPS positioningof the container. Further options are realized according to the customers’ specifications.In the construction of this deep-freeze storage system, attention was not only paid to maximum safety andhigh energy efficiency: the worldwide availability of the components also played a role. Burkhard Rüßmann,general manager of L&R Kältetechnik: “When the vaccine production starts, the logistics must be availableall the way up to the vaccination centres – not only in Germany. That’s why we have made sure that ourproduction is scalable over a wide range.”2/4