31.03.2021 | reading time approx. 4 min.

The solar ice maker fans

Pure climate protection with the intelligent fan system ZAplus

It’s hot and humid and so really not the right climate for ice, or more accurately, blocks of ice. Yet these are precisely what’s needed by the small-scale fishermen here on the coast of Indonesia. And this is where the truly “cool” story of the “solar ice maker” and the solar ice maker fans begins.

Fish production in Indonesia

The food industry, fish production in particular, is one of the key components of the Indonesian economy. However, since excessive costs often mean that only the large, industrial, conventional fishing concerns are truly commercially viable, a large portion of the population, namely small-scale fishermen, is missing out on a whole market segment.

Lack of resources – lack of technology

The reason for this situation is the lack of either financial or technological resources to refrigerate and transport their freshly caught goods in a way which is both eco-friendly and suitable for foodstuffs, in compliance with hygiene and cold chain standards and consequently to get them into commercial circulation nationwide on a profitable basis. 

Ice-cold, climate-neutral solution

However, a long-standing German-Indonesian cooperation project of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is now providing an ‘ice-cold’ solution.
In order to safeguard fishing as a source of income for fishermen in remote regions as well, the Indonesian Government brought on-board international expertise.

The first blocks of ice produced with the help of solar energy
ZAplus high-tech fan for efficient cooling

It’s also important to realise that Indonesia is the world’s leading tuna producer and the second largest fish producer overall worldwide. That’s why the trade in fish is essential for a large portion of the population. Knowing the importance of this industry and, at the same time, the urgency attached to keeping the fishing catch refrigerated during transportation, GIZ initiated a totally new concept to make cooling both affordable and possible even in the remotest regions without electricity – a solar-powered ice block maker.

The solar icemaker – ZAplus fans

And where the right temperature has to be created under difficult environmental conditions, in this it has be ice-cold but environmentally friendly, cost-saving and energy-efficient, the global technology leader ZIEHL-ABEGG comes into play, with its worldwide unbeatable biomimetic fans, blue technology, for example with this bold project. But let’s start at the beginning.

High-tech for climate protection

Created in 2016, GIZ has brought together various partners from Indonesia, Germany and Europe to launch this ambitious refrigeration project – a solar-powered machine for making blocks of ice. Just two years later, in 2018, a pilot plant was commissioned into operation locally and now, in 2021, the aim is to get the first commercial system into operation. Getting to this point called for sophisticated technology and total expertise, as two technologies had to be combined within one project, namely solar energy and cooling technology – not such an easy task at first glance but no problem for the experts and companies involved and, at the same time, in perfect harmony with the guiding concept of the German Industry 4.0 initiative.

German Institute of Air and Refrigeration (ILK) Dresden

The on-site technical implementation and coordination of this project for a climate-neutral, innovative type of system was carried out by the German Institute for Air and Refrigeration (ILK) Dresden, in cooperation with the New Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (EBTKE) Energy Programme of Indonesia and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), with support also from, amongst others, the Federal  Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal  Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Blue technology – ZAplus fan system

In this context, the intelligent solar ice maker fan ZAplus (axial fan) from ZIEHL-ABEGG which is installed in this system for perfect cooling, is an important element in the technical implementation of the project.  With its distinctive advantages, ranging from the highly efficient, quiet ECblue motor technology, to the impeller design inspired by nature, its rear edges, which are modeled on the owl wing, which perfects the environmentally friendly and economic performance of the ZAplus fan from ZIEHL-ABEGG and the resistance thanks to first-class material properties, pure climate protection and sustainability is guaranteed.

Steffen Sinn, the ZIEHL-ABEGG Asia Area Sales Manager, explains the technology: “The solar modules are not a strong power source so extremely energy-saving fans had to be installed, making the biomimetic ZAplus fans the perfect product solution for the solar ice maker.

Sustainable project of the future already showcased in 2020 

GIZ employee Frank Stegmüller (left) and Steffen Sinn (ZIEHL-ABEGG) present the Solar Ice Maker to the Indonesian ambassador Arief Havas Oegroseno (centre).

In addition to ZIEHL-ABEGG, the German and European companies Bitzer, BAE Berlin, REC Solar, ATW Solar and OMRON also supplied important components for the system project. The solar-powered ice making machines will be manufactured by the Indonesian industrial company Selaras Mandiri Tehnik (AIREF), a local manufacturer of cooling systems.     

Creating blocks of ice through solar energy

Adapted dynamically and automatically to the available solar energy, thanks to innovative technology the solar ice maker (the solar photovoltaic system generates 25 kWp whilst the ice maker offers a cooling capacity of around 100 kWh / ton) can produce up to 1.2 tons of block ice per day. Because this does not require either electricity or other propellants, nor a costly, large battery storage system, ice blocks can also be produced at locations where there are no power grids and complex infrastructure, guaranteeing that locally caught fish is kept refrigerated. This also secures income opportunities for small-scale fishermen and provides for sustainable fishing of the kind pursued primarily by small-scale fishermen in harmony with nature. The environmentally friendly project, aimed at protecting Indonesia’s waters and environment, is also of great importance for the Indonesian Government – a win-win situation for all concerned.

“We’re making our earth a little bit more blue”

Frank Stegmüller from GIZ  is delighted with the result of the international project: “This machine can be manufactured in Indonesia, making it a commercially-ready solution that we can bring to the market today, securing the income of fishermen who pursue a sustainable approach to fishing, especially in remote and low-income regions of Indonesia – we look forward to this becoming a German-Indonesian success story that is ready to be rolled out and improved. As a strong technological partner for the project, ZIEHL-ABEGG also shares in the joy of this undertaking, as a reflection of the company’s basic principle of “We are making our earth a little bit more blue”.

April 12-16 2021 
Digital edition

Steffen Sinn – Area Sales Manager Asia, ZIEHL-ABEGG

Indonesia – Partner country for this year’s Hanover Messe.
As a virtual exhibitor at the Hanover Messe, ZIEHL-ABEGG will be showcasing the latest blue technology and impressive opportunities for the introduction of its ventilation products, systems and applications into the digital world of tomorrow – ZAbluegalaxy.
You can also meet online with Steffen Sinn, Area Sales Manager for Asian who will be happy to give you a personal presentation of the innovative ICE-Maker with high-tech components, amongst other things.

Please ask for further information and tickets here: