Researchers at the University of California, Davis, USA, have developed a new type of cooling ice cube that doesn’t melt.
The researchers believe the “jelly ice cubes” could revolutionise how food is kept cold and shipped without relying on ice or traditional cooling packs. The cubes are compostable and anti-microbial, and prevent cross-contamination.
Professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Gang Sun says the researchers wanted to develop a type of solid ice that could both serve as a cooling medium and be reusable.
The cubes consist of more than 90 per cent water, with a mixture of other components to help them keep their shape and structure.
“You can use it for 13 hours for cooling, collect it, rinse it with water and put it in the freezer to freeze again for the next use,” says Sun.
The jelly cubes can be cut to any size and shape and are soft to touch.
The researchers aimed to create a sustainable product that could potentially reduce water consumption and environmental impact. Because they maintain a stable temperature, they also offer an alternative option for food producers and shipping businesses that need to keep supplies cool.
A patent for the design and concept was filed in July.
Image courtesy of Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis.