"Bio-cool ozone tech could be "a game-changer for the industry"

New Zealand company Bio-cool Systems is bringing new coolstore solutions to the industry, with state-of-the-art ozone technology that stops ethylene production, prevents fruit loss during storage and and reduces quality failures at outturn.

“Ozone sanitises the room completely,” Bio-cool Systems (BCS) director Jason Costello explains.

“In a nutshell, it kills bacteria, fungus and mold whilst removing ethylene.”

While coolstore rooms typically employ chemicals and ethylene scrubbing machines to address these issues, Mr Costello says ozone is “the complete package”.

“With our system it’s cheaper because you don’t have to have an ethylene scrubbing machine running or use chemicals for sanitising. You just set up the machine and let it do its thing.”

The company has spent years developing and refining it’s technology, creating a small unit that is run entirely on single phase power supply and can be adapted to suit coolstore rooms of varying sizes.

Mr Costello says BCS is now going into its fifth season in New Zealand, and is ready to expand to other countries.

“For the first few years we wanted to get it right. We’ve spent nearly five years perfecting this technology and we’re finally at the stage where we can send equipment overseas and feel very confident about it,” he says, adding that their “plug-and-play” approach sets them apart from other companies working with ozone.

He says the biggest challenge for BCS has been educating people on the way ozone works. This natural compound is made up of three oxygen molecules and has a half-life of 20-30 minutes, after which it reverts to oxygen without leaving a trace.

“Ozone leaves absolutely no residue, that’s the beauty of it,” Mr Costello says.

“That’s especially important in coolrooms, because it completely neutralises contaminants and odours. So you can actually have onions in there one day, and fruit the next as it prevents cross contamination.”

The BCS machines manufacture ozone on-site, can be set up in the coolroom or as an external unit, and generally take up very little space. Once plugged in, Mr Costello says that they will electronically run to the set requirements.

“We’ve just put in new systems last week where the LED screen sits outside the coolstore room and all the readings and settings can be done from outside. So you don’t have to walk in or out of the room being treated, and if you need to go in you can see the levels beforehand to make sure it meets health and safety requirements.”

He says BCS has seen a lot of change in the past five years, particularly as people have become aware of the effectiveness of ozone when applied correctly to the industry.

“The thing with ozone is that you need to work out the specific details for its usage. So actually, there are all these people that had tried ozone in the past and said that it ‘didn’t work’, when really it was the system in use that wasn’t effective,” he says.

“The thing we’re doing differently to others is that we’re taking a specific industry application and saying for that particular problem we’ll make a plug-and-play solution for it. We are removing all the guesswork.”

He says BCS sales have grown steadily every year since they began working in the fresh produce and coolstore industry, based almost entirely on orders from existing clients.

“We had one guy last year who we loaned 3 units to, and he came back this year with an order for 20 units. Another guy the year before went from 5 units to 35,” he says.

“Now most of our customers have all their coolstore rooms set up with our ozone units, because compared to non treated rooms the results were night and day. This technology really speaks for itself.”

With a now-established client base in New Zealand, Mr Costello says BCS is ready to introduce their groundbreaking coolstore technology to the rest of the world.

“Our existing client base has kept us busy and continues to do so, but now it’s time to let people know and grow from here. We believe this technology really is a game-changer for the industry,” he says.

For more information:
Jason Costello
Tel: +64 27 345 0044
Email: jason@biocool.co.nz

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