Robotic kiosks that provide automated and contactless dispensing of groceries for consumers are being sustainably refrigerated by Carrier Transicold NaturaLINE® units, container refrigeration systems that use the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide (R-744).
Typically used on marine shipping containers to protect perishables and frozen food shipped between continents, NaturaLINE units also perform on land. The units store perishables and now transfer groceries directly from retailer to consumer through a kiosk made by Estonian robotics innovator Cleveron.
Cleveron has developed “click and collect” automated solutions for a variety of applications and the grocery kiosk is among its newest. At a time when consumers’ health and safety is the highest priority, the Cleveron 501 kiosk offers a convenient, touchless 24/7 alternative to in-store shopping or pickup, as well as home delivery.
The Cleveron 501 is an automated grocery kiosk.
"The 20-foot and 40-foot-long refrigerated shipping containers equipped with NaturaLINE units were a natural choice for the Cleveron 501 application," said Mihkel Ilp, chief operating officer, Cleveron. “We realized combining refrigerated shipping containers and our robotics would create a product that is easy to transport and quick to install, and that also delivers cooling and withstands the forces of nature,” said Ilp. “Carrier was selected as our preferred partner because of its history in the field of refrigeration and shipping containers and because Carrier offers the NaturaLINE system with R-744 refrigerant.”
NaturaLINE unit’s natural refrigerant has an ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) value of 1, one of the lowest among other container system refrigerants currently in use, which have GWPs ranging from hundreds to thousands of times greater. Ilp said NaturaLINE’s sustainability appeals to its customers, many of which are large multi-national grocery retailers with significant green initiatives and are working toward carbon neutrality.
NaturaLINE units are recognized for tight temperature control, which is important given the variety of locations where the kiosks are located. They can be installed in parking lots near grocery/retail operations, near office buildings, in busy city centers and other locations where retail space is scarce or expensive.
To use, customers place orders online and given a time for pickup. The retailer then picks, bags and places frozen and perishable items in totes that the Cleveron 501 kiosk stores in the appropriate temperature- controlled compartment. When the customer arrives, a code is scanned from their phone and the kiosk dispenses their order.
To date, the kiosks using Carrier Transicold’s NaturaLINE units have been deployed throughout Europe in grocery/retail environments, sharing a footprint with sustainable in-store R-744-based systems by Carrier Commercial Refrigeration Europe. The systems have also been deployed in the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.