The improvement to the fishermen’s prospects is due to a solar-powered machine for producing ice blocks. This new solution was developed within a German-Indonesian cooperation project of many years standing. “The fish do not spoil and ice production is completely climate-neutral,” says Frank Stegmüller of the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ). “This is a real German-Indonesian success story.”

Indonesia is the world’s leading tuna producing nation and the second largest fish producer worldwide. However, small-scale fishermen who use environment-friendly fishing methods are often unable to transport their fish to consumers due to a lack of refrigeration facilities. As a result, small-scale fishermen can scarcely compete successfully against industrial-scale fishing. Much of the catch is spoiled and many fishermen become impoverished.

The Indonesian government wants to make sure that fishermen in remote regions have a reliable source of income. Refrigeration of the catch is therefore of decisive importance. The GIZ initiated the development of a solar-powered ice-making machine. Several Indonesian, German and other European companies worked together on the project, which located production facilities in Indonesia. The project started in 2016 and a pilot plant successfully commenced operation in 2018. Two years later, in 2020, the first commercial plant is set to go into operation in Indonesia. The challenge had been to combine two technologies ‒ solar energy and cooling technology.

This innovative technology is entirely in line with the German Industrie 4.0 initiative. Depending on the solar energy available, this dynamic system produces up to 1.2 tons of block ice per day. The ice production requires neither a power supply nor a large and expensive battery storage unit. As a result, the ice blocks needed can be produced at locations far away from the power grid and used for refrigerating fish caught locally. Speaking about the project, Stegmüller (GIZ) says: “It secures the income of fishermen who fish sustainably, especially in remote and low-income regions of Indonesia.”

Ziehl Abegg supplied the ZAplus axial fan required for the project. It requires very little energy, is compact, has a plastic mounting plate/support and is not susceptible to corrosion. The engineers designed the trailing edge of the blades with the wings of an owl in mind.

The German companies Bitzer, Ziehl-Abegg and BAE Batterien provided know-how and various components free of charge during the development phase. The development work itself and the technical support was provided by experts from ILK Dresden. The solar-powered ice-making machines are manufactured by the Indonesian industrial company Selaras Mandiri Tehnik (AIREF). Other project partners are REC Solar, ATW Solar, Studer and Omron.