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Stirling Ultracold Model SU780UE, shown with optional inventory racks and additional shelves.All mechanically refrigerated ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers using cascade refrigeration systems are commoditized and rely upon the same cooling technology with little difference in performance from one brand to another. Freezers of this type are typically sold through multiple competing channels either singly or in volume on a relationship basis with significant discounts offered.

In 2013, a full-size, 27-cu-ft ULT freezer cooled by a Stirling engine was introduced to the market. Based on independent studies by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the Stirling engine freezer is the most energy-efficient ULT freezer of those tested among market leaders. It uses a 100% natural refrigerant cooling system. As a result, large facility managers are now evaluating ULT freezers not on initial purchase price, but benefits that extend throughout the organization, such as total cost savings, environmental sustainability and quality of cold.

Historically, purchasing decisions have been made by a combination of end users and procurement. The criteria for purchase have been the users’ comfort with the brand, freezer features and procurements’ ability to extract the largest possible discount.

This presentation illustrates new purchasing approaches based on case studies where organizations are adopting the Stirling engine freezers. Cases include a large biotech company, an internationally recognized cancer research center and a top U.S. research university. Each case offers a unique combination of factors that justify the adoption of the Stirling engine freezers, including total cost of ownership, utility rebates, internal rebates, institutional environmental compliance requirements, institutional sustainability goals and freezer performance requirements.

For each case study, the combination of factors and engagement points within each institution are illustrated.

Neil Lane is president and CEO of Stirling Ultracold, a division of Global Cooling Inc., Athens, Ohio.

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