NEW JELLY ice cubes will never melt, stay cool for 13 hours and revolutionize food transportation: These new plastic-free cubes could be compostable, antimicrobial and prevent cross-contamination.

  • Cooling cubes can stay cool for as long as 13 hours. They can also be reused many times. All you have to do is place them in the freezer until they firm up.
  • They are composed of 90% water, and can support up to 22lbs. 
  • These ice packs also prevent cross-contamination with plastic ice pack meltwater or mold. 

New cooling cubes that don’t melt could transform the shipping and storage of food.

This innovation is called jelly ice cubes and it can stay cold for as long as 13 hours. It can also be reused again; you just need to rinse and place back in a freezer.

These cooling cubes can be reused and prevent cross-contamination from meltwater and mold in plastic ice pack.

The jelly ice cubes came about after Luxin Wang, an associate professor at University of California, Davis and part of the research, saw the amount of ice used at fish-processing plants and the cross-contamination that meltwater could spread among products or down the drain.   

Scroll down for the video 

A new cooling cube that never melts could revolutionize how food is kept cooled and shipped

New cooling cubes that don’t melt could transform the shipping and storage of food.

Gang Sun, an associate professor at University of California Davis, and leading researcher on the matter, stated that “When ice melts it is not reusable.”

“We believed we could create a solid ice that would be used as cooling media and reusable.”

When at room temperature, approximately 90% of the cooling cubes are made from water. They feel almost like gelatin desserts.

The cubes freeze and become rigid, turning opaque colors.

Approximately 90 percent of the cooling cubes is made of water and are soft to the touch like a gelatin dessert when at room temperature

Cooling cubes make up approximately 90% of all water. When at room temperature they feel like gelatin desserts.

Once frozen, the cubes become rigid and turn an opaque color (left is a frozen cooling cube and right is it at room temperature)

The cubes freeze and become hard and opaque. (Left is a chilled cooling cube, right is at room temperature.

The cubes have been tested in the laboratory and can hold up to 22 pounds. 

They can be reused a dozen times—just a quick wash with water or diluted bleach—and then disposed of in the trash or with yard waste. 

Sun demonstrated jelly ice cubes during a demonstration.

Two petri dishes were presented by her, one with fish and the other on top of either ice cubes (or new cooling cubes).

Sun stated that jelly ice cubes remain in contact with solid status even after an hour.

Left image is a piece of fish on top of regular ice and right is fish on top of the cooling cubes. The examples were left out for one-hour, which shows the left has melted while the right kept its form

The left image shows a fish piece on top regular ice, while the right picture is one on top cooling cubes. These examples were kept out for an hour, so the left one has lost its shape while the right one does not.

“But, with regular ice here the fish has been soaked in large pots of water.

Jiahan Zou is a graduate student at Ph.D. who worked on this project for the last two years.

Sun said, “You can cool it for up to 13 hours, then rinse with water, and finally, put it back in the freezer for your next use.”

Patents for the design and idea were filed in July. Team members hope to make coolant materials from recycled farm waste and byproducts.

Luxin Wang (associate professor at the Department of Food Science and Technology) stated that they want this to be sustainable.