News Freezer Challenge

13 April 2021

Teun Bousema, theme Infectious diseases and global health, organized in 2020 a Freezer Challenge together with PhD students Julie Verhoef and Estel Collado Camps. Ultra-low temperature freezers are among the most energy intensive pieces of lab equipment. There are many, often they are full of old samples that are never used and set to a temperature that is lower than needed. We challenged departments and research groups to clean out their freezers, replace old models and change the temperature settings. The challenge was a great success, as can be seen in the clip, and we still invite new research groups to join this effort.

During our Radboudumc Freezer Challenge, 13 groups joined hands to clean out freezers, replace old freezer models and change temperature settings. Together, they now save the CO2 equivalent of 25 return trips to New York annually. Without affecting quality.

A message from René Bindels and Fred Sweep

"Reductions in energy consumption are crucial to reach our ambitious targets for a sustainable Radboudumc. Energy savings can be achieved by improvements in infrastructure and by dedicated employees. In the coming years, laboraties will be more strategically organized and modernized. The Radboudumc Laboratorium Omgeving (RLO) will be implemented that provides central facilities for cold storage and thereby greatly reduce our energy consumption. The Radboudumc Freezer Challenge, initiated by Teun Bousema, is in perfect alignment with these initiatives. During that challenge, 13 participating groups demonstrated that impressive reductions can be achieved by critically reviewing what samples are stored and discard unused materials. In addition, it pays off to change the temperature setting of freezers, where possible, to -70 °C instead of -80°C. In this video clip, you learn more about the challenge and the winners of the 2020 competition. On intranet, you can find information on how to join this initiative".

Join in

Are you also interested in optimising your ULT freezer use? That's great. The Freezer Challenge was concluded, but you can get support on implementing the changes any time.

In this document you will find references on why -70ºC is safe.

Remember: discarding obsolete stocks, defrosting periodically, retiring old freezers and changing the temperature are all beneficial. There are green options for every lab, sample and situation.

Contact us

For technical support you can find more details in this document (link naar word). If you're left with any questions, don't hesitate to send an e-mail to


Related news items

What can we learn from rural Tanzanian food?

23 December 2021 What we eat affects our bodies. A diet high in plant based products and low in fat offers health benefits and prevents lifestyle diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. This is what Quirijn de Mast shows based on his research in Africa. read more

New anti-inflammatory drugs increase risk of fungal infection

22 November 2021 Investigators at the Department of Internal Medicine / Infectious Diseases and Dermatology demonstrate worldwide side effects of certain so-called biologics using four different research approaches read more

Guiding the surgeon real-time tumor visualization during surgery

26 February 2020 Incomplete excision of tumor tissue negatively affects the prognosis of the patient. RIHS researcher Mark Rijpkema and colleagues are working on the development of new dual-labeled tracers and currently are implementing this into the clinic. read more

Report of the 12th New Frontiers symposium Better care, network care? - 2 November 2018

7 November 2018 No easy answers at this symposium last Friday, only challenges that can be overcome if we succeed in 5 things. First and most radically, put patients in the center of healthcare. Second, start with assessing what the local population needs and not what local professionals have to offer. read more

Save the date for Radboud New Frontiers 2018: Betere zorg, netwerkzorg?

17 January 2018 After standard care, standardized care, and personalized care, network care will be care 4.0. But how exactly do you do that? Should we create new structures for it or is it just a matter of trust and ability to step back? read more

Save the date for Radboud New Frontiers 2018: Big data, better healthcare?

17 January 2018 How is big data influencing healthcare and healthcare research? How will it help us and what are the limitations? The first day of the 12th edition of the Radboud New Frontiers symposium, on 1 November 2018, will give you all the answers (and raises new questions). read more