prof. Giovanni Cortella

University of Udine






Main research projects


-       Investigation on new refrigerants to replace CFCs.

The activity was both theoretical and experimental, aiming at the prediction of thermodynamic properties of refrigerants and of their performance in refrigerating systems, and at the measurement of the performance of small capacity refrigerating units (e.g. household refrigerators or plug-in commercial display cabinets) through experimental tests. In 1989 hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon blends were tested, which now are commonly used in domestic refrigerators.


-       Commercial refrigeration.

Setting up of a test room in compliance with the Standards for the measurement of the performance of commercial display cabinets.


-       Development of CFD finite-element codes for the solution of heat transfer problems.

Solution of benchmark problems, heat transfer improvement in heat exchangers and heat sinks.


-       Air curtains design in refrigerated display cabinets.

Thanks to the cooperation with main manufacturers of refrigerated cabinets, a thorough expertise on the operation of such systems was gained, which is witnessed by various well cited papers on air curtains and de-misting systems design. Promising solutions were investigated by means of CFD, for the improvement of the thermal performance of refrigerating units while reducing their energy consumption.


-       Heat recovery from refrigerating systems.

Strategies for heat recovery from refrigerating systems in favour of air conditioning (heating and/or cooling) plants, especially in shopping malls.


-       Modelling commercial refrigeration systems

Modelling commercial refrigeration systems as part of a more comprehensive model of shopping malls and their plants, aiming at the estimation of the energy requirement of the system as a whole, and at the identification of the most promising solutions for its reduction. Modelling of various plant configurations, with different natural refrigerants. Team leader of partner UNIUD in the FP7 Project “CommONEnergy: Re-Conceptualizing Shopping Malls From Consumerism To Energy Conservation”.


-       Investigation on growing conditions of corn salad in water saving floating systems.

Setting up of lab and field tests for the cultivation of corn salad at different water temperature controlled conditions in floating systems.


-       Modelling and design of air heating systems and water cooling systems in greenhouse

Temperature control in air and water for improving qualitatively and quantitatively the yield of soil-less cultivation of horticultural crops.


-       Design of equipments for process and sale of small quantity – high quality food.

This project was developed in the framework of MIERI project, a national research project funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, for the realization of small scale equipment for food processing and sale especially devoted to small rural enterprises.


-       Design of particular equipments for combined freezing and treatment of food.

Design of refrigerating systems for quick freezing with simultaneous treatments of food.


-       Solutions to reduce emissions to atmosphere of VOC by biofiltration: system design and management.

Abatement of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) from industrial emissions (e.g. wood painting) by means of biofilter. Industrial scale prototype, design and management.




      Member of the Commission B1 “Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer Processes”, IIF-IIR, International Institute of Refrigeration (1997 – 2008)

      Member of the “Comitato Tecnico Refrigerazione AICARR” (2007-2012)

      Member of the Commission D1 “Refrigerated Storage”, IIF-IIR, International Institute of Refrigeration (2009 – today)

      Member of the Sub-Commission D1 “Refrigerated Display Cabinets”, IIF-IIR, International Institute of Refrigeration (2000 – today)

      Member of the Management Board of Comitato Nazionale Italiano IIF/IIR " (CNIFR) (2012 – today)


      President of the Commission D1 “Refrigerated Storage”, IIF-IIR, International Institute of Refrigeration (2009 - 2015)

      Chairman of the Working Party “Energy Labelling in the Cold Chain”, Commissions C2, D1 and D2, IIF-IIR, International Institute of Refrigeration (2007 - 2018)

      Chairman of the Working Group "CTR-2 - Fluidi naturali e sintetici, componenti e sistemi nella tecnologia della refrigerazione commerciale e industriale", Comitato Tecnico Refrigerazione AICARR, (2007-2012)



      Member of Honour of the IIF-IIR, International Institute of Refrigeration (2015)



Responsible for participant UNIUD (role of partner or subcontractor) in the projects:

      1996 European Union Concerted Action EU DG XII CA (CT96-1180) "The Preservation of Quality and Safety in Frozen Foods Throughout TheDistribution Chain", Sub Group 4 "Retail Display".

      2001: QLRT-2001-02370 "ACME: Advanced Chilled Foods Modelling in Europe", Thematic Network, Key Action Food, Nutrition and Health, Topic 1.1 - 1.1.2.

      2004: FP6-517857-2 "EUROCOLDCHAIN: Innovative food refrigeration technologies and advanced logistics for a traceable, cost-effective, environmentally benign and consumer friendly cold chain throughout Europe", FP6, Call FP6-2004-FOOD-3-A, Topic

      2009: FP7-245208 "EUROCOLD: Innovative refrigeration technologies and advanced logistics for a sustainable and consumer friendly food cold chain accross Europe", FP7, Call FP7-KBBE-2009-3, Area 2.2.3 'Food Processing', Topic KBBE-2009-2-3-01.

      2009: L.R. 26/2005, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia. "Risparmio idrico ed energetico e salubrità nell'innovazione delle colture floating system", Dal 01-01-2009 al 31-12-2010.

      2009: Finanziamento MiPAAF: MIERI: "MIniaturizzazione e semplificazione di linee di trasformazione per piccole produzioni agroalimentari e impiego di Energie RInnovabili", funded by Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali

      2010: L.R. 26/2005, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia. "BIOIDRUCOLA: Ottimizzazione per il risparmio idrico ed il miglioramento qualitativo della rucola (fuori suolo e biologica) da IV gamma".

      2010: CIP-IEE-2010-271316 Proposal, "ZERO: Zero Emissions in Retail Operations", IEE, Call CIP-IEE-2010.1.1.

      PRIN 2010/11 “Implementazione della smart grid sul lato della domanda attraverso l'innovazione nelle tecnologie della refrigerazione e delle pompe di calore

      2011: CIP-IEE-2011 Proposal, "ZERO: Zero Carbon Emissions in Retail Operations", IEE, Call CIP-IEE-2011.4.4.

      2013: FP7 "CommONEnergy: Re-conceptualize shopping malls from consumerism to energy conservation", FP7, Grant agreement NMP2-LA-2013-608678, dal 1/10/2013 al 30/9/2017.

      PRIN 2015, Clean Heating and Cooling Technologies for an Energy Efficient Smart Grid, Cod. 28S2PA, Decree 0001827, 20/09/2016.

      PRIN 2017, FLEXHEAT, The energy FLEXibility of enhanced HEAT pumps for the next generation of sustainable buildings, Code 2017KAAECT, Decree 0000453 13/03/2019.



Reviewer for scientific journals

      Applied Energy

      ASME Journal of Electronic Packaging

      Applied Thermal Engineering

      Chemical Engineering and Processing

      Computer and Electronics in Agriculture

      Energy Policy

      Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science

      Food and Bioprocess Technology

      Heat Transfer Engineering

      International Journal of Energy Research

      International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer

      International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow

      International Journal of Refrigeration

      International Journal of Thermal Sciences

      Journal of Food Engineering

      Trends in Food Science and Technology



Refrigeration systems, heaters, commercial refrigeration, heat exchangers.

Most recent professional references:

      Arneg s.p.a., Marsango (PD), Italy, display cabinets for commercial refrigeration

      Simac Vetrella s.p.a., Treviso, Italy, ironing systems

      Incold s.p.a., Rovigo, Italy, cold rooms

      Electrolux s.p.a., Pordenone, Italy, household appliances

      De’Longhi s.p.a., Treviso, Italy, vacuum cleaners

      Rhoss s.p.a., Codroipo (PN), Italy, water chillers for air conditioning

      ITC s.a., San Marino, international trade of foodstuff

      Irinox S.p.a., Conegliano (TV), Italy, blast chillers

      Mondial Group, San Giorgio Monferrato (AL), Italy, commercial refrigeration

      Ushuaia s.r.l., Mereto di Tomba (UD), Italy, reversible heat pumps

      ISC Systems, Luvata group, Amaro (UD), Italy, automotive air conditioning maintenance equipment

      De Rigo Refrigeration, Trichiana (BL), Italy, refrigerated display cabinets

      Udine Mercati S.p.A, Udine, Italy, food logistics and trade

      Fogal srl, Ronchi dei Legionari (GO), Italy, plug-in refrigerated display cabinets.

      Eliwell, gruppo Schneider Electric, Alpago (BL), Italy, control systems for refrigeration.

      Geoclima,  (Ronchi dei Legionari (TS),Italy, chillers for HVAC

      EPTA Refrigeration, Milano (Italy), comercial refrigeration systems


Transfer of Technology

      Founding member of Associazione "Alimenti, Nutrizione e Salute ONLUS per la valorizzazione della cultura alimentare, la qualità degli alimenti, la prevenzione dei rischi alimentari e la promozione della salute nella popolazione mediante l'aumento delle conoscenze”.

      Founding member of Biosistemi s.r.l., a spin-off company from the University of Udine.

      Founding member within Biosistemi srl of the Contratto di rete “SERES - Sistemi Ecologici per la Riduzione Emissioni Solventi”

      Member of the Management Board of “Rete di Imprese SERES”


Other activities

Member of the Organising and Scientific Committees of International Congresses. Among the most recent ones:

      ICR 2011 - 23rd IIR International Congress of Refrigeration: Refrigeration for Sustainable Development, Praga, (CZ), 2011.

      4th Jordanian International Conference on Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Amman, Jordan, 2012.

      2nd International Conference on Sustainability and the Cold Chain, Paris (F), 2013.

      3rd International Conference on Sustainability and the Cold Chain, London (UK), 2014.

      ICR 2015 – 24th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration: Improving Quality of Life, Preserving the Earth, Yokohama, (JP), 2015.

      12th Gustav Lorentzen Natural Working Fluids Conference, Edinburgh (UK), 2016.

      +Agro 2018, Organizational Management, Energy Efficiency and Occupational Health and Safety in Agrifood Industry, Castelo Branco (P), 2018

      13th Gustav Lorentzen Natural Working Fluids Conference, Valencia (E), 2018.

      ICR 2019 – 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration. Montréal, (CAN), 2019.

      14th Gustav Lorentzen Natural Working Fluids Conference, Kyoto, (JP), 2020.