Warm to icy beer in seconds

By James Ihaka

A young New Zealand inventor has found a solution to the unpalatable problem of a can of warm beer - a device that turns a tepid beverage into a cold drink within seconds.

And the portable gadget, which has a cooling capacity almost four times that of regular ice with the advantage that it doesn't water down your drink, could spell the end of lugging a heavy chilly bin to the beach.

The penny dropped for Kent Hodgson, a 22-year-old student from Albany, while having a few quiet ones around a barbecue with his mates early this year.

"We brought along a box of beers which was warm so we put them in the freezer to cool them down.

"I thought how cool would it be if we could replicate that. I mean, no one likes warm beer or a diluted drink and I was inspired."

Mr Hodgson calls his invention Huski, which is among the 30 exhibits from top graduates of Massey University's Auckland School of Design at the three-day Design Exposure 2007 beginning today at Britomart Pavilion.

He explained the rapid cooling beverage process he mastered as being "extremely simple".

"You have plastic cooling cells which are pressed down into the dock which houses the liquid carbon dioxide.

The liquid CO2 expands and is pressurised into dry ice in the base of the cooling cells ... in a moment.

"You then pop it into your drink and then proceed from there as you normally would."

With a surface temperature of minus 78.5C, dry ice has a cooling capacity almost four times that of the same amount of regular ice.

"The cooling power is almost instant and is utilised for several minutes and it doesn't dilute the drink like ice would," said Mr Hodgson.

One canister can fill thirty 330 ml bottles at a cost of 7c each, which makes it an ideal alternative for those who don't want to lug around a chilly bin during the summer.

Mr Hodgson said he was looking at patenting the Huski, which he expects to retail at around $50.

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