As the trucking industry moves across to a zero carbon future the cold chain will have to re-examine the technology mix and drive a refrigeration transition across to zero carbon systems, introducing Refrigeration Transition, Part One, with the help of Revora.
This article is the first in a series outlining the issues faces by refrigerated transport and offering some possible solutions.
The current refrigeration technology used in the refrigerated trucking is dependent on the use of diesel as a fuel in both trailers and rigid refrigerated trucks. The transition cannot be a simple transfer from diesel to electric power as there will be issues around compatibility between systems used when the truck is on the road and when it has access to shore power at loading and unloading sites, as well as home depots.
The inevitability of the road to zero carbon means the industry needs to be prepared for the changes which will be needed in order for the cold chain to meet its zero carbon requirements. Even though governmental initiatives are talking about long term goals in 10, 20 or 30 years time, clauses about meeting stringent environmental standards are already appearing in transport contracts with the large cold chain players.
For all freight operators there are organisational and operational barriers to face in the transition and an operation will need to make commitment to start moving down the carbon reduction path to stay in business long-term.
The first step on this road to zero is the decision to start doing something about the issue. It needs the organisation to make a commitment to change and then to resolve to educate the organisation about the options which will become available to enable.
It doesn’t matter where the motivation to change comes from, whether it be from customers, contracts or within the business, the important issue is to make that initial step towards innovation and develop a route for the operation to a zero emission future. For anyone involved in the cold chain one of the major energy users is the way the goods are refrigerated.
A zero carbon operation needs suitably equipped trucks and loading an unloading sites to support the operational and site constraints of working in a carbon free environment.
For refrigeration fleets the task is tougher as the fridge is an energy draw on the truck systems and with low carbon equipment, energy saving is very important.
It starts with the need for efficient bodies and fridges, something that Eurocold and it partners IsoKit and Carrier are all expert in. The fridge will increase energy use and reduce an EV’s range. To what extent depends on the operation (set temperature/ambient temperature/loading practices) but it’s certainly an impact.
Payload is a challenge in some sectors, particularly at 4.5 tonnes GVM and axle mass in larger trucks. This may result in larger electric trucks being required for a given body size. Revora has done extensive work across dozens of EV models to consider what works.
Fleets will likely need to change operational behaviour to accommodate EVs, sometimes this is a positive like operating silently at night or without polluting fumes.
Getting energy back in a zero carbon truck is as important as operating it, matching the solution to the task and the site is the key to a cost effective solution. Revora embraces the concept: The slower the better but fast enough to consistently fulfil the task.
Get the next instalment in this series, in the PowerTorque magazine and online, with details on the options for refrigerated transporters for zero emissions operation explained.