When discussing emissions, the focus is usually on reducing pollution from cars, trucks, and buses. However, there are other engines that are often overlooked but contribute significantly to carbon footprint.
One example is the auxiliary engines found in cold store trucks and semi trailers used for grocery delivery. These engines not only emit high levels of carbon dioxide but also lack proper pollution controls compared to modern vehicles.
As a result, auxiliary engines release pollutants like NOx, SOx, CO, VOCs, and particulates that have detrimental effects on public health. While some hybrid systems have attempted to improve efficiency by utilizing Power Take Off (PTO) or axle, they still increase fuel consumption and are not emission-free.
Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem. UK clean energy company Sunswap has announced that it’s developing fully-electric transport refrigeration units for trailers, powered by solar energy. It’s collaborating with the Canadian mobility consulting firm Vision Mobility to complete this work.
Sunswap’s trailers are equipped with solar panels connected to a battery. The battery then powers the electric motor responsible for the refrigeration system.
The battery can be recharged at the depot using a 400V socket. This innovation significantly reduces emissions, with up to 90% energy savings compared to traditional systems.
According to Cenex metrics, Sunswap’s technology can reduce CO2 emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 2 to 9 internal combustion (IC) cars from the road, and NOx emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 25 cars. Additionally, operating costs are greatly reduced.
Furthermore, the solar panels on these trailers have a larger surface area compared to those fitted on electric cars, and the power demand for the refrigeration system is much lower. This makes the entire system more practical and efficient.
It’s worth noting that the weight of Sunswap’s solar and battery unit is similar to that of a typical diesel-powered refrigeration unit, meaning there is no loss of payload.
Sunswap’s new electric refrigerated trailer presents a promising solution for reducing emissions in an area that most clean energy experts have neglected. By harnessing solar power, this innovative technology offers a sustainable alternative to polluting auxiliary engines, benefiting both the environment and operational costs.
Image Source: James Carter, https://shorturl.at/bEV19