Hydro-electric cooling trials begin

A new engineless hydro-electric cooling system for refrigerated lorries has gone on trial, in the UK. It delivers temperature controlled goods for a well-known hotel chain.

Two trucks operated by Kuehne + Nagel for its client, Whitbread, will deliver breakfast goods overnight to its Premier Inn hotels. They are equipped with the system, developed by refrigeration specialist, Carrier Transicold, at its base in Warrington, Cheshire.

The PIEK-compliant (a standardised European noise level), multi-temperature ‘Iceland’ units are mounted to an 18-tonne low-entry Mercedes-Benz Econic and a 26-tonne DAF CF, both on contract from Petit Forestier. The trial is part of a £1.76 million investment by K + N into low emissions vehicles after it was awarded a £1.08 million grant via the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK.

The units were selected for their ability to run entirely on hydro-electric power generated by the trucks’ Euro 6 engines, removing the need for a separate engine, to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

Both have been specified with R452A refrigerant, which has the same cooling capacity, fuel efficiency, reliability and refrigerant charge as the industry standard R404A, but offers a 45% reduction in GWP (global warming potential – a measure of how much a gas contributes to global warming).

Brodie McMillan, logistics director for Whitbread, said, “If these units deliver the benefits we’re expecting, Kuehne + Nagel will be looking to introduce the same technology into our delivery fleet, reducing the environmental impact of our vehicles and helping to improve air quality.”