Refrigeratedtransporter 1739 Sainsbury Reefer Truck

Sainsbury’s to conduct test of reefer truck cooled by liquid nitrogen engine

June 24, 2016
United Kingdom-based Sainsbury’s has become the first company in the world to introduce a refrigerated delivery truck cooled by a liquid nitrogen-powered engine.

United Kingdom-based Sainsbury’s has become the first company in the world to introduce a refrigerated delivery truck cooled by a liquid nitrogen-powered engine.

Supplied by cooling technology specialist Dearman and its partners, the zero-emission cooling unit replaces the traditional diesel engine used to chill the vehicle and will significantly cut emissions.

During a three-month trial, the vehicle will save up to 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide; the equivalent of driving more than 14,500 kilometers in a car. The trial will also eliminate 37 kg of nitrogen oxides and 2 kg of particulate matter, compared with a similar diesel system. The truck will operate from Sainsbury’s Waltham Point depot, delivering chilled goods to stores in the London area.

Based on the Dearman engine, the new system harnesses rapid expansion of liquid nitrogen to deliver zero-emission power and cooling. Traditionally many refrigerated trucks require two diesel engines—one to power the vehicle and one for the refrigeration unit. By replacing the latter, Dearman believes a more sustainable solution for refrigeration may soon be widely adopted on Britain’s roads.

Paul Crewe, head of sustainability for Sainsbury’s, said, “As one of Britain’s biggest retailers, we really recognize the importance of reducing emissions, which is why we’re working hard to cut carbon emissions by 30% between 2005 and 2020. This trial with Dearman is just one of the innovations we’ve introduced to help us toward this goal. Their zero-emission system is really exciting—to be running a liquid air engine quite literally means our cooling is running on thin air.”

The trial is the latest in a series of innovations from Sainsbury’s. Following a trial in 2013, it became the first company to use CO2 as a natural refrigerant and now has three trucks with cooling fueled by this method. Earlier in 2016, the company introduced R-452A as a transport cooling agent and announced that all new refrigeration units would run on this. R-452A will help reduce emissions by 45% compared with R404A more commonly used. Assessment of the success of the trial will be considered, along with operational cost, for any potential rollout of the technology.

The new liquid nitrogen-powered engine has been designed with safety in mind. Unlike traditional fuels, liquid nitrogen is a non-flammable substance used in industry and food preparation and is transported safely on the UK’s road network. It has been provided, along with the refueling infrastructure, by Air Products.

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