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Tesco ‘fridging’ the gap to net zero

May 24, 2022
Joint initiative between UK-based Tesco and Marshall Fleet Solutions puts 100% solar-powered refrigerated units on the road.

UK grocery retailer Tesco recently introduced HGV trailers with refrigeration units powered by solar panels instead of traditional diesel engines.

The first 13.6-meter (44.6-foot) reefer based at Tesco’s Peterborough distribution center already is on the road and delivering stock to stores across the east of England, with three more destined for Peterborough later this year, the company said.

“Our distribution network is one of the largest in the UK and will play an important role in our efforts to become net zero by 2035,” said Cliff Smith, Tesco’s fleet engineering manager. “With our electric HGVs, electric home delivery vans, and now solar powered refrigeration units, Tesco is leading the way in electric haulage innovation, helping to tackle road transport emissions.”

Through a joint initiative with Marshall Fleet Solutions, Tesco expects to see each trailer save approximately 2,000 liters (528 gallons) of diesel per year, and more than 5 tonnes (5.5 U.S. tons) of carbon per year.

Each trailer roof is fitted with 12 lightweight Titan solar panels that store electrical energy in long-life, lithium batteries to provide power to the refrigeration unit.

Last year, Tesco last began trialing electric heavy freight articulated trucks to deliver goods to its distribution center in Magor, Wales, and launched a new fleet of home delivery vans powered by clean, green energy in Glasgow.

“With a significant trailer fleet, the successful use of solar-powered refrigerated trailers within the Tesco distribution operation cannot be underestimated, in terms of its significantly positive environmental impact,” said Mark Howell, MFS managing director.

“Both Tesco and MFS share similar sustainability and carbon reduction plans. As a result of MFS’s long association with Tesco as approved suppliers of Thermo King transport refrigeration systems, this initiative builds on the strength of this relationship, whilst helping to deliver on Tesco’s global sustainability goals.”

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