300722 Hultsteins Helps Salford Van Hire Slash 50 Tonnes Of Co2 Per Annum For Danish Crown1 1024x683

UK food supplier electrifies existing TRUs

July 7, 2022
Hultsteins’ Ecogen systems, supplied by Salford Van Hire, transform diesel transport refrigeration units into electric units, helping Danish Crown slash CO2 emissions.

Electric refrigeration specialist Hultsteins recently helped Salford Van Hire cut CO2 emissions for longstanding client Danish Crown.

The vehicle rental and leasing business supplies everything from cars to 44-tonne (48.5-ton) tractor units and trailers. It has assisted chilled meat supplier Danish Crown with its U.K. transport operation for more than 20 years and recently was tasked with helping the company achieve its vision of “climate-neutral” production, the companies said.

Danish Crown’s heavy vehicle fleet—one of the largest targets of the food supplier’s sustainability efforts—includes eight 13.6-meter (44.6-foot) refrigerated trailers and five DAF tractors supplied by Salford on a five-year contract agreement.

“It’s a modern fleet, and the company is constantly looking at how it can improve its carbon footprint,” said Steve McNally, Salford’s contracts and fleet engineering director. “We looked at a series of options, including the trailer fleet, which was fairly new, so it wasn’t practical to change the refrigeration units themselves.

“Also, if your starting point is the tractor unit, then it’s quite difficult to make significant changes, particularly with newer vehicles, so we needed to consider alternatives.”

The company turned to Hultsteins’ Ecogen range, which transforms existing diesel transport refrigeration units (TRUs) into electric TRUs. The system is fitted to the tractor and runs off the engine’s power take-off. It generates 400 volts, connects to the fridge motor via a five-pin plug, and converts the TRU of any trailer to which it couples into an emissions-free electric item, Hultsteins said.

“Environmental ‘best practice’ has for many years formed an integral part of the Danish Crown business,” said Mark Simmons, Danish Crown site director. “In addition to the fuel savings we expect to make—over 85% less expenditure on fridge diesel—we will also be slashing our CO2 emissions. Given that every liter of diesel burned produces 2.65 kgs of carbon, and our fridges will now run mostly on electricity from the Ecogen systems, we will be reducing emissions by around 50 tonnes (55.1 tons) every year.”

McNally called the Ecogen units “a simple way to reduce CO2” because they could be fitted to Danish Crown’s current trailer pool.

“The big benefit, compared with a lot of other electric options, is that it doesn’t matter what trailer you pull,” he said. “There’s no issue with matching up at all, and it will work with most late-model fridge units with a simple adjustment.

“It’s so unrestrictive, and one of the easiest and most effective options we could offer. It allowed us to convert Danish Crown’s trailers to electric immediately, and keep the existing fridge units in place, so it was a very economical way of improving the company’s carbon footprint. We replaced one of the tractor units early, so all of them could run on electric instantaneously but, other than that, the vehicles, the trailers, and the TRUs remained the same.”

Danish Crown’s entire articulated heavy vehicle fleet has been equipped with Hultsteins’ Ecogen units since early May, the companies report, rendering its TRUs emission-free. And McNally argued that the ability to retrofit the Ecogen units to existing vehicles is especially pertinent today give the widespread supply chain issues forcing operators to hold onto older vehicles and equipment beyond their typical replacement cycles.

“Supply issues mean that a lot of operators are running their vehicles and trailers for longer, because there are huge problems with lead times for replacements,” he said. “That makes a retrofit system like the Ecogen a much more practical and immediate solution.”

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