TIP trials solar-powered reefers

TIP has committed to a 12-month trial of a zero-emission, battery and solar-powered transport refrigeration unit (TRU).

Named ‘Endurance’ and designed and manufactured by UK-based, clean technology company, Sunswap, the trailer will have solar panels fitted to the roof.  In combination with a first-of-its-kind modular battery and energy-efficient system, the unit will  provide an emission free solution to power the trailer’s refrigeration unit.

“We are always looking for solutions that allow our customers a clear path to decarbonisation of their transport operation, and we anticipate a successful trial of the Sunswap TRU system to contribute towards that,” said TIP UK and Ireland Managing Director, Mike Furnival. “We are looking forward to monitoring the results.”

While the TRU is ‘trailer agnostic,’ it is fitted to a Chereau manufactured reefer from the Reefer Trailer Centre that has had its specification optimised for efficiency. The trailer will operate as part of a TIP customer fleet on UK roads, with the company keen to establish whether the zero emission TRU functions at least as effectively as if powered by diesel, without causing detriment to the transport operation it is assigned to. That includes no incremental operational ‘downtime’ being needed for re-charging purposes.

The TRU is connected to the cloud and capable of collecting thousands of data points in real-time, to ensure fridge components are kept within optimised operating parameters to maximise performance and efficiency. Throughout the trial, TIP will be receiving regular ‘performance’ reports from Sunswap’s suite of analytics products.

“The trailer on trial is predicted to demonstrate that around 80 per cent of the refrigeration unit’s power requirement can be drawn from the solar panels,” said Sunswap head of business development, Alastair Gough. “Our experiences to date have indicated that the system can be operated at between 10 and 20 per cent of the cost of diesel units.”

Managing Director of the Reefer Trailer Centre, James Jenkins, said it is important to be involved with as many solution providers as possible.

“Sunswap has certainly caught the attention of the industry and we are happy to be involved with them,” he said.

In other news, Constellation Cold Logistics has pledged its support for an environmental movement intended to raise the temperature of refrigerated transport freezers.


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