Decarbonizing the cold chain with battery and solar-powered refrigerated trailers
The new promising innovation for emission-free refrigerated trailers uses solar energy to power the Transport Refrigeration Units (TRU)
As an industry leader, TIP Group is pioneering different sustainable solutions for fuelling reefer units in order to enable the industry to become greener and more sustainable. In recent months, the company has launched two major innovations for the industry: the “E-reefer”, using the net to power its battery, and the “AxlePower”, using the reefer’s lost energy as a power source for its refrigeration unit.
To provide additional cost-effective and sustainable transportation solutions to its customers, TIP is now proud to launch the pilot of “Endurance”, a battery and solar-powered Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU).
Trailers will be equipped with Cold Chain Federation member Sunswap’s innovative battery and solar-powered refrigeration unit. These units use cutting-edge technology to provide reliable and sustainable cooling, removing the need for traditional diesel-powered refrigeration systems and helping to decarbonize the transportation industry’s cold chain.
The twelve-month pilot will be launched this summer. TIP already pre-ordered 40 battery and solar-powered TRU, with the first entering service in August 2023 for its customers.
Interim results findings will be announced later this year. The system is fully electric and depending on conditions, the solar panels can typically provide 65% to 100% of the charge needed to operate the refrigeration unit. This free green energy considerably reduces reliance on grid charging and costs. This will not only decrease a fleet’s carbon footprint but also provide a reliable source of energy to extend the range of the TRU.
Once the pilot project is completed, the technology could be deployed more widely by TIP, providing a best practice solution for the industry.
An advanced solar panel technology
The purpose of this pilot is to run the reefers completely on electricity during working hours. This innovative system will be tested using electricity from solar panels, which saves fleet operators up to 90% of the operating cost of a diesel refrigerator.
Every component in The Endurance has been designed to use as little power from the battery as possible, without compromising on performance. Another advantage is the adaptive battery capacity, which allows the customer to optimize their drive by only carrying the weight needed.
Fast onboard charges and solar panels mean that the unit can be fully recharged without any additional downtime between routes. Previous trials have shown that a single charge can power the system for:
- 24 hours at frozen temperatures
- 2 days at multiple compartment temperatures
- 3 months at chilled temperatures (using free clean solar energy)
The units are able to complete the same delivery cycles as diesel units without any operational disruption, making the Endurance a promising alternative to diesel fridges.
The expertise of the partners:
TIP has 55 years of expertise in managing reefer trailers which proved to be crucial in this collaboration to create this new type of reefer, that should be easy to operate, maintenance friendly, economically viable and which can be mounted to any trailer brand and type. Innovations and Sustainability are key pillars for strategic growth and TIP strongly believes that Sunswap brings its expertise in solar and battery engineering for decarbonizing the cold chain.
“Our partnership with Sunswap allows us to offer our customers another sustainable solution for their refrigerated trailer fleet management needs. We are excited to be at the forefront of the industry in implementing green technology to reduce our carbon footprint.”, explains Rogier Laan, Vice President Sales and Marketing at TIP Group.
Sunswap manufactures The Endurance, a battery and solar-powered Transport Refrigeration Unit that is a viable alternative to diesel-powered TRUs. This innovation meets the most challenging route requirements, saves significantly on Total Cost of Ownership and supports a net zero strategy.
Michael Lowe, Sunswap CEO, says “I am excited by how TIP Group and Sunswap can support fleet operators throughout Europe to break their dependence on diesel and transition towards environmentally friendly technology to reach net zero targets. The industry continues to step up and is ready to meet the demand for our tried and tested, cost-effective, sustainable transport refrigeration solution.”
For more information, interviews, and high-resolution photographs contact Rogier Laan, Vice President Sales and Marketing at TIP, Rogier.Laan@tip-group.com
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