Moran Plugs in and Hits the Gas with a Little Help from Hultsteins
Temperature-controlled transport and warehousing specialist & Cold Chain Federation member Moran Logistics has boosted sustainability for a key client by fitting another Cold Chain Federation member Hultsteins’ Ecogen units to its gas-powered trucks.
The company operates a pair of Scania tractor units, which run on CNG and are used to transport chilled produce from a national distribution centre to stores around the country, as part of a contract with a large retail customer. Both the client and the operator were keen to improve sustainability, so Moran Logistics began investigating ways to render the transport refrigeration units (TRUs) more efficient last year.
“We have a very clear plan to achieve our net zero goals and had the opportunity to work with one of our key customers to support this,” says Lee Graham, Moran Logistics’ Managing Director.
“With diesel prices going up and refrigerated trailers moving from red to white diesel, we were looking at whether a low-carbon piece of equipment could power the fridges on the trailers while they were running, so that we would reduce our carbon footprint and become less reliant on diesel.”
The company settled on Hultsteins’ Ecogen system, which can be retrofitted to any tractor unit with an engine power take-off and converts existing diesel TRUs to run on electricity. It generates 400 volts and easily connects to the fridge motor via a five-pin plug. In addition to adapting TRUs to emissions-free power, the Ecogen system represents a highly cost-effective method for operators to adopt cleaner refrigeration systems, because there is no requirement to replace existing trailers or TRUs.
Moran Logistics took delivery of its two Ecogen units in summer 2021, and Lee believes they are particularly useful for operators with trucks that spend a lot of time on the road.
“The Ecogen units power the fridge while the truck is running, and our vehicles typically do ten-hour days with around three delivery stops. If that vehicle is on the road for, say, eight or nine hours, then that’s where we’re seeing the savings, because they’re drawing electric power around 80% of the time. In terms of cost and carbon emissions from the fridges, that’s 80% better than before.”
He adds that the systems have also been a breeze from an operational perspective, particularly when it comes to connecting to trailers. “They’re easy to use, because they just plug straight in to a three-phase plug on the trailer, so it’s business as usual for the drivers.”
Moran Logistics will continue to expand its line-up of gas-powered trucks and is looking into further clean power initiatives, such as fitting solar panels to the top of its trailers.
“We’re constantly looking at how can achieve our sustainability aims as well as operating more efficiently” says Lee, “it’s the right thing to do, it makes financial sense and further strengthens our partnership with our customer.”
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