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Credit: eNow

Clean Transport

XL Fleet And eNow Collaborate To Reduce Emissions From Refrigerated Trailers

XL Fleet and eNow are working together to bring solar powered refrigerated trailers to the US market.

When was the last time you thought about the emissions from refrigerated trailers? The answer for most people is probably “never.” We assume the fruits and vegetables at our local supermarket come from local farms. Meats probably come from local butchers as well, right? All those frozen foods somehow magically appear in the freezer cases, too.

Actually, most of the food we eat is transported over long distances in refrigerated trucks that rely on diesel engines to power the air conditioning units that keep the products inside cold. More than 50,000 new refrigerated trailers are sold every year in US, joining the hundreds of thousands already in service. Each one of them can create as many exhaust emissions as a typical diesel powered delivery truck. If we are concerned about diesel emissions, we shouldn’t overlook the contribution to the problem made by refrigerated trailers.

XL Fleet and eNow are teaming up to promote electrified Class 8 refrigerated trailers. In a press release, the companies said, “This partnership will change the way the transportation industry thinks about energy and refrigerated transportation, as together we will offer the most advanced renewable power systems for reefer trailers, coupled with charging infrastructure, to eliminate a major source of diesel fuel consumption and emissions for fleets.”

XL Fleet and eNow are collaborating on the design and development of the system that will power electrically powered Class 8 refrigerated transportation units as a replacement for conventional diesel powered trailers. XL Fleet is developing the integrated lithium-ion battery and power electronics technology that will be installed under the floor of the Class 8 trailers. The system will provide about 12 hours of run time between charges.

In an email to CleanTechnica, Jeff Flath, CEO of eNow, said, “XL Fleet’s mission to help corporations and their fleets lower operating costs while supporting sustainability goals aligns closely with ours. This partnership will change the way the transportation industry thinks about energy and refrigerated transportation, as together we will offer the most advanced renewable power systems for reefer trailers, coupled with charging infrastructure, to eliminate a major source of diesel fuel consumption and emissions for fleets.”

eNow’s patented system captures the sun’s energy with solar panels mounted on the roof of the eTRU trailers and stores it in auxiliary batteries mounted beneath the floor of the trailer. That energy can be used to power lift gates, in-cab HVAC, trailer refrigeration, and telematics as well as appliances and lighting.

The 480 volt 3 phase power available at most freight terminals will be used to charge the batteries and power the eTRU during loading and unloading operations or when it is otherwise idle. The system is equipped with a thermal management system to enable year round operation across North America. XL Grid will assist customers who need new charging or expanded charging infrastructure. It also will offer financing and leasing options to its customers.

eTRUs deliver a lower total cost of ownership and are more environmentally friendly than the diesel powered units currently in use today. They can be hauled by traditional internal combustion engine or electrified tractors and offer a way for fleet managers to significantly reduce emissions. XL Fleet and eNow expect to deliver the first eTRUs beginning in the first half of 2022 to customers in industries including food, retail, manufacturing, and distribution.

These two companies are not the only companies intent on reducing emissions from refrigerated trailers. United Natural Foods in California is also experimenting with solar-powered trailers, as is Renault in Europe. It’s all part of the general trend to electrify everything that moves in order to lower carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.

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