The Cold Chain Federation has recently released a new guide entitled ‘The Journey To Emission Free Refrigeration On-Road Vehicles’. After 18 months of research, this paper seeks to support those within the cold chain industry to find a way past one of the key barriers against a move to net-zero – diesel-powered vehicles. But how much support is needed? And how realistic are the goals set out?

What Does the Guide Discuss?

The main discussion within the new guide is a plan to move all refrigeration vehicles away from diesel as the primary power source. With approximately 30,000 registered trailers and 40,000 vans/rigid vehicles within the temperature-controlled distribution field, this poses a complicated and extensive task. By 2025, the CCF wants a ban put in place to prevent truck fridges from being sold in the UK that have a global warming potential in excess of 300. It also asks that any distribution fridges sold after 2029 be powered by an alternative fuel.

Challenges for Net-Zero

The key challenge when it comes to this move to net-zero is the significant transition to emission-free refrigeration. To date, the technology available isn’t advanced enough to offer the same consistent reliability that so many within the cold chain rely on. Many existing vehicles have a low power outlet anyway and remain exempt from previous emissions regulations. However, 2019 saw new engines below 19kW included back into the existing standards which have changed the outlook for those in the industry. Pure diesel is utilised for its reliability however the impact this could potentially have on the environment is significant. Some businesses are looking towards hybrid solutions that allow for use with diesel and electricity. This gives drivers additional flexibility, switching to electric when driving through built-up areas and city centres to reduce emissions here.

There are also cryogenic units in use in the Netherlands. In these situations, the temperature-controlled load is cooled using liquid carbon dioxide. This is sourced as a by-product from other industries. However, this method requires a consistent and reliable supply of CO2 to slot into our complex cold chain in the UK.

Our team here at Iceotemp are interested to see what technologies emerge as a result of this report and will be making efforts on our side to reduce emissions and move towards net-zero too. If you have any questions about our temperature-controlled services or would like to speak to one of our specialist teams, please do get in contact with us here today.