UK retailer Sainsbury’s has become the first customer in the world to take delivery of Carrier Transicold’s prototype natural refrigerant trailer unit – a new generation of transport refrigeration system for trailers that operates exclusively with carbon dioxide (CO₂) refrigerant, which has a global warming potential (GWP) of just one. Carrier Transicold, which operates in the UK as Carrier Transicold UK, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The delivery marks the first of three units to join the Sainsbury’s fleet this year as part of a three-year technology field trial. It builds on the success of a 2013 pilot, which saw the supermarket operate a modified road version of Carrier Transicold’s NaturaLINE™ refrigeration system for ocean containers – making it the first naturally refrigerated trailer operating anywhere in the world.
The new prototype system uses advanced technology from the NaturaLINE refrigeration system, assembled inside a traditional Carrier Vector™ unit chassis and powered by the same patented E-Drive™ all-electric technology as Carrier Transicold’s existing Vector range. It stands out for its use of the natural refrigerant CO₂, also known as R744, in a closed-loop system.
“Delivering the first dedicated natural refrigerant trailer prototype into service marks a huge milestone in the development of over-the-road refrigeration using CO₂,” said David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. “Our ultimate vision is to see temperature-controlled units running on natural refrigerant in mainstream production. Today, with the support of one of our largest European customers, we are one step closer.”
CO₂ is a safe and non-ozone depleting gas with a global warming potential of one, making it the baseline against which all other refrigerants are measured. The GWP of CO₂ is also lower than other natural refrigerants, such as propane and ammonia.
“We’re thrilled to be working closely with Carrier Transicold as they spearhead this innovation,” added Gary King, operations support manager, Sainsbury’s. “The beauty of Carrier Transicold’s prototype trailer unit is it delivers a massive reduction in F-Gases by using natural refrigerant. This will directly help us achieve our ambitious environmental and sustainability goals, whilst delivering a seismic leap forward in terms of sustainability within the cold chain.”
Sainsbury’s has taken a leading position in testing the new Carrier Transicold innovation in a real-life trial, with the trailers being used for everyday store deliveries. Since the first NaturaLINE trial commenced in 2013, interest in natural refrigerant systems for road transport has been elevated.
The first of the three new prototype trailers to enter service with Sainsbury’s is a 13.6 metre dual-compartment tri-axle reefer, manufactured in the UK by Gray & Adams. The unit was installed by a specialist team from Carrier Transicold in North America, who worked alongside technicians at Carrier Transicold North West in Liverpool.
About Carrier Transicold
Carrier Transicold helps improve transport and shipping of temperature controlled cargoes with a complete line of equipment and services for refrigerated transport and cold chain visibility. For more than 45 years, Carrier Transicold has been an industry leader, providing customers around the world with advanced, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable container refrigeration systems and generator sets, direct-drive and diesel truck units, and trailer refrigeration systems. Carrier Transicold is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For more information, visit www.transicold.carrier.com. Follow Carrier on Twitter: @SmartColdChain.