Evolving hybrid reefers

Evolving hybrid reefers

Fleets will be the beneficiaries as hybrid reefer technology continues to improve

Fleets that specify hybrid reefers fit a specific profile. Primarily, they are larger fleets that have a sustainability metric in place, which includes ways to reduce emission—and these fleets are really leading the way toward greater acceptance of the technology. But they are not only pioneering the new reefers, they are benefiting from the cutting edge technology that is helping them better serve their customers.

Evolving hybrid technology
Hybrid reefer technology can be divided into two primary types: electric standby units that rely on diesel operation over-the-road with the ability to plug into an electric power source at the dock (like Thermo King’s SmartPower and Carrier’s Deltek), and true over-the-road hybrid operation, which utilizes alternator power or stored battery electricity to power the unit, without diesel power, while the unit is driving down the road (like Thermo King’s Hybrid SmartPower).

Electric standby
Thermo King truck and trailer units are available with SmartPower electric standby operation, which allows for the unit to be run on electric shore power when at the dock, saving fuel and virtually eliminating emissions. SmartPower, which Thermo King has been refining for over 50 years, also reduces noise, lowers maintenance costs, extends the lifespan of the reefer and cuts operating costs by up to 75%.
Thermo King has added a high-output version of SmartPower, which is available on select Thermo King trailer units. The addition of the new SmartPower HO provides the choice of a 24 HP high-output electric standby option or the existing 14 HP version.

The option delivers quicker pre-cool and less run time for customers hauling larger frozen loads, along with a greater overall cooling capacity.
“In trailer systems currently available in the marketplace, a diesel engine is required to operate the refrigeration system while the truck is going over the road. In distribution centers where there is loading and unloading, electric power is available to help reduce emissions and save fuel while docked,” says Tom Kampf, trailer product manager at Thermo King. “The adoption of electric standby continues to grow at a significant rate.”

Over-the-road hybrid operation
In addition to SmartPower electric standby, Thermo King also has developed a true over-the-road Hybrid SmartPower option, which the company says uses the stored energy from the truck chassis battery system to run the refrigeration unit electrically over the road. This technology reduces energy consumption and noise while maintaining product temperature effectively.
 Hybrid SmartPower unit has three modes of operation:
•Tier-4 Diesel Engine
•Hybrid SmartPower supplied by truck lithium ion batteries
•SmartPower supplied by shore power
Other characteristics of Hybrid SmartPower include:
• Utilizes Chassis Export Power (i.e. battery pack or alternator/generator)
• Up to 60% less fuel
• Up to 60% less emissions
• Up to 87% less noise and vibration
• Extends life of reefer engine and lower annual maintenance cost

“This technology is a direct response to customers’ requests for help in meeting their sustainability goals,” says Scott Bates, truck product manager at Thermo King. “We’ve made significant progress in fuel, emissions and noise reduction.”
Carrier Transicold’s hybrid reefer, Vector 6600MT, is a multi-temperature trailer refrigeration system designed to improve capacity while reducing fuel consumption and emissions, the company said. The unit provides up to 20% greater fuel efficiency than its predecessor, the 1800MT, Carrier said.

According to David Kiefer, director of marketing and product management for Carrier Transicold, “Whether your needs are for single-temperature long hauls or multi-temperature distribution for the grocery and food service industries, Carrier hybrid technology now offers capacities that are comparable to, or exceed, our industry-leading conventional refrigeration units.”

The Vector 6600MT has 9% more capacity than Carrier’s original multi-temperature hybrid and 15% more than the nearest multi-temperature competitor at the same conditions, the company said. At a set point of -20 degrees F, the capacity is as much as 15% greater than the conventional unit. Deltek technology uses its diesel engine exclusively to drive a high-performance 20KVA electric generator that powers an all-electric refrigeration system, according to the company.

Maintaining hybrid reefers
As for maintaining hybrid reefers, technicians are going to need to be aware that these new units have fewer mechanical parts and more sophisticated electrical components, including inverters. As a result, diagnostics are going to play a more important role in troubleshooting problems and servicing units.

According to Bates, Thermo King has improved and upgraded the T-Series diagnostic capabilities, adding more detailed downloads, in addition to making sure Thermo King technicians at over 200 locations nationwide are certified in hybrid maintenance.  FE

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