LONDON — A new zero-emission refrigeration system for transportation applications, developed in the United Kingdom, which delivers both power and cooling from liquid nitrogen, has begun on-vehicle testing. Dearman said the system, which features the company’s liquid nitrogen-powered engine, has already produced promising results.

The new liquid nitrogen-powered technology has been developed as a zero-emission alternative to existing diesel transport refrigeration units. The Dearman system is being tested as part of an Innovate UK backed project — Cool-E — that is being managed by a consortium of MIRA, Dearman, Air Products, and Loughborough University.

A program of on-vehicle testing has begun and will continue through the summer, but initial test results have indicated that the system is able to cool a trailer more quickly than a conventional diesel refrigeration unit. Initial testing has also served to validate the principles behind the system, demonstrating that it can successfully provide a zero-emission alternative to conventional cooling equipment.

Discussing the project, Toby Peters, founder and senior group managing director of Dearman, said, “This is a key moment in the development of cutting edge, zero-emission clean cold and power technology. With the global demand for cooling, and transport refrigeration in particular, growing extremely rapidly, we are faced with an environmental challenge but also an economic opportunity. The fact that our system is running, and that it has already delivered very promising results, highlights the role that Dearman technology can play in meeting the inescapable need for sustainable cooling.

“Moreover, this milestone demonstrates rapid progress. Getting such an innovative technology into operation in such a short time is a real achievement and highlights the strength of our engineering, the applicability of our innovation, the capability of our partners, and most importantly the dedication of our people.”

Chris Reeves, commercial manager of future transport technologies at MIRA, said, “We are proud to be leading the Cool-E consortium and the outstanding effort made by everyone to reach this key milestone in such a short space of time. We are now looking forward to evaluating and refining the system and building on the outstanding results to date.”

Jon Trembley at Air Products said, “This project is already showing how R&D can help solve environmental challenges in a commercially viable way. By linking up with UK government and leveraging the expertise of companies such as ourselves, advancements in combined cold and power technology can not only be realized, but can also play an important role in the country’s progression towards a low carbon future.”

Dr. Andy Williams at Loughborough University said, “Cold energy stores such as liquid nitrogen or liquid air have over 10 times the cooling capacity than the heat they can absorb. It is exciting to see the Dearman engine enabling access to this extra cooling power within the Cool-E project, paving the way for future cold energy technologies.”

This system has the potential to displace a significant amount of diesel fuel. A diesel-powered transport refrigeration unit accounts for up to 20 percent of a vehicle’s total diesel usage, so moving to this technology would enable operators to achieve substantial operational cost savings per vehicle each year, as well as see major environmental benefits.

Building on the Cool-E project, the first Dearman engine powered transport refrigeration unit is expected to go into commercial field trial later this year, with larger scale European and international trials to begin in 2016.

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Publication date: 4/20/2015

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