DHL nitrogen trials with Nisa

Harlow, UK:  Nisa and DHL are to trial nitrogen-powered truck refrigeration systems for distribution and store deliveries.

DHL is to run two vehicles as part of the trial on a Nisa contract: a new Volvo 26t rigid with Solomon Slipstream body and an 11-m tandem axle Gray and Adams refrigerated trailer built last year.

The vehicles will use a cryogenic refrigeration system powered by liquid nitrogen.  “This is the start of the introduction of nitrogen fridges and although they have been on trial before, they have never got this far,” says Duncan Vavangas, divisional engineer, DHL Supply Chain, Engineering Services.

“If a success the potential to fit the nitrogen system to other delivery vehicles will be huge.  There are many hidden benefits apart from the cost savings on fuel, CO2 and the noiseless operation.

M1 Transport Refrigeration, the authorised dealer for natureFridge in the UK, supplies the natureFridge system.  The system will go into service at Nisa’s Harlow hub in March.  Gas supplier Air Liquide at the Nisa/DHL Harlow depot will install a bespoke filling system and gas storage tank.

“DHL are always looking at ways to add innovation for our customers especially under the environmental and cost saving umbrella,” Vavangas says.

The main attractions of the system for DHL are fuel savings and thus CO2 savings as well as no noise that suits Nisa’s inner city delivery applications, Vavangas says.  “It’s a big step in the innovation direction away from the conventional diesel fridge,” he says.

“Nisa and DHL are to be congratulated for taking the initiative and embracing an environmentally-friendly, high-performance, refrigeration solution where others are reluctant: they are first to use natureFridge in the UK,” says Liam Olliff, managing director, M1 Transport Refrigeration, part of the M1 Group.

Last year Asda ran seven vehicles on a trial of the similar EcoFridge system.

The DHL trial of natureFridge will demonstrate the operational and environmental benefits of natureFridge, says Olliff.  “The system has low maintenance and low running costs.  It is also silent in operation and produces no CO2 emissions.  By comparison a typical diesel fridge trailer doing 2.5k hours per annum will produce up to 23-25 tonnes of carbon.”

“There is also improved refrigeration performance.  The natureFridge system pulls down up to three times faster and has consistent temperature to plus/minus 1 degree throughout the load space: there are no hot spots and there is no top freezing,” he says.

Nisa is a member owned organisation that helps independent food and drink retailers and wholesalers.  Nisa represents 964 retailers operating 4,000 stores enabling them to trade under their own fascia or the Nisa brand.

NatureFridge, sold in the UK by M1 Transport Refrigeration, is made by a Ukrainian based company that previously sold the EcoFridge system first developed in 2001 by Prof Roland Gavrylov.  NatureFridge is a refinement, borne from the various trials carried out over the last four years, of the environmentally friendly, cryogenic, vehicle-refrigeration system that cools cargo through direct injection of liquid nitrogen into the cargo space.

“We sell a greener and cheaper alternative to conventional refrigeration systems,” says Liam Olliff, managing director, M1 Transport Refrigeration.

“NatureFridge is completely silent running, produces zero CO2 emissions and achieves a much faster temperature pulldown with no top freezing.  The system has no compressor or moving parts,” he says.

A typical rigid system with 650-litre nitrogen tank storing gas at 1.5-bar tank will last up to 26-hours between filling depending on the load temperature and outside temperature.  A 950-litre trailer system will last up to 39-hours between fills.  For mixed frozen and chilled loads with frequent door openings the consumption rate will be higher as is the case with any refrigeration system.

“It offers users a saving of 25-tonnes of CO2 per trailer per year.  And that also means a significant fuel saving.  Every hour an average diesel powered refrigeration unit consumes about 4 litre of diesel and emits 10.52kg of CO2.  NatureFridge eliminates all that,” he says.

Nitrogen is an inert gas and environmentally friendly.  The nitrogen removes oxygen from the load space so requires venting to atmosphere, which takes between 90 and 120-seconds depending on ambient temperature, before the operator can enter the trailer.  A safety gate prevents access to load space until venting is complete.

A 4-page report on nitrogen cryogenics is available