London is one of over 70 European cities and towns preparing “Low Emission Zones”, or “Environment Zones” to help meet the health-based air quality standards. Joe Grealy, Director, Strategic Industry Relations, Ingersoll Rand Climate Control Technologies ESA, provides an insight into how Thermo King’s patented cryogenic temperature control system fits into the wider picture. Joe explained: “Municipal authorities in major European cities are becoming increasingly concerned about the air quality and noise levels resulting from the growth in inner city traffic. At the same time, there has been a reversal of the trends to move out of these large cities due to the cost of commuting and the loss of personal time associated with traffic congestion on commuter routes.
“People returning to major urban environments expect decent air quality and noise levels where they work and live. They also need to shop locally, and expect a wide variety of food available 24 hours a day. This has spawned the growth of smaller inner city stores needing to be restocked regularly throughout the day or night.
“To meet these quality of life goals some municipal authorities have imposed partial or temporary restrictions on access to centre city areas for certain types of vehicles during curfew hours. Thermo King’s patented cryogenic temperature control system can successfully help address these apparently conflicting objectives.
“With a cryogenic system the diesel engine is replaced with a tank of liquid CO2. While use of CO2 may seem to be at odds with the goal of reducing the emissions of gases known to cause global warming, the CO2 system used by Thermo King is a byproduct of other industrial chemical processes. If secondary uses are not found for this CO2, it will be released to the atmosphere anyway. As a secondary use of the CO2 and not derived from the burning of fossil fuels, it does not contribute to global warming.
“When cooling is required liquid CO2 flows from the vacuum insulated tank mounted on the truck chassis into the evaporator in the cargo area. Unlike other cryogenic systems, no CO2 is placed in the cargo area. Once the CO2 passes through the evaporator it is exhausted to atmosphere. Not only are the exhaust emissions from the diesel engine in the mechanical system, the cryogenic system operates almost silently, eliminating noise.
“As Thermo King can supply the cryogenic system in a multi compartment version – allowing both chilled and frozen food to be carried in the same vehicle – it usually only requires one vehicle to supply the complete range of perishable products to the inner city shops, reducing the trucks entering the city.”
He concludes: “The TK Cryogenic product offering is an ideal solution to the competing objectives of reducing noise and exhaust pollution, simultaneously providing inner city dwellers with a large range of perishable products without having to leave the city to visit out of town hypermarkets.”