Logistics specialist Gist has partnered with cleantech engineering firm Sunswap to trial a zero-emission, solar and battery powered transport refrigeration unit (TRU) within its temperature controlled distribution fleet.
Sunswap is a start-up business developing electric transport refrigeration technology that utilises energy prediction software, adaptive battery capacity and a solar energy recovery system to help decarbonise refrigerated trailers in the cold chain.
The trial, which commenced on 19 April at Gist’s Chesterfield depot, forms part of Gist’s commitment to explore innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions, particularly among its distribution fleet. As an industry, the need to explore alternatives is more pressing following the Government’s commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050 and the ban of red diesel use from 1 April 2022.
Dependent on weather conditions, Sunswap states the solar panels on the Endurance TRU can provide 65 to 80 per cent of the charge needed throughout the year to operate the refrigeration unit, considerably reducing the time and cost to charge. The Endurance is able to operate at 10 per cent of the running costs in comparison to a diesel-powered TRU.
Kate Brown, Gist’s Communications and Sustainability director, said: “Gist is actively collaborating within the industry to understand new, developing technology that can minimise our impact on the environment. We are always looking to trial new innovations, such as Sunswap’s TRU, as part of our commitment to creating a greener, more efficient distribution fleet.”
Michael Lowe, Sunswap’s CEO, said: “Sunswap is thrilled to be working with Gist. They operate one of the largest chilled distribution fleets in the UK and their commitment to reduce their emissions is perfectly aligned with our mission to decarbonise the cold chain.
“With diesel now more expensive for TRUs and emissions targets getting closer, the logistics sector has responded fantastically and is actively looking for innovative solutions to achieve net zero. We are excited to continue our customer deployments and help more fleet operators cut diesel from their temperature-controlled trailer fleet.”