Green gift from Thermo King
Thermo King revealed a host of innovations at the IAA. CHARLEEN CLARKE was especially impressed, however, with news that the company is helping transport operators to slash their emissions!
The big news is the imminent launch of a new range of trailer and self-powered truck units that are energy efficient, reliable and use a next-generation refrigerant, which has about half the global warming potential (GWP) of current refrigerants. The refrigerant in question is called R-452A (it’s also known as DuPont Opteon XP44).
These new units will be rolled out in January next year – in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The United States will follow once the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves this next generation refrigerant.
Of course, “green” refrigeration units are not a new concept at Thermo King – the company has been innovative since 1938, when it was formed. “Since its inception by Thermo King in 1938, the refrigerated transport industry has been using class A1 refrigerants that are safe, non-flammable and have the lowest toxicity,” notes Ray Pittard, president of Thermo King North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The new refrigerant will, however, propel Thermo King to a whole new level of green. “R-452A, when used in our products, is the safest, most environmentally responsible and technically and commercially viable solution for transport refrigeration applications,” says Pittard.
And the great news is that R-452A is not exclusive to Thermo King’s new units. “We can retrofit current products with the next generation of refrigerant, which means that operators can increase their return on investment of units they already own,” says Dwight Gibson, vice president, Thermo King Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The introduction of this refrigerant is in keeping with Ingersoll Rand’s environmental commitment to reduce the climate impact from the operations and product portfolio (Thermo King is an Ingersoll Rand brand).
This commitment includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to its operations by approximately 35 percent by 2020, reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to its products by 50 percent by 2020 and investing US$ 500 million (about R5 750 million) in product-related research and development, over the next five years, to fund the long-term reduction of emissions. This will eliminate approximately 20 850 000 metric tonnes of CO2 globally by 2020, which is equivalent to the energy used by nearly two million homes in one year.
“We care deeply about the impact to the environment and improving the safety and overall quality of life for people,” says Pittard. “Our transport refrigeration solutions will contribute to the company’s overall climate commitment while playing an important role in the food and pharmaceutical cold chain, which impacts almost every family around the world.”
These units are not the only Thermo King products that are good news for the cold chain. Also at the IAA, the company displayed a host of other innovations including new and updated smartphone apps; a training module with the rather snazzy name of Professor Kool; PharmaSolutions (a unique platform dedicated to the needs of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and logistics providers, which ensures the efficacy of pharmaceutical products in transport) and the CryoTech (a refrigeration solution that offers maximum load protection and customer peace of mind while delivering high efficiency, precise temperature control and telematics integration capabilities).
We were also highly impressed with the Thermo King SLXe Whisper Pro single- and multi-temperature units. While they’re not necessarily relevant to the South African market (since we’re not bothered by noise regulation here), these ultra-low-noise units really are as silent as (yes, you guessed it) a whisper. Impressive.