The sustainable cold chain – 6 ideas for cutting back on emissions

7th June 2018

Retailers and transport companies don’t want to be responsible for the end of the world. For the oceans boiling, ice caps melting, and cities becoming encased in smog. Likewise (and more realistically) you don’t want to fall foul of environmental regulation, including the upcoming EU legislation on CO2 emissions.

In fact there are many reasons to focus in on emissions: not least due to the fact that they’ve risen sharply since 1990 (up 29% in Europe alone); and the upsurge in home deliveries of individual packages.

To this can be added a growth in expectation: customers themselves are asking more questions of retailers, which in turn places the spotlight on their supply chains – and transport in particular. Questions that are wide in scope, and include the use of refrigerants and their leakages that represent important contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

From problem to solution

Yet knowing something needs to be done is one thing – knowing how to do it is another. To help with this thinking, we present 6 ideas to help turn your carbon footprint from a source of concern to a competitive advantage:

Idea #1: Ensure your drivers are ‘fuel efficient’

Over time, driving styles can have a tremendous impact on your fuel spend. By analyzing driver behavior, and identifying those styles that are costing the business more fuel, you can take corrective action.

When run in concert with a fleet management system such as Thermo King’s TracKing™ solution, you’ll have all the data needed to highlight which drivers need guidance on improving their styles.

As a result, you’ll be able to:

  • Optimize fuel consumption by trip, vehicle, and individual driver
  • Minimize your environmental impact through better fuel management

Idea #2: Plan your operation to minimize cold chain ‘breaches’

It’s a simple equation: the more a cooling unit has to work, the more fuel it’s going to use. Having to constantly bring the temperature of a load down due to constant door openings; poor pre-cooling at the distribution center; ineffective loading practices etc. – is a guaranteed way to drive up both your fuel costs and emissions.

Following best practice in breach management (see our article on the topic) can help you make cut back on both.

Idea #3: Think green when making future purchases

As a business you’re presented with a number of different options for cooling units. Most work on diesel, but it’s important to keep in mind that some are certainly thirstier than others.

Fuel efficiency matters (indeed, fuel typically represents over half your TCO), which is where the SLXi range comes into its own.

Idea #4: Consider ‘going electric’

Think of the benefits: no combustion means no diesel emissions emerging from exhaust pipes. Instead, fully electric units – such as those within our Frigoblock range – deliver up to:

  • 75% less CO2 emissions
  • 75% less energy consumption
  • 50% less greenhouse effect by using refrigerant type R410A

Still not convinced? Then maybe the hybrid approach is right for you – with SLXi Hybrid bringing together the benefits of both diesel and electric power.

Watch the best practice video from Professor Kool on the importance of maintaining a good airflow.

Idea #5: Find a less harmful refrigerant to work with

Transitioning away from higher GWP (Greenhouse Warming Potential) refrigerant – and away from readily available stocks of R404A HFC options toward non-ozone depleting R-452A – is another great option to take.

This is also a proven way to future-proof your operation, by achieving early compliance with upcoming 2020 F-GAS regulations.

R-452A comes standard on all vans, trucks, and trailer refrigeration units from Thermo King, and can even be retrofitted to older hardware.

Idea #6: Try something completely different

Something unconventional. Something like CryoTech: the technology that allows you to reduce your transport refrigeration carbon footprint by 90%. By using recycled R744 as its power source, CryoTech systems operate with no additional carbon emissions. And with no HFC refrigerants, there’s no global warming impact either.

The result: a zero emission, whisper-quiet solution for your business.

Build up your green credentials

You can find out more about Thermo King’s emissions-friendly products, including TracKing, the SLXi range, and CryoTech by visiting our sustainable solutions page.