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SA Greentech Company Initiates Zero-Emission Refrigeration System Pilot Project in The Netherlands

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South African Greentech and electric vehicle company, Maxwell and Sparks, has partnered with multinational consumer goods company, Unilever; trailer manufacturer, TIP Trailer Services; and transport company, Daily Logistic Group, for a nine-month pilot project in the Netherlands to test the replacement of diesel-fueled refrigeration systems in semi-trailers with zero-emission, battery-electric prototypes.

The pilot project will test freight refrigeration technology and its capability to run exclusively on renewable electricity to keep temperatures below -25°C. Early results from the project suggest that the new technology could reduce emissions by as much as 25 tons of carbon dioxide per refrigeration trailer per year.

Maxwell and Spark will provide four trailers with modified Thermo King Advancer (A400) engines in conjunction with the company’s specialized 70 kWh lithium-ion battery-based system, which will result in the refrigerated trailers’ ability to run entirely on electricity during working hours, while a three-phase power connection charges the battery during times of inactivity.

Pending positive results, the technology is expected to be rolled out further, with Unilever setting targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2039.

“This exciting collaboration builds on the work we’ve been doing over the last few years to replace fossil fuels in the industrial and commercial environment,” stated Maxwell and Sparks CEO, Clinton Bemont, who added, “Our experience locally has been hugely positive, and this additional cutting-edge product for the European Union market has the potential for deployment at large scale.”

“With logistics and distribution accounting for around 15% of our emissions, we are moving our cold chain to cleaner sources of energy,” noted Michelle Grose, Head of Logistics and Fulfillment at Unilever, stating, “We are partnering with innovators to pioneer new technology and find new solutions. This journey of co-creation will provide us with valuable learnings and insights to help us lower emissions from our vehicle fleet.”

The pilot project is the first to test the implementation 100% renewable energy in refrigeration trucks, which are primarily used for the transportation of frozen food, with diesel serving strictly as a contingency measure.

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.