Nuvera and DOE National Laboratory to Demonstrate Fuel Cell Power for Refrigerated Trucks in Grocery Distribution

28 Aug 2013

Nuvera Thermo King

Nuvera Fuel Cells has announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Thermo King, a manufacturer of transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, to evaluate fuel cell technology to power transport refrigeration units (TRUs). Mounted on tractor trailers, TRUs maintain the freshness of perishable foods during transport, facilitating the delivery of frozen foods and fresh produce to supermarkets. The new partnership will use Nuvera's Orion™ fuel cells in place of traditional diesel generators with the aim to cut carbon emissions and reduce noise pollution. The demonstration will be conducted by Sysco Corp. and HEB Grocery Company (H-E-B), both based in Texas.

"Nuvera is looking forward to working with PNNL and Thermo King to bring fuel cell technology into an entirely new market," said Gus Block, director of marketing and government affairs at Nuvera. "Sysco and H-E-B are great examples of industry-leading companies that are already taking advantage of the benefits afforded by hydrogen and fuel cell technology."

Quiet operation and zero-emissions from the TRU mean that grocery trucks will be able to make deliveries at any time of day, without creating noise in the neighbourhoods they serve or adversely affecting air quality.

"This is a great application for a fuel cell," said Kriston Brooks, the PNNL scientist leading the project. "A transport refrigeration unit traditionally is powered by a small diesel engine or electric motor that drives compressors to cool the cargo. A fuel cell can provide a clean, quiet and efficient alternative by powering the electric motor."

Nuvera is working with Thermo King to develop the fuel cell-powered TRU. The refrigerated trailer will run for at least 400 hours while supporting each demonstration site, delivering goods from the distribution centres to stores or other outlets. The truck will make deliveries for a Sysco food distribution facility in Riverside, Calif., and for H-E-B’s food distribution centre in San Antonio, Texas.

Both the Sysco and H-E-B facilities already use forklifts powered by fuel cells, an emerging trend in the material-handling industry. The infrastructure used to provide hydrogen for the fuel cell forklifts is already in place at both demonstration sites and will also be used to provide hydrogen to the fuel cell-powered TRUs. The hydrogen is generated on site from natural gas and water using Nuvera’s PowerTap™ hydrogen generator and refuelling system. Refuelling time for the fuel cell-powered TRU will take no longer than for conventional diesel-powered refrigeration units.


Source: Nuvera

Industry Directory: Nuvera


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