Leeds awarded major grant to tackle polluting refrigeration units

Leeds City Council has been awarded a major air quality grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help it tackle highly polluting transport refrigeration units.

The council applied for the £150,000 Air Quality Grant with help from clean cold technology firm Dearman, which is pursuing advanced trials of its zero-emission refrigeration unit that run on liquid nitrogen. Dearman is also making an in-kind contribution for the vehicle demonstrations aspect of the project. Transport refrigeration units (TRUs) are typically used by supermarkets and logistics operators to keep food produce cold while in transit. The cold is often powered by a second diesel engine and there are estimated to be 84,000 TRUs on Britain’s roads. Dearman estimates that over the course of a year, a TRU powered by a secondary diesel engine can emit up to six times as much nitrogen oxide (NOx) and almost 30 times as much particulate matter (PM) as a Euro6 heavy goods vehicle engine. In Leeds, it is estimated that TRUs emit 71 tonnes of nitrogen oxide and 9.5 tonnes of particulate matter per year, the equivalent to driving a family car 184 million kilometres. Replacing Leeds’s diesel-powered TRUs with zero-emission alternatives would be the NOx equivalent of removing 2,446 Euro6 heavy goods vehicles or 66,790 Euro6 diesel cars from Britain’s roads, and the PM equivalent of removing 13,024 HGVs or 142,262 cars. The draft DEFRA Clean Air Zone Framework published in October 2016 is the first time diesel powered TRUs have been officially recognised in the UK as a substantial polluter. The grant will enable Leeds City Council’s project to:
  • Measure emissions from conventional fossil-fuelled TRUs during real-world operation in Leeds.
  • Estimate the number of refrigerated vehicles operating within Leeds and understand their typical duty cycles.
  • Analyse the findings from this programme and develop the evidence base and tools required to promote and enforce measures aimed at reducing the impact of TRUs on local air quality.
  • Install some Liquid Nitrogen (LiN) infrastructure to, in the first instance, enable a multi-vehicle field trial demonstration of a zero-emission transport refrigeration technology and in the long-term catalyse the uptake of low emission refrigerated vehicles in Leeds.
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