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New report: The journey to emission free temperature-controlled refrigeration on road vehicles

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This report is the third in the five-part series created by the Cold Chain Federation, the trade association for the UK’s cold chain. The cold chain is a growing sector, critical to everyday life through the delivery of safe and fresh food, pharmaceuticals, and other products to consumers. It also plays a crucial role in the fight against food waste. We know refrigeration is responsible for a range of environmentally damaging emissions. Launched in October 2020, our Net Zero Project is aimed at bringing our industry together; to define what we mean by a net zero cold chain; and to work together to identify, plan and transition to a more efficient and lower emission cold chain of the future.

Image credit: Cold Chain Federation

Image credit: Cold Chain Federation

As part of the Project, we aim to release five documents to demonstrate how we can work together with Government and other stakeholders to contribute to the UK’s decarbonisation goals. These include:

  • Part One: Shaping the Cold Chain of the Future: The Road to Net Zero (published).
  • Part Two: Defining a Net Zero Cold Chain (published).
  • Part Three: The Journey Towards Emission Free Temperature-controlled Distribution on Road Vehicles.
  • Part Four: The Cold Store of the Future (coming soon).
  • Part Five: The Future Cold Chain Ecosystem (coming soon).

The Journey Towards Emission Free Temperature-controlled Distribution on Road Vehicles is our vision for how transport refrigeration units (TRUs) can transition away from diesel to emission free alternatives in line with the UK’s decarbonisation and air quality targets. It sets out our view on the technological outlook for TRUs, how operators and manufacturers will adapt to drive down emissions and finally the financial, infrastructural, and regulatory support which will be required to enable us to meet our ambitious targets.

This document is the result of 18 months of discussion and consultation with stakeholders from across the cold chain, including TRU operators, TRU and trailer manufacturers, innovators and other cold chain and logistics specialists.

The UK Government’s ambition to deliver a net zero economy by 2050, as well as the interim target of reducing emissions by 78% by 2035 will have profound impacts on all industrial processes. To meet this goal, industries are expected to undergo rapid change. One of the better understood areas is decarbonising the transport sector, which accounts for some 27% of total UK GHG emissions and so far, has struggled to make any significant reductions. As well as reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions such as CO2, there is an urgent homes, hospitals, restaurants, and retail spaces. The cold chain is also a critical tool in national decarbonisation efforts – driving down postharvest food waste and the associated emissions of over production by preserving food quality for longer.

This is an extract of the document. The full report as well as parts 1 and 2 are available here.