eNow recently unveiled the first all-electric solar-based refrigeration system on a 53-ft. tractor-trailer.
The panels, which line the top of the trailer, take the place of a diesel-fueled generator and will charge the reefer’s batteries during daylight hours on the road while a charging outlet will handle the rest overnight.
“This is a defining moment in clean transportation and a huge technological hurdle,” says Jeff Flath, president and CEO of eNow. “Over the last six years we have demonstrated that our solar systems are powerful, reliable, and highly cost-effective, providing emissions-free energy for thousands of trucks across the country. With our new 100 percent electric reefer trailer, the food industry, with its more than 500,000 refrigerated vehicles can realize the same economic and environmental benefits.”
eNow demonstrated the first zero-emission Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) on a commercial truck last summer in San Joaquin Valley, Calif. Over a five-month test period, the Challenge Butter reefer truck had a NOx emissions reduction of 98 percent, an 86 percent drop in carbon dioxide and 97 percent decline in particulate matter when compared to a diesel engine.
The eNow system was also projected to reduce operating costs by up to 90 percent. The panels have a 10-year lifespan.
“The back of this truck was every bit as cold as a diesel,” says Challenge Dairy vice-President Tom Ditto.
eNow’s panels on the 53-ft. trailer are rated at roughly 5.4 kilowatt hours. The panels, rated at 16 percent solar efficiency, will provide about 22 kilowatt hours of energy. On a clear summer day, the panels can generate up to 30 kilowatt hours over a six-hour period.
Additional charge time comes from an outlet overnight. The truck will be used to haul produce a few degrees above freezing, the company says.