Linde Gases today announced it is running the first fleet of six eco-friendly FROSTCRUISE® vehicles in Europe, via its subsidiary supply chain company, Gist, for daily delivery routes to Marks & Spencer and Starbucks retail stores.

FROSTCRUISE® is a highly innovative in-transit refrigeration system developed by Linde that provides a significantly more environmentally friendly, efficient and reliable cryogenic alternative to diesel-powered mechanical refrigeration.

Environmental benefits of FROSTCRUISE® include a significantly lower carbon footprint, and zero emissions (particulates, NOx and CO2) at the point of delivery. The overall carbon footprint reduction is 19 percent compared with current systems.

Carbon emissions from the transportation refrigeration unit are zero compared with 63.4kg per day for an equivalent diesel-mechanical unit.

With near silent operation, a FROSTCRUISE® enabled truck can be used for deliveries 24/7, even in urban areas where laws often limit noise to 60–65 dB between the hours of 10pm and 6am – a level which diesel-operated refrigeration systems are unable to reach without extensive acoustic insulation packages. The new technology has been awarded the UK Noise Abatement Society’s quiet delivery certificate.

FROSTCRUISE® is effectively an on-demand refrigeration system, using liquid nitrogen (LIN) at -196°C to indirectly chill the truck compartment, delivering exceptionally fast temperature cool-down and ensuring accurate temperature control for the highest levels of food quality and safety.

Trials conducted by Linde within an ambient temperature of 16°C demonstrated that FROSTCRUISE® could reduce compartment temperature to 2°C within eight minutes, less than half the time of a mechanical refrigeration system. FROSTCRUISE® also has the ability to maintain accurate product temperature despite multiple delivery stops.

Existing diesel operated refrigeration systems often require drivers to leave their vehicles running while dropping off goods or after off-loading. In some operations drivers restock stores during the evening and leaving the engine running can result in greater fuel consumption, noise and emissions in urban environments.

As the FROSTCRUISE® system is not reliant on the truck engine running to maintain the cooling process, the load will remain chilled to the correct temperature in the event of the vehicle engine requiring to be switched off.

The refrigeration operates at around 97% thermal efficiency, meaning virtually all the available refrigeration capacity of the liquid nitrogen is captured, with as little as 3% escaping to the atmosphere.

Anthony Whitehouse, Logistics Manager, at Marks & Spencer, said, “Trialling new, innovative technologies like FROSTCRUISE® is an important part of Plan A, our eco and ethical programme. We’ve achieved a great deal in reducing emissions and road miles but we can and will do more. Projects like this help us find ways and partners to help us achieve this and tackle some of the biggest challenges we face.”

Martin Gwynn, Chief Executive Gist said, “Gist is committed to delivering supply chain excellence for its customers, and this trial is a great example of how we are working together to explore innovative new ways in which we can reduce noise and emissions in London and beyond.”