A new zero emission solution which could transform the cold chains logistics industry has been unveiled by Johannesburg-based LNG and helium producer Renergen.

Developed in collaboration with South Africa’s third largest trailer manufacturer Henred, the solution utilises the fact that LNG is stored at ultra-low temperatures in a truck’s tank and must be brought to room temperature before being consumed in the engine.

In heating the gas, the cold energy of the gas is transferred to the refrigeration compartment of the trailer, providing free cooling and reducing combined greenhouse gas emissions by up to 96 tonnes per annum per truck when the truck is run on diesel dual fuel.

Talking to gasworld exclusively about the solution, Stefano Marani, CEO of Renergen, said, “The concept is actually quite simple when you think about it. Instead of having the gasifier on the back of the truck, we decided to place it inside the box where the cooling takes place, and the food is kept.”

“The idea is that all of that cooling energy that you get from warning up the LNG is transferred to the food, and there is enough cooling power that you don’t need to supplement it with diesel anymore. If you need the extra few degrees lower, then add some solar to the mix.”

As part of the collaboration on the project, Henred supplied Renergen with some trailers which were transformed to showcase the system. Following successful pre-feasibility studies, the company is now ready to start building more of the trailers.

From paper to product

Speaking to gasworld about the development process, Marani explained that the company coined the idea approximately a year and a half ago.

Whilst some delays were encountered due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team remain pleased with their progress and hope both their collaboration and the technology will continue to flourish to everyone’s benefit.

Originally planned for deployment in South Africa, Renergen hopes that the idea will soon take off elsewhere in the word and play a large part in many companies’ decarbonisation efforts. 

“It seems like such an obvious, simple thing but so far it hasn’t been done yet. That being said, by sharing this idea and innovation with the world, we hope to see it be adopted by many others.”

“We can see this technology having a major benefit to the planet in terms of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” Marani continued. “We also believe it will convince those logistics companies that are on the fence between diesel and LNG to start converting to LNG.”

“This will both create more demand for LNG and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

renergen cold storage infographic

Source: Renergen