Sainsbury’s has become the first company in the world to introduce a refrigerated delivery truck cooled by a liquid nitrogen-powered engine, which will eliminate all emissions associated with refrigeration.

Supplied by Dearman and its partners, the zero-emission cooling unit replaces the traditional diesel engine used to chill the vehicle and will significantly cut emissions.

During the three-month trial the vehicle is expected to save up to 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2); the equivalent of driving over 14,500km in a modern family car. The trial will also save 37kg of nitrogen oxides and 2kg of particulate matter, compared to a similar diesel system.

The truck will operate from Sainsbury’s Waltham Point depot, delivering chilled goods to stores in the London area.

Based on the revolutionary British invention, the Dearman Engine, the new system harnesses the rapid expansion of liquid nitrogen to deliver zero-emission power and cooling. Traditionally many refrigerated trucks require two diesel engines – one to power the vehicle, and one for the refrigeration unit.

By replacing the latter, Dearman believes that a more sustainable solution for refrigeration may soon be widely adopted on Britain’s roads. Founder and CEO Toby Peters, added, “Sainsbury’s is demonstrating real leadership by embracing cutting-edge British engineering that delivers performance alongside positive environmental impact.”

“The first commercial deployment of Dearman’s zero-emission transport refrigeration system is a significant milestone for the company, for our technology and for our vision to make the world a cleaner, cooler place.”

Sainsbury nitrogen truck

Source: Dearman

The trial is the latest in a series of innovations from Sainsbury’s as the retailer works towards its commitment to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 30% between 2005 and 2020. Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability for Sainsbury’s, said, “As one of Britain’s biggest retailers we really recognise the importance of reducing emissions, which is why we’re working hard to cut carbon emissions by 30% between 2005 and 2020.”

“This trial with Dearman is just one of the innovations we’ve introduced to help us towards this goal. Their zero-emission system is really exciting, to be running a liquid air engine quite literally means our cooling is running on thin air!”

Sainsburys infographic

Source: Sainsbury’s

Following a trial in 2013, Sainsbury’s became the first company in the world to use CO2 as a natural refrigerant and has now taken on three trucks with cooling fuelled by this method. Furthermore, earlier this year the company introduced R-452A as a cooling agent in its transport and announced that all new fridges would run on this.

Cooling technologies are increasingly in focus and Peters added, “Demand for cooling is increasing worldwide and new technologies are urgently needed to ensure that growth can be achieved sustainably. The Dearman system is one such technology, and alongside our partners, we’re proud to be debuting it with Sainsbury’s, a company renowned for their respect for the environment.”

As one of the partners in the project, refuelling infrastructure has been provided by Air Products.