Reducing diesel consumption with solar energy
It is common practice that a diesel engine powers the trailer’s refrigeration unit 24/7 until delivery. When the engine is off, a high-powered battery powers the electrical components in the system. Cooling cargo is the primary purpose, but the driver also relies on the diesel-charged battery for additional features. Devices, such as telematics, run even when the trailer engine isn't in motion and require power from the battery. So, not only does the engine of the refrigerant unit run to maintain the needed cargo temperature, but it also runs to recharge the battery.
Using a renewable energy source to power the battery can limit fossil fuel consumption. The unit's start/stop function is uncompromised, and it enables a reduction in emissions, an increase in reliability, and a reduction in cargo loss.
Thermo King’s ThermoLite™ solar panels capture solar energy during the day, ensuring that the refrigeration unit's battery remains continuously charged and eliminating the need to be powered by diesel fuel.
In 2021, ECS came to our Thermo King team and we offered to pilot a program using ThermoLite™ solar panels to power the onboard battery instead of the trailer’s engine. Our TracKing telematics system, powered by solar energy, were also included to provide remote tracking for battery charge levels and fuel consumption. With this telematics solution, fleet managers are in constant contact with their trailers and can access critical unit data at any time.
ECS performed a six-month field test with four Thermo King refrigerated trailers on different routes across Europe.
Why Thermo King?
Our 2030 sustainability commitments include a goal to reduce carbon emissions related to our products by one gigaton – the equivalent of the annual emissions from Italy, France and the United Kingdom combined. And we’re doing this through our customers, and ECS is one of them—we go way back.
“As a Logistics service provider, ECS recognizes the environmental impact of our business and takes the responsibility to reduce this impact as much as possible. Focus and improvement in environmental sustainability has always been part of our daily operations and business decisions,” said Jonas Van Den Broucke, technical fleet manager at ECS.
“Our relationship with Thermo King goes back over 20 years and they have always excelled in providing us with reliable, cost-efficient products and experienced service. When they advised us to consider the solar panels for our refrigerated trailer fleet, we had to give it a try.”
Proof is in the data