The Huntingdon-based operator decided to test the electric generator, from Hultsteins, after discovering it was the only solution available that could work with any 6x2 tractor unit and power any refrigeration unit.
During the trial, the Ecogen system was fitted to a Scania 6x2 and operated for 230 hours over 50,000km.
“At first, we couldn’t believe the figures,” says Ross Taylor, Buffaload’s CEO. “But, sure enough, the Ecogen, connected to the tractor’s PTO, ran the fridge unit perfectly for around two months and not a drop of diesel was burned.
“Effectively, we were saving an average of four litres every hour while the fridge was running.” It also enables diesel-free and emission-free refrigeration, he adds.
Developed for truck or tractor units, Ecogen is a slim-fit hydraulic drive generator which connects to the engine’s PTO and plugs in to any refrigeration unit with mains electric operation. Fuel consumption and emissions are virtually eliminated, while generating a constant 400V, three-phase electrical power to the same standard as the mains supply.
The system’s ability to work with any vehicle marques was an important factor, says Taylor. “EcoGen is universal, which means it fits easily to every existing 6x2 and powers all leading fridge marques. This gives operators unrestricted choice of equipment and makes retrofitting easy, too.”
Taylor predicts that once the Ecogen systems are all up and running, Buffaload Logistics will be making an annual carbon saving of 400,000kg. He anticipates payback in 21 months and, given the system’s simple design based on proven technology, no additional maintenance is expected.
Ecogen was developed in the UK by Stephen Maile; his company, Cold Connect, was acquired by Hultsteins last year.
UPDATED 5 February 2020 17:16: Changed a typo - 'marquee' to 'marques' in the third-to-last paragraph.