Liquid nitrogen engine begins on-vehicle trials31 March 2015

A zero-emission refrigeration system for vehicles has begun on-vehicle testing, with early results said to be promising and capable of delivering “a paradigm shift” within the global refrigerated transport sector.

The system features a Dearman engine powered by liquid nitrogen. It has been developed as an emission-free alternative to conventional transport refrigeration units, which can account for 20% of a vehicle's diesel consumption.

The project – dubbed Cool-E – is backed by Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), and managed by consortium partners Mira, Dearman, Air Products and Loughborough University.

On-vehicle testing will continue throughout the summer but results have already, according to Dearman, shown the system can cool the chilled trailer more quickly than a diesel-powered unit, and with no emissions.

Professor Toby Peters, founder and senior group MD of Dearman, describes the move to on-vehicle testing as "a key moment".

And he adds: "This milestone demonstrates rapid progress. Getting such an innovative technology into operation in such a short time is a real achievement."

The first unit is expected to go into commercial field trial later this year, with larger scale European and international trials following next year.

Laura Cork

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