Buffaload Logistics aim for diesel-free refrigeration
Following successful trials of a Hultsteins’ on-board electric generator, Buffaload Logistics have committed to fit the system to all of their tractor units, thereby eliminating diesel consumption and harmful emissions from their entire temperature-controlled trailer fleet.
Called Ecogen and manufactured in the UK, the lightweight hydraulically-driven system was fitted to a Scania 6x2 and put to work for a total of 230 hours over approx. 50,000 kilometers.
Buffaload were surprised by the results. Not only did the system use no fridge diesel, but there was no additional consumption from the tractor unit.
Ross Taylor, Buffaload’s CEO, explained: "At first, we couldn’t believe the figures. But sure enough, the Ecogen, connected to the tractor’s power take-off, 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. Put simply, the system gives us diesel-free and pollution-free refrigeration, while adding literally no cost to the operation - apart, of course, from the initial outlay.”
The savings gained from using Ecogen will be ploughed back into other sustainable projects aligned to Buffaload’s carbon-neutral programme.
Hultsteins, based in Sweden, has been designing and producing hydraulic and electric-drive transport refrigeration systems for nearly 60 years and as the environmentally-damaging effects of diesel consumption are now widely visible, retailers and transport operators are turning to its Ecogen system to validate their respective environmental objectives. For the UK, Ross Taylor hopes to lead the way.
“Some years ago, we embarked on a carbon-efficient journey,” Ross added. “We realised that an operation of our size can have a major impact on the environment and so we set about creating an integrated low-carbon network. In basic terms, this means working with like-minded businesses whose environmental policies are compatible with our own.”
Ross predicts that once the Hultsteins’ Ecogen systems are all up and running, Buffaload Logistics will be making an annual carbon saving in the region of 400,000kg.
Furthermore, as urban restrictions on polluting vehicles are tightened, Ross believes that Buffaload’s refrigerated double-deckers (expected to number 300 by spring 2020) and all refrigerated vehicles using Ecogen will be exempt from scrutiny.
“This is not just about the obvious advantages of reduced running costs, but more to do with our contribution to a healthy UK environment, the air we breathe and global warming in general," he said. "Now is the time to make a difference and for our part, Hultsteins and Ecogen are already making an impact.”
Ecogen was developed by one of the UK’s leading pioneers of electrical generators for transport refrigeration, Stephen Maile (known as Steve). His company Cold Connect was acquired by Hultsteins in 2019.
Steve explained: “We changed the name over the door, but apart from that, we continue to manufacture our systems and Ecogen to ensure Euro 6 Emission standard is met for the cooling system as well as the truck, here in the UK the same way as before. Hultsteins’ sustainable solutions are working for retailers and operators in several European countries and we are delighted that Buffaload are leading the way, here in the UK.”