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Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Reefer Trucks

August 28, 2013 in fuel cells, Hydrogen by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

PNNL Promotes Joint Work with Nuvera and Plug Power

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is fostering the use of hydrogen fuel cells to replace the diesel engines driving truck refrigeration units, detailing trials of Nuvera and Plug Power equipment on four vehicles carrying food for Sysco and H-E-B. updated August 29

Technicians work on Carrier Transicold TRUs (transport refrigeration units), which are to be powered soon by Plug Power hydrogen fuel cells.

Technicians work on Carrier Transicold TRUs (transport refrigeration units), which are to be powered soon by Plug Power hydrogen fuel cells.

PNNL researchers, according to an announcement, “believe this will be the first time that refrigerated trucks making deliveries have been equipped with a fuel cell.”

Massachusetts-based Nuvera and Albany, N.Y.-based Plug Power are to receive $650,000 each from the U.S. DoE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. They will provide matching funds and labor.

  • Nuvera Fuel Cells - Nuvera and DOE National Laboratory to DemonsNuvera will work with Thermo King to develop a refrigeration unit using a Nuvera Orion fuel cell stack. Nuvera-Thermo King technology will support deliveries for a Sysco Corp. food distribution facility in Riverside, Calif., and for a San Antonio, Texas, food distribution center for the H-E-B grocery store chain.
  • Plug Power will work with Carrier Transicold and Air Products to equip trucks making deliveries for a Sysco food distribution facility on Long Island. The trucks will be equipped with Plug Power’s GenDrive fuel cell product.

“By replacing the small diesel engines with the more efficient fuel cell, users will see fuel savings of approximately 10 gallons a day per unit, in addition to reduced emission of pollutants and significantly quieter operation,” PNNL says.

Significant Fuel Cell Market Potential

“In spite of their higher costs now, the higher efficiency and zero emissions from fuel cells are enough to convince many companies not to wait to implement this technology,” PNNL project leader Kriston Brooks says in the release. “Fuel cell products are already used widely in warehouses, and this project broadens their reach.”

Both the Sysco and the H-E-B facilities already use forklifts powered by hydrogen fuel cells, and thus have hydrogen fueling.

“Industry officials estimate that approximately 300,000 refrigerated trucks with auxiliary power units are on the road in the United States,” PNNL says.

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Source: Pacific Northwest National Lab with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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