While the transportation industry continues its transformation to electrification, it is clear that full adaptation will take time. Thermo King is proud to be leading the way by investing more than $100 million into is all-electric portfolio of products and has already introduced a wide range of fully electric and hybrid products but there is still work to do with infrastructure, skills, and training throughout the industry. As everyone strives to operate more sustainably, Thermo King remains committed to customers all along the journey by offering interim solutions that will reduce environmental impacts, help customers meet sustainability goals and advance its own 2030 Sustainability Commitments. This includes the Gigaton Challenge to reduce customer greenhouse gas emissions by 1 billion metric tons.
One example – and an easy one to adopt for fleets of all sizes, is the use Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO*) fossil-free fuel as an alternate to power traditional diesel-powered product lines. Thermo King has approved the use of HVO renewable diesel, a more sustainable fuel alternative, in all its diesel-fueled products including truck and trailer refrigeration units, as well as its auxiliary power unit (APU) line and gensets.
HVO renewable diesel is a premium fossil free product made of 100% renewable raw materials, which does not release any new carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is produced by hydrotreatment of vegetable oils and/or animal fats, and the result is a premium quality fuel with a chemical structure almost identical to regular diesel and can therefore fully replace fossil diesel. It can be used as a drop-in replacement or mixed with regular diesel, with no requirements for unit’s engine modifications or more frequent maintenance intervals.
Key to note is that the use of biodegradable HVO instead of traditional diesel, results in unchanged performance and up to a 67% reduction in greenhouse gas along with reduced engine emissions.
Thermo King units operating in Europe, Middle East and Africa approved the use HVO renewable diesel in its truck and trailer units in 2021 and recently started using HVO for unit testing on all assembly lines and customer units at its Galway, Ireland manufacturing facility. After additional testing and validating the use of HVO in our units with customer partners who are equally as passionate about moving the sustainability needle forward, we have followed suit in the Americas. We are proud to approve the use of HVO renewable diesel in our products.
One thing for certain is that there is a strong appetite for solutions that will reduce environmental impact – and fleets want to make the impact now. Naturally, regulatory mandates such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) low-emission requirements have driven changes that are deadline-dependent, but changes are being sought throughout the world under the guise of being responsible global citizens.
Thermo King has committed to ongoing innovation that continually improves performance, dependability, and the environmental footprint. This includes being the first in the industry to transition to lower global warming potential (GWP) R-452A refrigerant as standard in its trailer (January 2022) and truck units (starting in December 2022). This adoption will reduce the carbon footprint of refrigerants used by our customers’ long-haul, middle-mile and last-mile delivery fleets by nearly 50% or approximately 650,000 metric tons of CO2e annually, equivalent to the emissions of 143,000 passenger vehicles per year.
No doubt, we are well on our way in the electrification journey but in the meantime, there are great options to reduce emissions and embrace more sustainable practices without compromising performance. HVO renewable diesel is one of them, and Thermo King is proud to partner with customers to find interim solutions that make a difference.
Aftab Khan is vice president of Engineering and Technology for Thermo King Americas