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Solar-Powered Trucks Can Tackle Refrigeration Emissions

Power-intensive refrigeration trucks will be fitted with solar panel roofs in a bid to cut emissions.

A solar energy provider, XL Fleet, is partnering with eNow to fit a thousand refrigeration trucks with solar panel roofs in a bid to help cut emissions of the power-intensive vehicles, a report from Good News Network explains.

The transportation of food to local supermarkets typically takes place with the help of enormous fleets of diesel fuel-cooled trucks that burn up to a gallon of diesel per hour at the same time as releasing over 22 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

With efforts to cut carbon emissions gaining traction worldwide amid increasing worry over the irreversible damage already caused by climate change, many are pointing to an increase in refrigerated food delivery trucks as a problem that must be addressed.

In 2015, for example, a report conducted in the European Union showed that refrigerated transport vehicles released 56 times more carbon emissions than regular vehicles. eNow and XL Fleet believe they can help to tackle this issue with their new battery system that largely powers the refrigerators and utilities such as air conditioning — though not the trucks themselves — using solar power. "This partnership will change the way the transportation industry thinks about energy and refrigerated transportation," said Jeff Flath, President and CEO at eNow, "[and it will help] to eliminate a major source of diesel fuel consumption and emissions for fleets." 

Reducing refrigerated transport emissions amid "code red for humanity"

XL Fleet will supply its battery and power electronics to the first 1,000 of eNow's electric refrigerated trucks. The company's mission statement is to help companies reduce their carbon footprints with electrified transport solutions. eNow has a similar goal: its roof-mounted solar panels store energy in auxiliary batteries that can be used to power air conditioning, lighting, refrigeration, and lift gates for trucks.

The two companies are collaborating on a battery system that would be installed under the floors of its trucks, enabling roughly 12 hours more run times between charges. Solar panels would charge these systems while the trucks are parked and are being loaded or unloaded. The companies say that their system can even be retrofitted to help internal combustion vehicles to curb their carbon emissions. They expect to deliver their system to operators in the first half of 2022. As the IPCC's August 9 report on climate change — dubbed "code red for humanity" by the UN Secretary General António Guterres — makes sure to stress, catastrophe can only be avoided if firms and governments worldwide collaborate to vastly reduce emissions on a global scale. Firms such as eNow and XL Fleet can only go so far, and their initiatives will need government backing to enable them and others to truly break the trend.

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