Health burden of diesel cooling units ‘almost £1.5bn a year’

UK clean power engineering firm Dearman launches report calling diesel transport refrigeration ‘hidden polluter’ in EU

The one million lorry refrigeration units on European roads are costing EU citizens almost two billion euros (£1.5 billion) each year in health and environmental costs, according to a UK engineering firm’s report.

Dearman has pubslished a report aimed at promoting the benefits of zero emission transport refigeration units

Dearman has pubslished a report aimed at promoting the benefits of zero emission transport refigeration units

London-based technology company Dearman today (September 29) published analysis claiming that there are one million vehicles using diesel-powered refrigeration units to transport food, drink and other produce in Europe, with the equivalent impact on air pollution of up to 56 million diesel cars.

The cooling in these one million vehicles, according to Dearman, is often powered by an unregulated secondary diesel engine, which is “inefficient and disproportionately polluting” and produces a “damaging economic, health and environmental impact”.

In the report published today, it is claimed that these transport refrigeration units can emit up to 29 times more potentially carcinogenic particulate matter and six times more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than larger modern diesel truck engines.

And, it states that the cooling units can produce up to 165 times as much particulate matter and 93 times as much NOx as the latest diesel cars.

As a result, Dearman’s ‘Liquid Air on the European Highway’ report — partly aimed at promoting the benefits of the company’s own zero-emission transport refrigeration units — estimates that pollution from diesel cooling units could cost EU countries 22 billion euros (£16.3 billion) over the next decade.

This would come as the EU fleet of this type of transport is expected to grow by 20% to 1.2 million by 2025, with the increase in popularity of online grocery shopping and local convenience shops.

If nothing is done to combat emissions from these diesel cooling units, the report claims, the health and environmental burden in the EU could reach 2.5 billion euros a year by 2025 (£1.85 billion).

This year alone, the cooling of refrigerated vehicles is estimated to emit 40,000 tonnes of NOx, 5,000 tonnes of particulate matter and 13 million tonnes of CO2 — the equivalent to 56 million diesel cars.

Launching the report in Brussels today (September 29), Dearman chief executive Professor Toby Peters said: “Until now, nobody has given transport refrigeration units a thought. We all shop at food stores, eat in restaurants or have chilled and frozen food delivered, but the impact of transport refrigeration units has never been investigated, let alone addressed. They are unregulated, use outdated, fossil-fuelled technology and are disproportionately polluting. What’s worse, their pollution is concentrated on city streets where it does the most damage to our health.”

He added: “With 400,000 people dying prematurely every year in the EU as a result of air pollution, we simply cannot afford to ignore these hidden polluters any longer. Awareness is growing and the policy landscape is just beginning to change, but action is needed now to prevent further environmental damage.”

Dearman’s own zero emission refrigeration system is set to start on-road commercial trials in the UK later this year, before European trials take place in early 2016 and manufacturing begins the following year (see story).

Related Links:

Dearman report: ‘Liquid Air on the European Highway’


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