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Temperature-controlled operator goes diesel-free for longer life

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Swedish long-haul operator Abbekås Åkeri (Abekkas Haulage) has fitted a Hultsteins Ecogen system to one of their 25.25m refrigerated drawbar vehicles which, says the company, is expected to extend the working life of the two diesel fridges, while at the same time making significant cuts in fuel consumption and harmful emissions.

Abbekås Åkeri operate 50 Scania and Volvo temperature-controlled vehicles and drawbar trailers, carrying mostly food products from Malmo in the south to Gothenburg and Stockholm in mid Sweden – making round trips of over 1,200kms every day.

Vice President, Mikael Nilsson explains: It was approaching the time to replace one of the Carrier Vector 1850 units because at 10 years old, the diesel engine was past its best. However, instead we opted to fit an Ecogen hybrid generator to the PTO on the Scania truck, which would provide electrical power to both fridge units and allow both engines to remain switched off for the entire 10-hour journey.”

From day one, the company reported a saving of 6-8 litres of diesel per hour, with the Carrier units running silently on the road and performing as normal. Also, given that each litre of diesel produces 2.68kgs of carbon, it was easy to calculate an approximate annual carbon saving approaching 50 tonnes.

Furthermore, based on information provided by Trafikverket, the Swedish Transport Administration, a vehicle of this specification – using one diesel engine instead of three – will also cut NOx and particulate emissions by 65% and 80% respectively.

This is where environmental considerations and commercial efficiency meet,” says Mikael. “By retrofitting the Ecogen electric generator and effectively switching off the diesel fridge engines during transit, we not only save on fuel but also extend the life of each fridge by at least two years. All the while, cutting harmful emissions and making life better for our drivers and everybody around them.”

The 25.25m refrigerated drawbar combination is the longest standard road trailer in Europe and normally requires three diesel engines to drive the vehicle and cool each box. Using the Ecogen system, however, only one engine is used: The fridge unit on the truck can be independently operated and when the drawbar trailer is required, it simply plugs in to the suzie coupling for electrical power to drive the second fridge.

Although Hultsteins’ electric generation systems are widely used throughout Europe and have been available since the 1960s, this is the first to be retrofitted by Abbekås Åkeri. Hultsteins’ CEO, Börje Axelsson points to the simplicity and fast pay-back of the system:

Ecogen can be retrofitted easily to any truck with a PTO (power take off) and will drive any type of conventional diesel fridge with electric standby, from any of the major manufacturers. Rather than intending to replace the existing refrigeration system, Ecogen works in tandem with the fridge unit to provide a cheaper and less harmful power source – generating a constant 400-volt, 3-phase electrical power to the same standard as the mains supply. With this typical application, operators can expect to extend the life of existing fridge units, while seeing a return on investment in under 15 months.”

Established in 1968, Abbekås Åkeri is a family business with its focus on the transport and storage of food. From its base in Staffanstorp and supported by extensive warehousing facilities, the company operates scheduled services in Stockholm, Västerås, Östergötland and Gothenburg with departures seven days a week.

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