New refrigeration a CO2 game changer

Invercargill, Southland: Meat exporter Alliance Group is one of a number of companies trialling new refrigeration technology that shipping line Maersk expects will cut its annual CO2 emissions by half a million tonnes.

Maersk Line New Zealand trade and marketing manager Dave Gulik says refrigerated containers using the new technology require considerably less energy to maintain cargo at a constant temperature.

“Traditional refrigeration systems focus on the air temperature inside the container – whereas what really matters is the temperature of the cargo,” says Gulik.

“The new software we have been trialling with Alliance and other customers monitors the temperature of the cargo, and constantly adjusts air flow and temperature control to ensure it is maintained at optimum levels.

“That means no waste energy, fewer CO2 emissions, and better conditions for the cargo,” he says.

Gulik says this innovation, which will cut CO2 emissions per container by 65% compared to the technology currently in use, was a game changer for the entire transport chain.

“It’s a boon for the lines, but truck and train companies and terminal operators will also see their power bills and CO2 emissions go down.”

Alliance Group development services manager Gary Maclennan says the new technology fits well with the company’s focus to reduce its environmental impact from “farm to fork”.

“This innovation should deliver an improved cold chain for our high value chilled products, whilst also significantly reducing energy usage during shipping. This will have a positive impact on the CO2 footprint of Alliance products into our many markets around the world,” says Maclennan.

The system, QuestII, (Quality and Energy Efficiency in Storage and Transport Technology is the result of a three-year research programme carried out by Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands, in partnership with Maersk Line and Carrier Transicold. Several of Maersk Line’s customers have been involved as development partners throughout the programme.