FreshLinc fits Ecogen hydraulic drive refrigeration

Spalding: FreshLinc is testing the Ecogen hydraulic-drive generator that powers fridges.

Ecogen, made in the UK by Hultsteins, uses a generator connected to the engine power take off and plugs in to any refrigeration unit with mains electric operation.

The systems eliminates fuel consumption and emissions from the diesel fridge by providing constant 400-volt, 3-phase electricity.

FreshLinc’s trial comes ahead of the red diesel rebate changes scheduled for April 2022 that are expected to raise the price of red diesel.

“We knew we had to come up with a more cost-effective solution for when the rebate on gas oil is withdrawn” said Andy Marchant. fleet engineer, FreshLinc, pictured above right.

“Plus, as part of our ongoing policy towards environmental protection, we are keen to see how much the system can cut the level of pollution associated with conventional diesel fridge engines.”

Hultsteins calculates that an average fridge system, consuming around 3-5 litres of diesel per hour and running for 2,500 hours per annum, will produce approximately 26 tonnes of carbon per year and with an expected price hike of around 46 pence per litre for red diesel, this also amounts to an additional annual cost of around £5,700 per fridge trailer.

“These figures simply cannot be ignored,” says Graham Usher, managing director, Eco Truck Fridge, the Hultsteins sales agent in the UK. 

“Not only from an environmental standpoint but also commercially, Ecogen can help temperature-controlled operators mitigate the potential impact of running a conventional fridge system.”

FreshLinc’s test system is fitted to a Scania but Ecogen can be retrofitted to any truck with a PTO. The system does not replace the existing refrigeration system, but works in tandem with the fridge to provide a cheaper and less harmful power source while extending the life of the fridge.

“We operate around 400 vehicles and 1,000 trailers throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe, delivering temperature-sensitive products around the clock, and as leaders in temperature-controlled supply chain management, we continually look for sustainable solutions and this one potentially fits our operating model,” Marchant says.

The three-month test will predominantly be for chilled deliveries to the retail sector and the system will also be compared to FreshLinc’s container fleet, which uses underslung Gensets to power the fridge.

Pictured above are, left to right: Steve Maile (Hultsteins UK sales director), Lee Juniper, Graham Usher, and Andy Marchant

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