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CO2 supermarket reefers hit the road in UK trial

British supermarket Sainsbury’s has taken delivery of the first of three refrigerated trailers running Carrier Transicold chiller systems that use R744 (carbon dioxide) refrigerant, as it embarks on a three-year technology field trial.

The grocery giant has form in this field as it scored a world first in 2013 when it piloted an R744 reefer based on technology Carrier developed for more environmentally friendly chilled sea containers.

But this time, the prototype Sainsbury’s trailers use a much more advanced version of the technology, which has a closed-loop R744 refrigeration system housed in Carrier’s familiar Vector chassis and uses the same patented E-Drive all-electric technology to run.

The first prototype trailer will be a 13.6 metre dual-compartment tri-axle reefer, manufactured in the UK with the R744 system installed by Carrier Transicold specialists who flew from North America to do the job.

Emblazoned with witty natural refrigerant related slogans highlighting their environmental credentials, the trailers will travel the British road network to perform regular deliveries to Sainsbury’s stores as part of the real-world trial.

“Delivering the first dedicated natural refrigerant trailer prototype into service marks a huge milestone in the development of over-the-road refrigeration using CO2,” said Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems president David Appel.

“Our ultimate vision is to see temperature-controlled units running on natural refrigerant in mainstream production. Today, with the support of one of our largest European customers, we are one step closer.”