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The Future of Refrigeration

Reducing emissions and saving money - that's the power of all-electric cold plate technology


The increasing interest in electrification isn't exclusive to tractors. Advanced electrification technology is making its way into transport refrigerated units (TRUs), and Great Dane is on the cutting edge with its first-to-market, zero-emissions Johnson Series All Electric (AE) refrigeration system. In partnership with eNow Inc., Emerson, and Challenge Dairy Products Inc., the Great Dane Truck Bodies team developed and deployed a new refrigeration system that uses two forms of energy storage: cold plates and a unique lightweight high-capacity auxiliary battery system. 

Outfitted on a Challenge Dairy Class 7 truck for testing on actual urban delivery routes and designed to transport medium-temperature refrigeration applications, the cold plates and auxiliary batteries are initially charged from utility power delivered to the vehicle when it is plugged in at its home base overnight. Roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels provide additional power when the unit truck is in operation. The auxiliary battery is charged exclusively by solar and utility power – no diesel power necessary.

The truck was unveiled in California’s San Joaquin Valley, an area that faces challenges in meeting federal air-quality standards. Already, it has proven that a dramatic decrease in harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and carbon dioxide compared to the typical diesel-powered TRU is possible. Additionally, this system is expected to reduce operation and maintenance costs by 90 percent. Putting cold plate technology and all-electric refrigeration to work in a real-world application proves that it’s a viable solution for food distributors and any business that employs refrigerated truck bodies.

“This technology, coupled with the eNow solar power system, Emerson 48VDC condensing unit, and the composite construction of the truck body provides a complete, thermally efficient solution for food distributors,” said Eduardo Navarro, director of business development at Great Dane Truck Bodies. “Having an all-electric system like the Johnson AE provides food distributors a reliable alternative to diesel power units as they look to meet their cold chain demands efficiently and at a low operating cost.”

The project partners hope to commercialize the technology for widespread use, including throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Want to learn more information about this all-electric refrigeration system? Call 800-922-8360 Ext. 2.