In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of its shipping operations, global container shipping line Maersk has ordered 100 refrigerated containers that use carbon dioxide as a refrigerant.
Carrier Transicold, a business unit of United Technologies Corp., makes the CO2-refrigerant system, which uses carbon dioxide repurposed from outdoor air. The company says its NaturaLINE is the first container refrigeration system to use the natural refrigerant, a non-ozone depleting gas with a global warming potential (GWP) of one.
Because the system pulls CO2 from the air, there is no potential for refrigerant leaks — and the related global warming impacts — as there is with traditional systems. It is classified as A1 for low toxicity and no flame propagation. Additionally, the system is unaffected by the global phase downs of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants and is relatively inexpensive, Carrier Transicold says.
Maersk says the new refrigerant system will help it meet its environmental targets and comply with European Union rules limiting emissions from fluorinated gases, which are commonly used in refrigeration systems. These powerful greenhouse gases have a global warming effect up to 23,000 times greater than CO2.
The 100 NaturaLINE units will be be installed on 40-foot high-cube containers. Maersk expects them to be delivered in the first quarter of 2017 and plans to order 100 more in the future.
The Dutch carrier will initially deploy the units on closed-loop routes between Europe and the Americas. Crew and landside training on unit operation and service is already underway.
Carrier Transicold signed its first commercial customer — UK retail giant Sainsbury’s — for the refrigeration system last year. Sainsbury’s ordered three refrigerant trailers to add to its fleet as part of a three-year technology field trial.
The Sainsbury’s order builds on a 2013 pilot, which saw the supermarket operate a modified road version of Carrier Transicold’s NaturaLINE refrigeration system for ocean containers.
Last October, Hapag-Lloyd said it was testing Carrier Transicold units using CO2 as a refrigerant, American Shipper reports.