Hydrogen cooling for delivery vans

Hydrogen cooling for delivery vans

Researchers at the University of Huelva have developed an innovative hydrogen-powered refrigeration system that has been successfully tested in a delivery van for transporting perishable foodstuffs.

The new system emits no polluting gases and saves 10% of fuel in light refrigerated trucks, avoiding the emission of more than 3,650 kilograms of CO2 per year. The environmentally friendly design is easy to integrate into the current fleet of the refrigerated food transport sector.

José Manuel Andújar, professor of systems engineering and automation, led the project together with researchers Francisca Segura, Francisco Javier Vivas and Macarena Martínez from the Centro de Investigación en Tecnología, Energía y Sostenibilidad ‘Cites’ of the University of Huelva.

The results of the study have been published in the specialised journal ‘Energía Aplicada’. The hydrogen-powered refrigeration system was developed using a proprietary architectural design and the implementation of specialised electronics for control and power supply.

An energy management system and an innovative algorithm were also designed to maximise the system’s operability, power and lifetime. Transport is responsible for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union, and the transport of perishable foodstuffs exacerbates this problem.

When the vehicle is in motion, the hydrogen cooling system is switched off and the compressor is powered by the engine. When the vehicle stops and its engine is switched off, this new design kicks in, powering the refrigeration system’s compressor. Future work is oriented in two directions.

On the one hand, try to transfer the developed technology so that refrigerated vans and light trucks that base their cooling systems on the use of hydrogen start to be mass-produced. On the other hand, on the basis of the technology developed, design hydrogen refrigeration systems of greater power and autonomy, viable for mounting on heavy refrigerated trucks used in national and international transport.

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