Carrier Transicold unveiled its first trailer concept powered by a dedicated hydrogen fuel cell at IAA Transportation 2022.
The fuel cell system has been specifically developed to integrate within the chassis of the Vector® transport refrigeration unit (TRU). The system delivers zero direct emissions without a reduction in performance or refrigeration capacity.
Developed in cooperation with Bosch and PowerCell Sweden AB, the new hydrogen fuel cell technology will be coupled with Carrier Transicold’s Vector HE 19 trailer unit. Central to the new system is the integration of the Bosch 48-volt automotive battery, which directly interfaces the fuel cell with the refrigeration unit, removing the need for a standalone engine or a separately mounted buffer battery system.
“Carrier Transicold continues its electrification journey, providing an electric solution in every area of the temperature-controlled transport market, from vans through to multi-temperature trailers,” said Victor Calvo, vice president and general manager, Carrier Transicold. “The new hydrogen-powered Vector concept is a major step forward for the company and we’re delighted to demonstrate the future of transport refrigeration for customers at IAA. We are committed to exploring every avenue to reduce emissions and deliver better sustainability for customers – and hydrogen fuel cell technology is extremely exciting.”
The hydrogen fuel cell technology delivers the same level of autonomy as existing diesel engines used in the standard Vector units. By using a hydrogen fuel cell system, customers can maintain operations with the legacy products, but without any of the associated emissions.
The new fuel cell system is powered by hydrogen tanks coupled with an electric power distribution unit (PDU). The PDU is used to convert the direct current provided by the fuel cell into the alternating current needed to operate the refrigeration unit. The refilling time for the new concept is equivalent to a standard diesel engine and, depending on the tank size, can also achieve a similar autonomy range, according to Carrier Transicold.
The combination of the Vector’s existing all-electric E-Drive™ technology – a mainstay of the company’s trailer systems since 1999 – and its design removes the need for the mechanical transmissions found in belt-driven truck and trailer refrigeration systems, making it ideally suited to operate on the electric power derived from the hydrogen cell, while delivering increased efficiency and reduced risk of refrigerant leaks.
Launched in 2020, a first demonstrator version was presented in 2021 by Carrier and Bosch with the hydrogen fuel cell system placed in a frame under the trailer chassis. The advanced version presented at IAA goes one step further and integrates the hydrogen fuel cell within the standard Vector chassis.