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California May Further Target Reefer Emissions

Posted: February 19, 2016 by Today's Trucking Staff

SACREMENTO, CA – Further limits on emissions and operating time for diesel-powered transport refrigeration units (TRUs) operating through California are being developed within the state’s sustainable trucking mandate, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is floating the new TRU proposal in its 2015 Sustainable Freight discussion document, which states that, “Based on currently foreseeable technology, there are opportunities to move this [transport refrigeration] sector to zero emission technologies.” It’s an important environmental consideration, the document says, estimating that TRUS will increase 58 percent by 2050.

The relevant technologies that could boost TRUs towards zero emissions include all-electric plug-ins with range extender technology, van and refrigeration system efficiencies, cryogenic refrigeration systems, and fuel cells, the document states. The Air Resources Board recommends that a successful demonstration of a zero emissions TRU – particularly hydrogen fuel cells – could prove invaluable as a way to move towards an industry-wide solution.

“Implementing emission reduction targets for an entire facility could provide both compliance flexibility and synergies in facility fueling infrastructure,” the document states. “For example, if a distribution center moves to fuel cell or electric forklifts, the hydrogen fueling or electric charging infrastructure is then available to onroad trucks and transportation refrigeration units serving that facility.”

TRUs can carry anything from food to pharmaceuticals, plants, medicines, blood, chemicals, photographic film, art work, satellites and explosives.

In terms of reducing idling time for TRUs at places such as grocery stores, the discussion document suggests gradually reducing the time through phases:

  • Phase I: 24 hours, effective January 1, 2020
  • Phase II: 1 hours, effective January 1, 2022
  • Phase III: 5 minutes, effective January 1, 2025

The California proposal also targets the use of stationary refrigeration unit-equipped trailers at distribution centers for stocking product overflow.

A rule adoption public hearing is tentatively scheduled for late 2017. In the meantime, CARB will soon be scheduling a series of public workshops explaining its proposal and gathering comments from stakeholders.

In a statement, the CTA says it’s working closely with the American Trucking Associations to determine how the proposal could specifically affect carriers operating TRUs in California. 

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