Hultsteins, the Swedish and British sustainable refrigeration systems manufacturer, is showing its Ecogen CostSaver hybrid drive unit at this year’s ITT Hub exhibition in Farnborough.

Developed by Hultsteins, Ecogen has recently been renamed Ecogen CostSaver to more closely reflect the system’s unique ability to power any trailer refrigeration unit while greatly reducing C02 emissions and the cost of diesel fuel.

Hultsteins’ UK managing director, Graham Usher explains: “Customer feedback over recent years has highlighted the significant cost and carbon savings which Ecogen brings. As such, we decided to change the Ecogen name to Ecogen CostSaver and now it says on the tin, exactly what it does!”

Ecogen CostSaver is a ‘bolt-on’ hybrid-drive device which couples to the tractor PTO and uses uncomplicated technology to generate sufficient electric to run the trailer refrigeration unit during transit. It can be retrofitted to any tractor unit with a PTO. (Scania , Volvo & Renault tractors all have PTO timing gear fitted in all their engines).

“There are significant emissions savings” continues Graham “which will be important when emission restrictions are introduced for auxiliary engines within low emission zones.”

According to Hultsteins, Ecogen CostSaver will reduce CO2 by around 75 to 90 % ( depending on individual operation) and virtually eliminate DPM & Nox – harmful diesel emissions which ordinarily would be pumped out by the trailer fridge because it does not have any filtration or particulate capture. A standard TRU relies on ‘combustion to atmosphere’ and functions at around Euro2  emissions standard.

Regarding the key questions of expenditure and return on investment, Graham says that Hultsteins UK is offering an operating lease for as little as £10 a day. Or, with outright purchase, some operators are reporting an ROI of just 18 months.

“Ecogen CostSaver is ideal for virtually anyone running trailer fridges over a reasonable distance. The savings in fuel, emissions, maintenance, and downtime are outstanding.”

Plus, Graham adds that for operators who trunk double-deck trailers the system truly comes into its own and achieves massive savings all round.

Also, according to Hultsteins, even the most efficient diesel-powered refrigeration unit uses 1.7 to 2.7 litres an hour, whereas older multi-temperature trailer fridges running at high speeds can use 3.5 to 4.5  litres per hour.

Fuel consumed by the truck is minimal: Hultsteins’ operator feedback on a 44-tonne operation with the fridge running 7 hours a day saw a 0.1mpg loss.

However, Hultsteins report that some of their Ecogen CostSaver customers can’t see any difference in the MPG. While others record between 0.1 to 0.3. The minor differences, say Hultsteins depend on each operation and the marque of truck being used.

“Often, the service life for a trailer can be 10 years” says Graham. “With a fleet of trailers four years old and requiring some changes, operators are unlikely to want to replace the fridge with a very expensive electric refrigeration unit. However, with an Ecogen CostSaver, the existing fridge will keep going for many more years and will exceed normal fuel consumption and emissions targets.”

“Our customers are seeing this as a way of making improvements that can be put into their fleet right now” concludes Graham Usher. “Both in terms of reduced emissions and increased profits they can make an immediate and positive impact on their business.”

Ecogen Cost Saver can be retrofitted to any tractor unit with a PTO and converts existing diesel trailer refrigeration units to run on electricity. The system is designed for 10 to 12 years and can be moved from one truck to the next when the vehicle is renewed.