With food transport, including refrigeration, thought to be responsible for almost 2% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, manufacturers of refrigerated vehicles are facing challenges when it comes to reducing their environmental impact and making cost savings.

As the EU looks to cut CO2 emissions by 15%, manufacturers of refrigerated vehicles must look for alternative methods of fitting out vehicles to ensure emission targets are met.

However, it’s thought that the worldwide fleet of refrigerated vehicles is projected to grow to around 18 million by 2025 (from around two million in 2015). Balancing emission, increased demand for refrigerated vehicles and an effort to make cost savings can present significant challenges for many manufacturers.

The use of lightweight, thermally efficient panels, both in the design and manufacture of new refrigerated vehicles and retrofitted to existing vehicles, is a popular method of achieving significant cost savings.

Ravatherm XPS X RTM PLUS (formerly known as Styrofoam RTM) is commonly used in panel cores thanks to its highly insulating and lightweight properties, making it ideal for cooling.

A spokesperson for Panel Systems, a company that manufactures and supplies Ravatherm XPS (Styrofoam) panel cores for the walls, roofs and floors of refrigerated vehicles, said: “The use of Ravatherm XPS can offer significant weight savings. Reductions in weight not only help to reduce CO2 emissions, companies also benefit from significant cost reductions.”

The higher thermal efficiency provided by lightweight materials helps to maintain the interior temperature of the cargo hold for much longer, resulting in fewer spoiled and wasted products and further cost savings.

The spokesperson added: “When it comes to Ravatherm XPS panel cores for refrigerated vehicles it offers both weight savings and an insulating core which saves on keeping the vehicle cool and in the fuel savings from the vehicles being out on the road. In addition, making weight savings within the vehicle means additional goods can be carried.”

“Many refrigerated vehicles are using lightweight panel cores but there are also components within the vehicle body made from heavier materials such as metal and timber, which can be replaced with modern, innovative lightweight materials.”

The performance of Ravatherm XPS provides long term thermal insulation, allowing vehicles to remain effective and pass regulations for far longer, preventing businesses from having to replace vehicles as often and saving on the cost of regular fleet replacement.