Reefer Units Challenge the Limits of Thermal Efficiency

reefer unit

Reefer units get quieter, more efficient

CCJ Digital, May 10, 2016. Image credit: I, 天然ガス, CC BY-SA 3.0

Transportation refrigeration units (TRU) are reaching heights of sophistication that rival the modern tractors that pull them across the highway.

And like their truck counterparts, TRUs have made many strides to throttle back fuel consumption while also maximizing their efficiency.

Tom Kampf, product manager for Thermo King, says changes in engine design have also helped boost efficiencies. “We’ve moved away from a technology that used belts exclusively to power fans to directly coupling the compressor to the diesel engine,” he says.

Reefer units themselves aren’t the only ones challenging the limits of thermal efficiency. Wabash National in February unveiled a prototype composite refrigerated van utilizing a new, proprietary molded structural composite technology.

Molded structural composites are used in a wide range of applications, including aerospace, automotive, marine and commercial construction, but Wabash says this is the first time the technology is being used in trailer manufacturing.

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