The environmental challenge caused by booming global demand for cooling could be far greater than previously thought. That is the finding of a new report by Dearman, a clean cold and power technology company.
This report indicates that due to changing demographics, particularly in Asia, the number of refrigerated vehicles on the road could feasibly reach 15.5 million by 2025—up from fewer than 3 million in 2013.
If changing demographics have the most dramatic foreseeable effect, then this number could be as high as 18 million refrigerated vehicles on the road by 2025—double previous estimates.
This rapid expansion in cold transportation reflects the growth of more affluent lifestyles among increasingly wealthy, urbanized populations in nations such as India and China. As these populations grow, it’s necessary to install cold chains to ensure more food reaches consumers in good condition. It is also an indicator of much broader demand for cooling as economies grow and nations address issues such as food loss and public health.
But if this growth in demand occurs without new technologies being introduced, the environmental effects could be devastating. A conventional diesel-powered transport refrigeration unit, which keeps a refrigerated vehicle cold, can emit up to six times as much NOx and up to 29 times as much particulate matter as a modern diesel HGV engine.
Commenting on the report, Pawanexh Kohli, chief advisor and chief executive officer, National Centre for Cold-Chain Development, India, said, “Globally, civilization has reached a tipping point where our capacity to feed our growing numbers is of serious and increasing concern. Science has enabled us to increase food production, but much of what we produce perishes before it can reach the people we need to feed.
“It has therefore become imperative that mankind fully grasps and controls clean cold energy so our species can continue to thrive and prosper,” Kohli said. “The need to develop cold-chain connectivity is, if anything, more important in India than elsewhere. India is the single-largest concentration of vegetarians, and cold-chain is the only viable mode of delivering fresh foods to our consumers, the bridge between farms and consumers over vast distances.”
This report follows recent studies by IMechE (A Tank of Cold: Cleantech Leapfrog to a More Food-Secure World) and the Carbon Trust (The Emerging Cold Economy). These reports also address the rapidly growing future demand for cooling, along with the opportunity to establish a new industry to provide alternative clean cold technologies.
The Dearman transport refrigeration system, an alternative to highly polluting transport refrigeration units, is undergoing on-vehicle testing, and is performing well. Commercial field trials are set to begin later in 2015.
Access www.dearmanengine.com to obtain a downloadable copy of the new report.