NEPC benefits from Vector 5100 use

NEPC benefits from Vector 5100 use

Like many North American metropolitan food distribution operations, the New England Produce Center (NEPC) in Chelsea MA uses stationary refrigerated trailers to manage capacity at its facility.

In such applications, reefer units serve 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, consuming diesel fuel and adding exhaust emissions to already-stressed urban environments. The NEPC and community advocates were ripe for a change and rallied to replace nearly 100 diesel refrigeration units with Carrier’s all-electric Vector 5100 units. This helped to clear the air and reduce the drone of engines emanating from the center, making the NEPC a better neighbor to the residents of Chelsea while also reducing fuel consumption and cutting operating costs for the center.

All-electric Vector 5100 single-temperature units are designed for situations just like Chelsea’s. At the NEPC, the engineless units simply plug into AC power at the loading docks and quietly provide emissions-free refrigeration for on-site food storage. The result is a sharp contrast to the traditional approach of using conventional diesel-powered units.

The Vector 5100 units are credited with ridding the local atmosphere of more than 1,025 tons of air pollutants annually. For the NEPC, they also eliminate more than 268,000 gallons of diesel fuel consumption. That alone saves an estimated $590,000 a year in operating expense, because electricity is more economical than diesel fuel. Elimination of engine maintenance adds more savings.

Located along the Mystic River across from Boston, Chelsea has been identified as the third most environmentally overburdened city in Massachusetts. It has some of the state’s highest reported incidences of respiratory ailments, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cancers related to diesel engine exhaust pollution. This densely populated suburb is crisscrossed with diesel corridors for trucking, shipping, and airport traffic. The NEPC alone has 37,000 truck deliveries each year.

Given this situation, the leadership of the community-based non-profit Chelsea Collaborative Inc identified ways to improve the local atmosphere and then took their case to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA responded with a grant to help support proposed emissions-reducing programs, the largest of which was for the NEPC’s Vector 5100 units and corresponding facility upgrades to provide electrification at the loading docks.

The Vector 5100 is based on the all-electric refrigeration system architecture of Carrier’s Vector 6500 single-temperature transport refrigeration unit (TRU). A hybrid unit, the Vector 6500 uses a diesel engine and electric generator for on-highway power and offers plug-in electric-standby capability when parked near “shore power,” such as at a loading dock.

Requiring just an AC power supply, the Vector 5100 delivers best-in-class capacity: 59,000 Btu of cooling at 35° F setpoint and 100°F ambient temperature. Maintenance-free electric motors drive its evaporator fan and condenser fans. The semi-hermetic compressor has no shaft seal to wear out. Heating, when needed, is provided by electric-resistance elements, rather than hot gas. It also uses Carrier’s quiet V-force condenser fans and Novation condenser coil.

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