Dallas-based Dean Foods, the nation’s largest dairy processor and owner of one of the largest refrigerated direct-store-delivery distribution networks in the food and beverage industry, introduces a delivery vehicle equipped with a new prototype truck refrigeration system developed by Thermo King, Minneapolis, a leader in temperature and climate control products for the transportation industry. This advanced, cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable truck refrigeration system significantly reduces the emissions associated with traditional diesel-powered transport refrigeration.
The diesel-free, hybrid electric-powered refrigeration technology will help Dean Foods reduce its carbon footprint while creating operational efficiencies and cost savings. The technology also represents a step towards achieving Dean Foods’ commitment to remove 50,000 metric tons of carbon from its transportation system by 2013, the equivalent of removing 9,500 cars from the road.
“The commitment shown by Dean Foods and Thermo King demonstrates how corporations can use innovative technology to drive environmentally sustainable practices that increase business efficiency and have positive economic impacts,” said U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and Energy & Environment Subcommittee of the Science & Technology Committee. Congresswoman Johnson attended an announcement in Dallas about the reduced-emission truck refrigeration technology, held at Dean Foods’ Schepps Dairy processing and distribution plant.
“Our highest priority is reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of our operations,” said Harrald Kroeker, president of Dean Foods’ Fresh Dairy Direct business unit. “Innovations that eliminate the use of diesel fuel, which is a major expenditure and our second largest source of emissions, drive cost savings to our business that benefit the environment.”
The electric-powered refrigeration units replace traditional mechanical models that rely on a separate diesel-powered engine to facilitate cooling while en route, and require oil, filters and anti-freeze as part of their routine maintenance. The new unit reduces emissions and waste by operating on electricity both while parked and while driving, eliminating the need for an independent engine in the refrigeration unit. Additionally, the new unit emits significantly less noise than conventional mechanical refrigeration units, an important consideration for local communities.
The prototype truck refrigeration system has already been put into service in Dean Foods’ Dallas-area fleet. It has made daily deliveries from the company’s Oak Farms Dairy facility since March 2010. The company aims to achieve at least a 50% savings in diesel fuel usage as compared to traditional refrigerated vehicles by adopting the new technology over the longer term. Eliminating the diesel used in the refrigeration units of traditional vehicles would remove 21,000 pounds of carbon per vehicle per year and significantly reduce costs. Because Dean Foods typically replaces about 200 delivery trucks each year, innovation such as this is an important step toward substantially decreasing fuel usage and related carbon emissions.
“This emission-reducing technology delivers superior functionality by offering fresh and frozen precise temperature management with complete flexibility for the management of fleets,” said Dave Regnery, president of the Hussmann, Thermo King and Trane businesses in North America. “Thermo King is proud to collaborate with Dean Foods in leading innovation that creates an efficient and sustainable option for refrigerated transportation.”
“Our size and scale give Dean Foods the ability to implement changes in our operations that have tremendous positive impacts on the environment and for the entire food and beverage delivery industry,” said Chip Jones, senior vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility for Dean Foods. “We continuously adopt innovative technology across our 13,000-vehicle network, and collaborating with strategic suppliers like Thermo King is a critical tactic in advancing our company’s sustainability goals.”
The adoption of new transport refrigeration technology is part of Dean Foods’ Smart Fleet initiative - an enterprise-wide effort to “green the fleet” by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants through delivery route optimization, investments in new technology, and equipment and training for drivers. Dean Foods has made significant investments to automate its distribution network, install on-board monitors to gauge idling and vehicle speed and implement optimized route modeling software to build the most efficient delivery routes, reducing fuel usage and costs in the process. Dean Foods is a leader in sustainable business practices and a founding member of the Climate Registry. In 2008, the company established its Environmental Roadmap, with a goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 20%, water use by 30% and solid waste by 30% - all by 2013. Smart Fleet activities, including today’s unveiling of the new sustainable refrigeration technology, play an important role in meeting the carbon reduction goals of the Roadmap. Achieving the carbon reduction target will also yield millions of dollars in cost savings. For instance, improving the transportation fleet’s fuel efficiency by just one mile per gallon reduces annual fuel purchases by 3.6 million gallons and related greenhouse gas emissions by 36,000 tons.
Thermo King Corp.