Currently, most of the approximately 300,000 TRUs traversing U.S. highways are powered by diesel generators. However, diesel is costly and produces environmentally hazardous particulate matter and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. A typical TRU will consume about 10 gallons of diesel per day, and emit roughly 101 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2). By comparison, hydrogen-powered fuel cells emit only a small amount of heat and water, making them an environmentally friendly alternative energy source. These fuel cells also operate more efficiently, cleaner, quieter, and at a lower cost than diesel.
“Plug Power’s leadership in the material transport industry is generating interest and development funds for implementation of fuel cells in adjacent markets,” commented Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “This TRU award demonstrates how Plug Power is now executing on its market expansion strategy to architect fuel cell solutions across a wider range of opportunities.”
Plug Power’s TRU fuel cells, which will be based on its GenDrive technology, will cool Carrier Transicold refrigeration units on trailers delivering products for a Sysco Corp. distribution center on Long Island, NY. Each TRU will run for a minimum of 400 hours over the two-year contract period. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a contractor that manages government programs for the DOE, will oversee the program.
Gulf States Cold Storage Moves Into Savannah
Gulf States Cold Storage recently opened a 100,000 square-foot cold storage facility serving the Port of Savannah, with the site being capable of blast freezing up to four million pounds of cargo per week.
The new facility, located less than 10 miles from the Port of Savannah, maintains the cold storage area at -12 degrees Fahrenheit, while the blast cells reach as low as -35 degrees. Most of the cargo will be moved on racks, however the facility also features a bulk staging area for transload operations with plans for a dock extension and the addition of 85,000 square feet of frozen storage already in the development stage.
“With Gulf States already considering the expansion of warehouse space and adding a second shift, it’s obvious Port customers need the cold storage capacity,” observed Curtis Foltz, Executive Director for Georgia Ports Authority (GPA). “Right now, we have more demand for refrigerated warehousing than we have existing facilities. The GPA’s ongoing work to expand our on-terminal capacity for refrigerated cargo, along with private developments like Gulf States, will strengthen Georgia’s position in the marketplace.”
Supplied largely by Georgia’s farms, the Port of Savannah handles nearly 40 percent of the nation’s containerized poultry exports. Since 2006, refrigerated exports through the Port of Savannah have increased 130 percent. Last year alone, the GPA saw a 3.9 percent increase in refrigerated cargo exports, totaling nearly 108,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
Focused mainly on poultry exports, the majority of Gulf States’ cargo originates in Georgia, but the cold storage facility also handles cargo from North and South Carolina. John Dean, vice president of sales and marketing at Gulf States, said the blast freezing site will serve only export customers for now, but the company is talking with potential customers to add imported vegetables, fruit and seafood to its commodity portfolio.