Thermo King announced that Woolworths and DP World have become the first in Africa to utilise the Thermo King AxlePower energy recovery system. This advancement aims to enhance sustainability within the African transport sector, with the new Thermo King refrigerated trailer now operational on Woolworths’ route between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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Source: Thermo King

The AxlePower system has demonstrated its efficiency by maintaining constant cooling and uninterrupted airflow inside the trailer under extreme conditions, including ambient temperatures exceeding 40°C. Over a distance of 15,000 km, the system has operated in electric mode for more than 97% of the time, without the need to engage the diesel engine or connect to the grid to balance the battery charge. It is estimated that AxlePower will save up to 27 tonnes of co2 annually compared to traditional diesel-powered refrigeration systems.

“This project marks an important milestone towards a more sustainable future for Africa’s transport and logistics sector,” said Ronnie Meechan, Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa at Thermo King. “In South Africa’s growing market, the adoption of electrification and Hydrogen technologies is becoming more prominent as transporters aim to reduce fuel consumption. Our collaboration with Woolworths and DP World highlights the potential of technological advancements to reduce environmental impact.”

“As part of our commitment to sustainability, we are excited to introduce Thermo King AxlePower technology to our fleet,” said Feroz Koor, Group Head of Sustainability at Woolworths Holdings. “Following the roll-out of our electric online delivery vehicles last year, this initiative supports our Vision 2025+ goal of achieving net Zero carbon emissions by 2040. It aims to create a more sustainable and efficient supply chain while reducing our Carbon footprint.”

“We are proud to usher in a new era of energy-efficient and environmentally conscious refrigeration,” said Esha Mansingh, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability for sub-Saharan Africa at DP World. “This initiative aligns with DP World’s sustainability strategy, ‘Our World, Our Future’, prioritising sustainability and the impact on people, the environment, and communities. The Thermo King AxlePower system represents a significant step towards achieving responsible logistics practices.”

Thermo King AxlePower is a collaborative effort between Thermo King and BPW. AxlePower is a fully integrated, tractor-independent system combining BPW’s ePower axle with Thermo King’s refrigeration unit and power management technology. The system generates power needed to run the trailer refrigeration unit by converting energy recovered from the trailer’s axle during routine operation.

The energy generated while the vehicle is rolling or braking is stored in a high-voltage battery and reused to power the refrigeration unit, enabling fully electric, low or zero-emission, and autonomous trailer refrigeration. The Thermo King Energ-e battery pack charges while the trailer is moving and powers the unit autonomously when the trailer is stopped. The smart power management system controls the engagement of the generators, minimizing resistance on the tractor and providing real-time battery charge visibility to the driver and fleet manager.