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Active Solutions: Combating Black Carbon Emissions from TRUs

Active Solutions: Combating Black Carbon Emissions from TRUs

Transportation Refrigeration Units (TRUs) play a vital role in the global cold chain logistics industry, enabling the transportation of perishable goods such as food and pharmaceuticals. However, the diesel engines that power these units emit harmful pollutants. Most notable of all is black carbon. This particular pollutant not only poses a substantial risk to public health but is a major contributor to climate change. Looking the other way is no longer an option.

Understanding the impact of TRUs on air quality

TRUs can emit up to 29 times more carcinogenic particulate matter and six times more nitric oxides (NOx) than larger, modern diesel truck engines. According to the Climate & Clean Air Coalition, 26% of black carbon and 33% of carbon dioxide emissions come from transportation vehicles. These emissions are most often concentrated around distribution centers, many of which  are located near marginalized communities.

Black carbon can also have detrimental effects on human health, particularly respiratory health, and contributes to air pollution in urban areas. New studies have shown that even low levels of particulate matter cause behavior issues and lower IQ scores in 2- to 4-year-olds. Having clean air to breathe is a key social determinate of health and must be treated with the same importance as access to education, healthy foods, employment and shelter.

Reduction of diesel particulate matter emissions is a critical parallel path to decarbonization. It can help prevent a multitude of climate tipping points that could accelerate global temperature rise and its negative impact on society.

The truth about cascading TRU fleets outside California

In 2004, California implemented measures to address the elevated levels of particulate matter and other pollutants emitted by TRUs that tend to gather around distribution centers. Recognizing the crucial role TRUs play in our perishable supply chain, California granted a grace period of seven years for non-compliant units to transport cargo within the state. After this period, the units were required to undergo upgrades to meet the newly established emission standards.

Cascading refers to the practice of relocating compliant TRUs to California while simultaneously transferring non-compliant and polluting TRUs to service areas outside state borders. This harmful practice not only affects communities in other states but also perpetuates the trajectory of irreversible temperature rise, posing a continued threat to our planet.

Ask the hard question about whether this is standard practice in your own organization.

How to make an impact on black carbon emissions now

It’s estimated that over 250,000 TRUs nationwide (over half the TRU population) continue to release around 0.1 g/bhp-hr of diesel particulate matter. Many businesses have pledged to reach zero emissions in the next decade, but what about the here and now?  

It’s quite possible to significantly reduce diesel emissions now. By equipping their TRU fleets with Rypos’ DPFs, owners can anticipate a substantial reduction in black carbon emissions of up to 95%. This immediate and notable decrease has a positive effect on combating climate change.

ULETRU DPFs reduce an impressive 10-12 metric tons of CO2e per year and over 150 metric tons of CO2e for the life of a diesel TRU.

If your company operates TRUs outside California, make sure your fleet meets the 0.02 g/bhp-hr PM emissions standard.  There are new TRUs that meet this standard and there is technology readily available to cost-effectively retrofit existing TRUs to meet this standard. Rypos DPFs don’t require any driver intervention and are compatible with Thermo King® or Carrier® TRUs.

If you operate a refrigerated distribution center, require all TRUs that enter your yard to meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr PM emissions standard.  There is a marketable benefit by reporting the Scope 3 emissions reductions in your Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report. Even more important is the knowledge that you have made forward motion for improved health outcomes for your employees and the community.

The Immediate Benefits of Emissions Reduction

This reduction in emissions obtained by using active DPFs in TRUs has several benefits, including:

  1. Improved Environmental Performance: TRU fleet owners or managers who install Rypos’ DPFs will immediately improve their environmental performance and reduce their carbon footprint. By reducing black carbon emissions, fleet owners can play a role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.
  2. Cost Savings: TRU fleet owners or managers who install Rypos’ DPFs will reduce the unnecessary consumption of diesel fuel needed to perform regeneration. This saves additional carbon emissions as well as decreasing fuel costs for TRU fleet owners.
  • Compliance with Regulations (or future regulations): TRU fleet owners are subject to strict emissions regulations that limit the amount of particulate matter and other harmful emissions they can produce. By installing Rypos’ DPFs, fleet owners can make sure they are in compliance with these regulations and avoid potential fines and penalties. Emissions regulations are constantly evolving and are guaranteed to tighten as the country moves toward its net zero goals.

Leading your fleet with sustainable diesel emissions technology

Diesel TRUs will be around for many years to come.  TRU fleet owners have a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment. Although the goal is to move away from diesel engines, we need to deal with the dirty now diesel emissions will continue over the next decade until electric can be a reality.

We have the technology to reduce these emissions, so let’s use it. Simple, common-sense measures like equipping fleets with active DPFs will go a long way to help mitigate the worst climate outcomes and improve the wellbeing of marginalized communities everywhere.

It’s time to lead your fleet.

Reducing DPM emissions is crucial for preventing a range of climate tipping points that could accelerate global temperature rise and have a negative impact on society. By taking action to address diesel particulate matter emissions today, we can make progress towards a cleaner, more sustainable future tomorrow.

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Want to learn more about Rypos’ emission control systems?

Contact Rypos, the emissions control specialists, today to find out how our active diesel particulate filters can help your company meet its sustainability goals.