Woolies trials new eco trailers in Australian first

Woolworths Group is trialling an innovative new ‘e-axle trailer’ which uses kinetic energy from its own axle and wheels to generate electricity.

In an Australian first, it has been deployed in Queensland and is being trialled by Woolworths’ supply chain and logistics arm, Primary Connect

The electricity generated through the axle feeds a battery, which can run the refrigeration system and reduce the diesel consumption.

According to Woolworths, the trailer significantly reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate emissions through the removal of both diesel generators and 200L fuel tanks.

Trailers throughout the Primary Connect fleet normally consume two litres of fuel per hour, with each trailer refrigeration system being used for an average of eight hours per day. Given the minimum life of a trailer is 10 years, the new e-axle trailer would save over 5000 litres of fuel, equating to 13.2 tonnes of CO2 over that period.

The new trailer was created in partnership with Carrier Transicold (fridge and battery solution), SAF Holland (e-axle) and MaxiTRANS (trailer manufacturer).

Ben Newton, Primary Connect’s general manager strategy and partnerships says he’s pleased company has had the opportunity to put the first e-axle trailer on the road in Australia.

“At Woolworths, we want to build a better tomorrow for generations to come, and this is an important step in our path towards reducing emissions in our road transport operations,” he said.

Phillip Farrugia, Primary Connect’s national fleet manager added, “The trial not only helps reduce emissions, but also runs more quietly, meaning less disruption through residential community areas.

“We’ll keep a close eye on the impact of this technology on our emissions profile and look at its potential for broader deployment across the fleet.”

Stephen Elford, Carrier Transicold Australia-New Zealand’s managing director commented, “When it comes to innovation, our ultimate goal is to develop solutions that matter for people and the planet, a value we share with Woolworths Group’s Primary Connect.

“We believe the Vector eCool represents the future of refrigerated trailer technology. This fully electric trailer refrigeration unit operates autonomously without the need for a diesel engine.

“It’s one of the most exciting new products we have ever brought to market and we are delighted to have partnered with Woolworths Group to deliver the first unit of its kind in Australia.”

If proved successful, Woolworths Group and Primary Connect hope to scale the new technology across its fleet of over 800 refrigerated trailers.

The e-axle trailer is one of a number of sustainability initiatives across the group, that aims to support the delivery of a 63 per cent reduction in Scope 1 emissions by 2030.

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