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The Shoprite Group is the first in the country to test a nitrogen powered transport refrigeration system which operates in complete silence with no moving parts, no harmful emissions and absolutely no ozone depletion.
The transport refrigeration system is called ecoFridge and is designed and manufactured in Europe by Ukram Industries. It is a system set to revolutionise the way in which the transport world controls the temperature of perishable goods.
Shoprite is testing the system currently to introduce it into its fleet of more than 500 trucks of which a considerable amount is fresh produce vehicles. These trucks operate from distribution centres and warehouses around the country to replenish the groups more than 1004 stores on the African continent.
The nitrogen powered system is fundamentally different from mechanical refrigeration systems as it is completely harmless to the environment. It is 100% silent running, uses no HFCs or HCFCs and is already compliant on emissions set for Montreal in 2010 and Kyoto in 2015.
Another huge benefit is that it is less expensive to operate as it is seventy to eighty persent faster than mechanical refrigeration in achieving pull-down to set temperature while minimum maintenance is needed with quarterly inspections only.
It has a more than ten years useful life and ecoFridge is simple to operate and requires minimal instruction. All controls are highly visible and easy to understand. The Pre-trip and setting takes only 1 minute. Drivers are notified in the cab if any faults occur.
Nitrogen as a gas is non-toxic or poisonous unlike carbon monoxide and other gases. In fact the air we breath is 78% nitrogen. It is furthermore non- explosive unlike diesel or petrol fumes, hydrogen and LNG. It is non-ozone depleting and therefore completely clean and green.
Nitrogen as a liquid is very cold (-196 C) similar to liquid natural gas LNG (-169 C) and is easily pumped and safely handled unlike LNG which is explosive and stored under low pressure in vacuum insulated tanks.
The benefits of the new system lies in the life extension for commodities and products as it maintains moisture retention and therefore there is less food wastage with no harmfull hcfc & cfc gases used.