Carrier Transicold reveals higher-capacity hybrid reefer unit

Carrier Transicold on Wednesday, March 18, took another larger step into the hybrid reefer unit market, introducing the Vector 6500, a hybrid refrigerated trailer cooling unit designed for the single-temperature reefer van market.

“This is a Deltek hybrid for the rest of the market,” said David Kiefer, director of marketing and product management. Carrier’s original hybrid unit for the American market, the 1800 MT, is designed only for the multitemp refrigerated trailer market and does not have the cooling capacity needed for 53-foot van trailers maintained at a single temperature.

The unit has no mechanical drive parts, Kiefer said. “The engine drives only a 23 KW electric generator that has one moving part and no bearings,” he said. Its compressor, which is driven by its own integral electric motor, is “semi-hermetic,” which means there is no shaft seal, a common refrigerant leakage point. The condenser and evaporator fans are driven by long-life brushless AC motors.

“Trucking companies need ways to reduce cost, even in good times,” Kiefer said. “This unit is designed to help trucking companies save money.”

The largest area of cost savings will be use of electric standby operation, which, in some applications, means the ability to run units on the power grid while sitting in a warehouse yard or at a dock overnight or during weekends. Even with diesel fuel at moderate prices, this can save amounts approaching $1 per hour, according to Kiefer.

The unit heats the trailer with simple electrical resistance strips, which provides a substantial fuel savings over using the refrigeration system for heat, while also eliminating one-third of the refrigerant charge, Kiefer said. An ideal application is in a northern area where heat is required much of the year.

Kiefer said other savings accrue from the unit’s ability to shut off unneeded components at certain times; for example, the engine could start to charge the battery without running the compressor or evaporator fan.

Large savings can come from the elimination of such standard mechanical components as drive belts, fan shafts, idler pulleys, the alternator, gearbox and mechanical clutches, Kiefer said. The compressor has been proven in use on the ocean in refrigerated containers and operates more smoothly than standard reefer unit compressors, eliminating the suction and discharge vibrasorber hose components, he said.

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The unit, powered by a Tier 4 emissions-rated direct-injection Kubota diesel, is designed to allow precise control to match cooling output to requirements, thanks to both variable operating rpm and the ability to run the compressor on 6, 4, or 2 cylinders.

The unit will come at a premium price compared to conventional reefer units with mechanical drive components, but because it will save fuel and reduce discarded repair items that will end up in landfills, and the engine is certified by the California Air Resources Board, the company believes it is an environmentally sound design, Kiefer said.