HFC Emission Reduction Measures for Mobile Air Conditioning - Reduction of GHG Emissions from Refrigerated Shipping Containers

This page last reviewed July 31, 2012


Perishable refrigerated items are the largest, most profitable, and fastest growing sector of international trade, and refrigerated shipping containers (RSCs) serve as the primary system to transport frozen and refrigerated items for the retail, pharmaceutical, and food service industries throughout the world. At the present time modern RSCs are capable of using electrical power from ships, shore power, and power from diesel generator sets. All these sources of electrical power are used in the cold chain process from producer to consumer. In the port vicinity, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from RSCs include leakage of refrigerant during decommissioning, leakage of refrigerant during normal use, and emissions from diesel engines. There are several refrigerants currently used in RSCs, all with very high Global Warming Potential, but the most prevalent refrigerant is HFC-134a.

This measure proposes to reduce these emissions, and the reduction of emissions is complicated by the fact that the RSCs are used and decommissioned by multiple participants in the cold chain. For example, product producers, shipping companies, the ports, cold storage and product preparers, and product sellers use and decomission RSCs. At any stage of the cold chain process a failure of the RSCs may occur, and the RSCs could be repaired, refurbished, decommissioned, or recycled by the manufacturer or a refurbisher. Since RSCs are expensive technical devices with electrical generators and refrigerant compressors, they are quite valuable even in a decommissioned state. This measure will have requirements to reduce GHG emissions from refrigerated shipping containers during the entire cold chain process.

References Last Reviewed July 31, 2012

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