While Hyundai’s HDC-6 Neptune hydrogen truck concept garnered most of the attention on Monday at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta, it was not the only innovative product the global automaker showed off. Hyundai Translead, the company’s trailer division, showcased a refrigerated trailer concept that utilizes liquid nitrogen for refrigeration.
Unlike the hydrogen tractor, the HT Nitro ThermoTech trailer could see American roadways in the near future. It is set to enter testing soon, Stuart James, chief sales officer of Hyundai Translead, told FreightWaves.
The trailer features a belly tank that can hold up to 250 gallons of liquid nitrogen. James said the fuel is not combustible, making it completely safe should the tank be punctured. The cryogenic tank keeps the liquid nitrogen cooled to minus 328 degrees F.
Filling the tank, based on current pricing, is about $100, he said, and would last between three and four days, depending on ambient temperature and the temperature inside the trailer.
There is no diesel refrigeration unit on the trailer at all, and in fact, there is no large box on the front of the trailer either. Instead, a thin unit only a few inches wide sits at the front of the trailer, with temperature controls at the bottom front left. There is virtually no noise from the unit other than a soft hum.
James noted that with very few moving parts, and maintenance required only once every 2,000 hours, maintenance costs will be lower than a traditional diesel unit.
According to the company, the use of liquid nitrogen will cool the trailer quicker. It can be designed for single or multi-temperature operation.
“This refrigerated trailer concept represents a significant advancement in our continued commitment to corporate social responsibility,” Bongjae Lee, CEO of Hyundai Translead, said. “By developing innovative technology, Hyundai Translead is helping address climate change. The HT Nitro ThermoTech reduces pollutants and emissions while providing reliable and effective cold chain food transportation.”
The design of the trailer is unique as well in that it eliminates traditional post construction. James said “the entire thing is put together by glue.” In fact, each side panel, the top, bottom and front are single panels made of structural sandwich foam panels with Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) skins that are bonded together. The elimination of rivets and posts, James noted, helps maintain temperature integrity as aluminum draws in ambient temperatures.
The depth of the foam can be customized to each user’s operating requirements, James said.
The HT is also a smart trailer and includes temperature monitoring, tire pressure and wheel end temperature monitoring, air disc brake monitoring and door open/close alerts. There are also cameras inside the trailer that monitor cargo volume every 10 feet and GPS tracking, cargo theft monitoring, and geofencing.
All of these features can be fed remotely back to transportation managers and/or drivers in real time.