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Hannaford to Test Electric-Powered Trailers

SHODACK, N.Y. — A new demonstration test of 15 stationary electric-powered refrigerator trailers will take place at a warehouse operated by Hannaford Bros. here, part of a project to facilitate a network where refrigerated trucks can operate solely on electricity for both loading and unloading of goods.

The test will be conducted by New West Technologies (NWT), Utica, N.Y., which has received an award of $300,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to demonstrate the cost and environmental savings of electric-powered refrigerator trucks.

NWT will work with Hannaford to identify New York store locations that could benefit economically from the electrical connections, where trailers remain onsite for extended periods. The technology, which is commonly used in Europe, has been slow to catch on in the United States.

As part of this project, specialized 460-volt electrical systems will be installed at two distribution centers and numerous retail outlets in New York. Hannaford is the first to sign up for the project and is committing 15 electric standby plug-in trailers, out of a fleet of 50 that the retailer owns.

Conventional trailer refrigeration units use a trailer-mounted diesel engine to power a refrigeration system for storing and transporting fresh and frozen foods. Electric-standby trailers instead use electricity to perform this function when parked at spaces equipped with the right connections. Electric operation is considerably less costly than diesel, and also results in less greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution. In addition, electric refrigeration is quieter.

“This initiative supports our ongoing efforts to operate as efficiently as possible for our customers and our store communities,” said Chris Huff, director of transportation for Hannaford, in a statement.