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UK: Global shipping and logistics company DFDS is the first client for the zero-emission transport refrigeration system developed by London-based start-up company Sunswap.

The Sunswap system is designed to replace the diesel transport refrigeration unit with a system comprising patent-pending battery technology with solar panels on the trailer roof. 

It is expected to be deployed by DFDS on UK roads in February 2022. The demonstrator will be used to transport real-world produce for DFDS, so that they can road test a green alternative for their current fleet. Following a successful deployment DFDS will confirm an agreed pre-order. 

 The deal with DFDS, Northern Europe’s largest shipping and logistics company, is a significant step in the firm’s mission to support the transition away from diesel TRUs and decarbonise the cold chain. 

“Working with DFDS to deploy a zero-emission TRU, with the potential for a significant order to follow, is a substantial milestone for the firm,” said Sunswap CEO Michael Lowe.

“The Sunswap team has been working incredibly hard behind the scenes this year, developing our unique TRU technology and building partnerships with large supermarkets and logistics firms. It has been pleasing to see that businesses in the industry are increasingly cognisant of the need to switch to green transport refrigeration to support the drive to achieve net zero. Our order books are filling up and we welcome discussions with any businesses looking to transition to cost-effective, industry leading sustainable technology.”

Sunswap secured £150,000 funding in April 2020 to develop electric transport refrigeration technology utilising energy prediction, adaptive battery capacity and solar power.  

Innovate UK – the non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government – has issued grants to Sunswap. In 2020 Sunswap received a £157,000 grant to develop a high-efficiency TRU that is compatible with a low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant, alongside the CEP Laboratory at Imperial College London. Sunswap received a £219,000 grant to develop next-generation electrical architecture for TRUs in partnership with Cenex. Additionally, Sunswap raised £501,000 on Crowdcube in January 2021. 

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