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California ARB holding two workshops on developing measure to reduce emissions from TRUs

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is developing a measure to reduce emissions from Transport Refrigeration Units (TRUs) by transitioning to zero-emission technologies. To that end, ARB staff is holding two more workshops on the development of a regulation to limit the amount of time that internal combustion engine-driven TRUs and TRU gensets operate while stationary, as well as requiring an overall zero-emission mode operating time.

At the upcoming workshop, ARB staff will discuss preliminary concepts developed since the first workshop in April 2016. This includes conceptual ideas on a phased implementation schedule for stationary operating time limits and zero emission mode operating percentages, as well as related details. The first upcoming workshop will be 16 August in Sacramento, the second on 18 August in Riverside.

Background. TRUs control the environment for temperature-sensitive products transported in refrigerated trucks, trailers, shipping containers and railcars. TRU gensets are typically engine-powered generators designed to provide power to electrically driven refrigeration units. TRUs and TRU gensets emit diesel PM, NOx, greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

Some companies use TRUs for extended cold storage during the four- to six-week period before major holidays and events. Distribution centers and grocery stores are known to run out of cold storage space in their buildings, so they store overflow goods in TRU-equipped trucks and trailers outside the grocery stores and distribution centers.

Some distribution centers also operate in a way that causes TRU-equipped trucks and trailers to be parked or queued for extended times, waiting for an open loading dock space or manpower to unload goods, or waiting for dispatch or driver pick-up. These operations sometimes continue for several days. A few distribution centers are using refrigerated trailers equipped with all-electric stationary TRUs (e.g. Carrier Transicold’s Vector 8100) that are plugged into the electric power grid while in use.

Data gathered by ARB staff indicates that in 2017, there are about 44,000 California-based TRUs/gensets and about 147,000 out-of-state-based TRUs/gensets that periodically operate in California. About 18,000 of these are operating in California on any given day. About 9,000 refrigerated railcars and domestic shipping containers periodically operate in California; about 1,700 of these are operating in California on any given day.

Estimated 2017 emissions from all TRUs and TRU gensets operating in California include:

  • Diesel PM2.5: 230 tons per year
  • NOx: 6,100 tons per year
  • GHG: 770,000 tons per year (CO2e)

ARB adopted the TRU Airborne Toxic Control Measure in 2004, with amendments in 2010 and 2011, to reduce PM emissions from TRU units. ARB says that further progress must be made; concept to be discussed at the workshop will exceed the current TRU Airborne Toxic Control Measure.

In April 2015, ARB staff released a Sustainable Freight Discussion Document which discussed a potential control measure to limit stationary operation of internal combustion engine-driven TRUs for cold storage and incentives to install infrastructure at affected locations. Current control measure concepts also include transitioning California’s TRU fleet to zero-emission technology.

A Board adoption hearing might be held on the TRU measure in mid-2019.


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