Motor Transport recently honored Carrier Transicold with its Innovation Award. The award was for a joint project with Sainsbury’s to trial the world’s first temperature-controlled trailer using the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide.

Carrier Transicold, which operates in the UK as Carrier Transicold (UK) Ltd., aims to help improve global transport and shipping temperature control with a complete line of equipment for refrigerated trucks, trailers and containers, and is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

Labelled as “a potential game changer” by the Motor Transport judging panel, the two-year project launched in August 2013 uses a modified version of Carrier Transicold’s NaturaLINE™ refrigeration system, which was initially developed for ocean container shipping. The 10.8-metre, insulated, urban distribution trailer delivers frozen produce to stores using NaturaLINE’s non-ozone depleting CO2 refrigerant, which has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of one.

In contrast, most temperature-controlled systems on commercial vehicles use conventional refrigerants such as R-404A with a GWP of 3,920. GWP is the measurement used to show the equivalent kilograms of CO2. The GWP of CO2 is lower than other natural refrigerants, such as propane, so even in the event of a leak, the use of CO2 adds no new environmental risk.

“Congratulations to Sainsbury’s for taking a bold step forward to reduce its carbon footprint by successfully demonstrating the application of the NaturaLINE CO2 refrigeration system for road use,” said David Appel, president of Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. “The trial’s success is great news for Sainsbury’s and the environment.”