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According to Global Industry Analysis Inc., refrigerated transportation world market will reach 5 billion € by 2015.Increasing awareness about food safety, consumer spending on high value perishable goods and replacement of refrigerated vehicles are driving the growth in refrigerated transportation market. Approximately 650.000 refrigerated road vehicles are currently in use within the EU.The increase of fuel price is becoming a crucial aspect for cold transport companies, since the continuous growth of oil price is leading to a drastic increase of operative costs.Refrigerated vans and trucks spend 10.000-100.000 litre of fuel/year and 8% about of this amount is due to refrigeration, today performed by energy consuming compressor-driven Air Conditioning Systems (ACS) fed by the electricity generated by an alternator.The project here presented deals with the development of an innovative Sorption Heat Pump, based on the adsorption/desorption of a gas stream (hydrogen) on solid beds and able to produce cold exploiting the waste heat generated by the thermal engine and thus saving 800 – 8.000 fuel litre/years for each van/truck.The sorption heat pump to develop is a Metal Hydride Cooling System (MHCS) based on hydrogen adsorption/desorption on solid beds. Such a technology allow reaching the highest compactness and Specific Cooling Power (SCP, i.e. the ratio between cooling power and system total weight) comparing the other heat-driven heat pump units, up to 50 W/kg versus 25 W/kg of silica-gel technology.

The main S&T objectives of the HP-ACS are:
1.    Developing, testing and characterizing of suitable materials for cold van (operating temperature = 4°C)
2.    Designing and engineering a retrofit HP-ACS system, to be easily assembled in cold van and with the scope to minimize system weight.
3.    Implementation and testing of HP-ACS prototype on a refrigerated van, in conformity to the CEI EN regulation, to be benchmarked with presently van ACS systems.

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA- Research Executive Agency, FP7-SME-2012-1 Research for SMEs under Grant Agreement no. 315103comunita.png