DUBLIN, CALIF., (October 10, 2017) — Challenge Dairy Products, Inc., the top dairy foodservice producer and provider in California, is introducing a cleaner, more sustainable delivery option for the foodservice industry as the first to deliver its products via the first solar-powered zero-emissions commercial-use Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) – units that store and refrigerate products on delivery routes.
This zero-emissions TRU is powered through Rayfrigeration – the new technology that utilizes the power of the sun to cool moderate refrigerated items such as dairy and produce during transport.
A pioneer in the dairy industry, Challenge Dairy has a history of manufacturing and procedural innovations such as introducing the first successful metal butter churn in the world, being the first to ban the use of growth hormones and now as the first to commercially transport dairy products via a solar-powered emission-free TRU.
“As the first testers of the solar-powered TRU, we are humbled to play a part in a technology that will enable foodservice companies worldwide to have minimal impact on our planet,” said Tom Ditto, Vice President of Foodservice at Challenge Dairy Products, Inc. “For more than a century, Challenge has prided itself on delivering the freshest and highest quality products, and through our Rayfrigeration Delivery Service™, we can hold true to our values, while keeping our customers happy and protecting our planet.”
Conventional TRUs are generally powered by small diesel engines that produce nitrous oxide emissions ten times greater and particulate matter emissions 20 times greater per gallon of diesel fuel compared to chassis engines of today’s heavy-duty vehicles.
Challenge’s foodservice distribution truck has been outfitted with a Johnson’s truck refrigeration unit equipped with eNow’s proprietary Rayfrigeration technology that allows for refrigeration without diesel through two forms of energy storage: cold plates and a unique, lightweight battery system developed by Emerson. The auxiliary battery is designed to be charged exclusively by solar and utility power. They are charged from utility power when plugged in overnight. Roof mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels provide electrical power to the TRU in daylight hours whether delivering product or parked at the depot. As a back-up option, the vehicle electrical system is also capable of charging the auxiliary batteries while the vehicle engine is operating.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District funded the Rayfrigeration initiative through its Technology Advancement Program that encourages innovation through the development of new emission reduction technologies. Businesses, residents and industry partners throughout the San Joaquin Valley have invested more than $40 billion in reducing air pollution in the Valley by more than 85 percent.
Fresno County is home to 1.88 million acres of the world’s most productive farmland, which made finding a more environmentally way to transport produce and dairy products a game changer.
Challenge Dairy has been testing the solar-powered TRU since April 2017 with sited emission reductions of 98% nitrous oxide, 86% carbon dioxide and 97% particulate matter.
“Our company is deeply vested in the Valley where our dairy farmers reside and where locals help to make our butter and cream cheese in our facilities,” said Tim Anderson, SVP of Food Service and Retail for Challenge Dairy Products, Inc. “We are thrilled at the prospect of being able to improve air quality for the Valley, and our planet as a whole as others utilize Rayfrigeration.”
As California’s leading dairy foodservice provider, Challenge Dairy Products, Inc. is a vibrant and substantial part of the California economy, representing 400 local dairy farmers, encompassing eight distribution centers and employing more than 175 employees. Upon completion of the 12-month testing period, Challenge Dairy plans to transition its fleet of distribution trucks from diesel to solar-powered TRUs.