Dearman and Leeds Council combat air pollution with liquid nitrogen


Clean cold technology company & FSDF member Dearman is assisting with the implementation of liquid nitrogen (N2)-powered refrigeration units alongside Leeds City Council and other partners to help improve Britain’s air quality.

Leeds City Council has been awarded a major air quality grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help it tackle highly polluting transport refrigeration units (TRUs).

TRUs are typically used by supermarkets and logistics operators to keep food produce cold while in transit. The cold is often powered by a second diesel engine and there are estimated to be 84,000 TRUs on Britain’s roads.

Dearman estimates that over the course of a year, a TRU powered by a secondary diesel engine can emit up to six times as much nitrogen oxide (NOx) and almost 30 times as much particulate matter (PM) as a Euro6 heavy goods vehicle engine.

In Leeds, it is estimated that TRUs emit 71 tonnes of NOx and 9.5 tonnes of particulate matter per year, the equivalent to driving a family car 184 million kilometres.

In response to this issue, Dearman is pursuing a zero-emission TRU which is currently undergoing advanced trials – leaving it well-placed to deliver this solution on such a monumental scale.

Dearman’s novel piston engine uses the expansion of either liquid air or liquid N2 to provide zero-emission power and cooling. The only emission is air or N2, with emissions of NOx, carbon dioxide (CO2) or particulate matter completely eradicated, unlike its conventional diesel transport counterpart.

Replacing Leeds’s diesel-powered TRUs with zero-emission alternatives would be the NOx equivalent of removing 2,446 Euro6 heavy goods vehicles or 66,790 Euro6 diesel cars from Britain’s roads, and the PM equivalent of removing 13,024 HGVs or 142,262 cars.

Dearman’s deputy chief executive Michael Ayres, said, “We have developed a patented zero-emission engine, currently undergoing advanced road trials, which would significantly cut emissions compared to polluting diesel engines.”

“In Leeds and around the country, there are growing calls for tighter regulation of transport refrigeration units. This means the industry needs to start preparing and this is where Dearman can help. We look forward to continuing to work with Leeds City Council and other partners to help improve Britain’s air quality,” Ayres continued.

The grant will enable Leeds City Council’s project to Install some Liquid N2 infrastructure to, in the first instance, enable a multi-vehicle field trial demonstration of a zero-emission transport refrigeration technology and in the long-term catalyse the uptake of low emission refrigerated vehicles in Leeds.