Perils of Particulates: EJ, eTRUs, and the Hunts Point Terminal
The Hunts Point peninsula in The Bronx is beset by poor air quality due in part to the widespread use of aging diesel truck refrigeration units ("TRUs") throughout North America's largest food distribution center, located just blocks from a vital residential neighborhood. Approximately 500 trailers domiciled at the Hunts Point Market, a wholesale produce market serving much of the region, use TRUs to continuously maintain a cargo temperature of 35 - 40 degrees. Often unfiltered and typically more polluting than truck engines, TRUs are potent sources of criteria air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project team will accelerate broad adoption of grid connected, PV-powered, battery electric vehicle (BEV) TRUs in the produce market by deploying an innovative financial model and bundling subsidies into a monthly, fixed-price subscription fee for market wholesalers. This model, less costly than traditional TRUs, will facilitate broad adoption of zero-emission solar and battery-powered eTRUs by demonstrating their reliability and cost-effectiveness.
This project advances the transition from diesel powered stationary refrigerated storage to electrified refrigeration. The project team proposes to install steel trusses in the Produce Market's surface lot east of Row D to support power infrastructure, providing grid connections for trailer refrigeration units. The yard area currently offers no access to grid power and diesel-powered refrigerated trailers are observed idling all hours of the day. Providing access to electric power in this parking area will eliminate a gating factor for adoption of all-electric refrigerated trailers to replace diesel TRUs that are currently the principal source of mobile cooling in Hunts Point. Further, the use of truss-mounted solar panels can offset a portion of the likely grid demand and bolster the Market's resiliency during brown-out conditions. Convoy has piloted truss-mounted solar at idle mitigation hubs in both Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and Latta, South Carolina. Convoy is in ongoing discussions with a number of Hunts Point firms about deploying battery and PV-powered eTRUs to reduce refrigeration costs as well as emissions generated by trailer units.
Electrification of semi-stationary refrigeration will reduce fuel and maintenance costs and improve resiliency for the local grid while producing significant environmental benefits by reducing criteria and GHG emissions by more than 90% in a vulnerable environmental justice zone. Through a novel subscription model with a lower monthly cost than the diesel alternatives, the solution reduces the traditional barriers to entry that have precluded fleets from investing in clean transportation technology - upfront cost and lack of available infrastructure.