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.

The council applied for the £150,000 Air Quality Grant with help from clean cold technology firm Dearman, which is pursuing advanced trials of its zero-emission refrigeration unit that run on liquid nitrogen. Dearman is also making an in-kind contribution for the vehicle demonstrations aspect of the project.

Transport refrigeration units (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 nitrogen oxide and 9.5 tonnes of particulate matter per year, the equivalent to driving a family car 184 million kilometres. 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.

The draft DEFRA Clean Air Zone Framework published in October 2016 is the first time diesel powered TRUs have been officially recognised in the UK as a substantial polluter.

The grant will enable Leeds City Council’s project to:

  • Measure emissions from conventional fossil-fuelled TRUs during real-world operation in Leeds.
  • Estimate the number of refrigerated vehicles operating within Leeds and understand their typical duty cycles.
  • Analyse the findings from this programme and develop the evidence base and tools required to promote and enforce measures aimed at reducing the impact of TRUs on local air quality.
  • Install some Liquid Nitrogen (LiN) 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.

Commenting, Dearman’s deputy chief executive Michael Ayres said:

“Many congratulations to Leeds City Council for being awarded the grant. The council is taking the lead in cutting diesel emissions and improving the quality of air for local residents.

“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.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for environment and sustainability said:

“We are extremely pleased that we have been awarded this grant from Defra to tackle high polluting refrigeration units in the city. As a council we are committed to improving air quality across the city, ensuring we utilise a range of options available to us.

“Reducing pollution from refrigeration units in the city could see a significant improvement to our air quality and we are looking forward to working with Dearman to develop innovative and new technology solutions to assist with this.

“This project could lead to significant improvements, not just on Leeds roads, but those around the country.”


For further information please contact:
Mo Saqib (Policy & Communications Officer, Dearman Engine Company)
T: +44 (0)203 829 0035, E: mo.saqib@dearman.co.uk
Cat Lindley (Communications officer, Leeds City Council)
T: 0113 3789178, E: catherine.lindley@leeds.gov.uk