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Development of a Fuel Consumption Test Procedure for Refrigeration Units

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-391X, e-ISSN: 1946-3928
Published September 24, 2012 by SAE International in United States
Development of a Fuel Consumption Test Procedure for Refrigeration Units
Citation: Surcel, M., "Development of a Fuel Consumption Test Procedure for Refrigeration Units," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 5(2):657-663, 2012,
Language: English


This project's objective was the development of a test procedure to evaluate the impact of the refrigerated van box on the fuel consumption of the refrigeration unit. The scope of the project included a review of the test procedures, the development of a testing methodology for measuring the fuel consumption of the refrigeration unit on a specific duty cycle, and testing with a view to validating the methodology.
Road and track tests are subject to variations in conditions, and controlling or accounting for these variables as much as possible is an important part of ensuring accurate results. However, when testing a refrigerated van on the track or on the road, it is very difficult to eliminate variable external influences and to isolate the particular influence of the refrigerated van on the refrigeration unit's fuel consumption. For this reason, tests were conducted in an environmental chamber in controlled temperature and humidity conditions.
Validation tests took place in an environmental chamber at an ambient temperature of +32°C. The refrigerated box had an interior temperature of −10°C. The tests aimed to compare the fuel consumption of the same refrigeration unit installed on the same test vehicle, but with two different refrigerated van boxes. The first refrigerated box had a classic design, with aluminum and steel joints and insulated with spray-on urethane foam, whereas the second unit had a newer design, using high-density polyurethane sandwich panels, and without any internal or external metal joints, which eliminate thermal bridges promoting heat transfer.
The tests showed that it is feasible to conduct fuel consumption tests in an environmental chamber to evaluate the fuel consumption of a refrigeration unit, and the repeatability of the tests can be ensured. The tests resulted in 9.6% ± 1.8 % fuel savings with the newer deign refrigerated box, when compared with the classic design refrigerated box.