TodayApril 15, 2022

Udderly amazing ~ milk trucks reduce emissions

While I’m making fun with the title, dairy is a big business and trucking is an even bigger business. Reducing emissions in trucks is one of the most sought after ways to reduce emissions, though most people only hear about reducing emissions in cars.

Lots of carbon dioxide is emitted unnecessarily every time tankers arrive at farms to collect milk. This is because the trucks use their oversized diesel engines to drive the pump that fills the tank. Technology company Semcon has now developed an electrical system for the milk pump that will reduce diesel consumption for a single truck by up to 5000 liters per year. Noise and emissions at farms will also be reduced.

Every tanker pumps milk for about 1000 hours per year, which costs dairies a lot of money. Installing a battery-powered electric motor reduces both the amount of diesel used and wear and tear on the diesel engine.

“One of the strengths of the Semcon solution is that dairies do not need to buy new trucks – the new technology can be implemented in vehicles they already have,” says Hans Peter Havdal, head of division at Semcon.

Tine, a Norwegian company responsible for most transportation of milk in Norway, is planning to install the new pumps in all 250 of its vehicles.

“We will reduce our diesel consumption by 1.25 million liters per year when all our milk pumps in Norway run on electricity. This means that CO2 emissions will be reduced by 3200 tonnes a year. This investment in our climate will pay off financially as well. Our costs will be reduced by several million kroner,” says Frode Eggan at Norwegian dairy Tine.

More than 120 million liters of diesel a year could be saved if all EU dairies were to adopt this solution. Moreover, the technology can be transferred to other areas as well.

“We have focused on milk here, but really the technology could be applied to anything that is pumped into tankers – grain or pellets, liquids like beer. Incredible amounts of diesel could be saved,” says Hans Peter Havdal.

Semcon, Tine, and Enova are working in partnership on this project.

How the electric motor works

The battery for the electric motor is charged while the vehicle is in motion, like an ordinary car battery. The batteries provide enough energy for defrosters, lights, windscreen wipers, etc. – elements that help to guarantee the comfort and safety of the driver. There is hardly any noise during electric pumping, which means that disruptive noise at farms can be reduced significantly while milk is being collected.

“Milk tankers call here at the farm every two days. Any solution that reduces both noise and emissions would be highly significant for the work environment, but it would also ensure a more eco-friendly product overall,” says dairy farmer Ove Nättorp.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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