Sainsbury’s trials world’s first naturally refrigerated trailer

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  • New technology could save over 70,000 tonnes of CO

  • Equivalent to taking over 34,000 cars off the road 

Sainsbury’s is trialling the world’s first naturally refrigerated trailer to transport chilled and frozen goods.  The CO refrigerated unit trial is part of the retailer’s review of its transport refrigeration gas and work to reduce its carbon footprint, which includes converting its stores to natural refrigeration by 2030.

Sainsbury’s was the first UK retailer to commit voluntarily to phasing out harmful HFC refrigerants.  It converted its refrigerated depots in 2011 and is on track to switch 250 stores to CO₂ refrigerant by 2014 – over 160 stores have already moved to the natural refrigeration system.  Currently all new stores are fitted with CO₂ as standard and its Haslucks Green Local store in Solihull is also trialling the very first small-scale CO₂ refrigeration system, making it Britain’s greenest convenience store. 

Nick Davies, Sainsbury’s Head of Transport Operations, said: “The new carbon dioxide technology has much less of an impact on climate change and we hope it will play a big part in helping us reduce our carbon emissions.  We will be monitoring its performance closely and if successful, in line with our replacement plan, it could help us save over 70,000 tonnes of CO₂ compared to the current refrigerated trailer fleet.”

Sainsbury’s is working with Carrier Transicold in a two year trial of the new HFC-free cooling technology for road transport, using a modified version of Carrier’s NaturaLINE™ refrigeration system, which was initially developed for deep sea containers and completed a rigorous sea trial programme in 2012. 

David Appel, President of Carrier Transicold, said: “This is the very first time that our NaturaLINE system has been mounted to a box trailer anywhere in the world.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to advance Carrier's natural leadership in environmental technologies, by working closely with Sainsbury’s, one of our largest customers in Europe, to test how the concept performs on the road.  It’s also much better news for the environment because natural refrigerant CO₂ is non-ozone depleting and has a Global Warming Potential of one.”

Sainsbury’s has also recently extended its Dual-Fuel fleet to 51 vehicles saving up to 25 per cent in carbon emissions (over 2,090 tonnes of CO₂).  The environmentally friendly fleet, now one of the largest in the UK, operates on a combination of diesel and bio-methane, produced from rotting organic material in landfill.  Each Dual-Fuel vehicle will save around 41 tonnes of CO₂ from being dispersed into the atmosphere each year.

Underpinned by its 20x20 Sustainability Plan, Sainsbury’s aims to reduce its depot to store transport CO₂ emissions by 35 per cent by 2020 and achieve an absolute reduction of 50 per cent by 2030, against a 2005 baseline, despite the growth of its business. 


For further information please contact:

Sarah Dunne at Sainsbury’s Press Office on 020 7695 7051 / 020 7695 7295 or

James Keeler or Faye McBride at Carrier Transicold UK’s press office on 020 8647 4467 or /

Notes to editors:

Other achievements:

  • Sainsbury’s has achieved a 6 per cent absolute reduction in energy related carbon, with a 26 per cent reduction in C0₂
  • In 2008 Sainsbury’s was the first supermarket to make daily food deliveries using a lorry powered by bio-methane.  One year later it ran a successful trial of five Dual-Fuel vehicles to support its environmental targets. 
  • Sainsburys logistics fleet currently travels almost 8 million less kilometres than three years ago, despite growing its business (circa. 5% reduction)
  • It has reduced operational water consumption across its entire estate by 50 per cent relative, which is a saving of 393 Olympic sized swimming pools each year.  Across its logistics operations it has introduced a number of water saving measures including rainwater harvesting, and fitting push taps and waterless urinals

Sainsbury’s 20x20 Sustainability Plan

This industry-leading plan is the cornerstone of Sainsbury's business strategy and sets out 20 environmental and socially responsible targets to be achieved by 2020.  It aims to ensure Sainsbury’s remains at the forefront of sustainability to 2020 and beyond.

About Carrier Transicold

Carrier Transicold helps improve transport and shipping temperature control with a complete line of equipment and services for refrigerated transport and cold chain visibility. For more than 40 years, Carrier Transicold has been an industry leader, providing customers around the world with the most advanced, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable container refrigeration systems and generator sets, direct-drive and diesel truck units and trailer refrigeration systems.

Carrier Transicold is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. Visit for more information.


Carrier Transicold unveiled the design of its NaturaLINE system in 2011, as the world’s first and only natural refrigerant-based container refrigeration system, one year after announcing the technology’s development. It is one of Carrier’s most exciting developments of recent years and encompasses multiple innovations that work together, enabling the use of a natural refrigerant in a design capable of achieving industry-leading efficiency.

NaturaLINE won the prestigious 2011 New Product Innovation Award in the hotly contested International Freighting Weekly Awards, and Innovation Technology of the Year 2012 Award in the Containerisation International Awards.

For this trial with Sainsbury’s – the only one of its type in the world – a modified version of the NaturaLINE unit has been mounted to a 10.8m Gray & Adams urban distribution trailer which is operating from Sainsbury’s Elstree depot and serving stores across Greater London.

The natural refrigerant CO₂, also known as R-744, is non-ozone depleting. Its Global Warming Potential (GWP) of one compares very favourably to conventional refrigerants R-134a and R-404A, which have GWPs of 1,300 and 3,260, respectively. The GWP of CO₂ is lower than other natural refrigerants, such as propane and ammonia, so even in the event of a leak, the use of CO₂ adds no new environmental risk.






This is the very first time that our NaturaLINE system has been mounted to a box trailer anywhere in the world.
David Appel, President of Carrier Transicold
The new carbon dioxide technology has much less of an impact on climate change and we hope it will play a big part in helping us reduce our carbon emissions.
Nick Davies, Sainsbury’s Head of Transport Operations