British nitrogen engine pioneer Dearman has started full-scale testing of its zero-emission liquid air engine for refrigerated transport.
The tests are being conducted at the firm's new technology centre in Croydon, the first dedicated liquid air engine facility of its kind.
“The Dearman Technology Centre is a huge step forward for the company, and for the development of cutting-edge clean cold technologies,” said Michael Ayres, Dearman’s deputy chief executive. “Having a bespoke facility means that we can accelerate our rate of development and testing, enabling us to bring zero-emission cold and power technologies to market even quicker.”
Dearman’s technology, designed to provide power and cooling with a single unit, has been hailed for its potential to significantly reduce emissions of refrigerated transport, buses and commercial vehicles, enabling companies to cut fuel expenses.
“The team is hard at work running durability testing on the Dearman-engine-powered zero-emission transport refrigeration unit,” said Ayres. “The technology is performing well – its power output is very good and it is still proving to be highly efficient.”
The firm envisions the Dearman Technology Centre will become a hub of liquid air engine design, engineering, test and development. When fully operational it will enable the testing of four engines simultaneously, along with full system testing, supported by low-volume manufacturing and build capabilities.
Dearman’s zero-emission transport refrigeration system is currently in extended on-vehicle testing at MIRA, and will be commencing commercial on-road trials later this year.
The firm hopes the new facility will accelerate development of new applications.
“With four test cells and a dedicated workshop, we are able to work on several projects in parallel,” Ayres explained. “We have been at the Dearman Technology Centre for only a few short weeks, but already we are placed to commence work on the high-efficiency auxiliary power unit for use on buses and heavy-duty vehicles next week.”
The company has recently been awarded funding from Innovate UK to develop its auxiliary power unit, and work on customising the transport refrigeration system for different vehicles.
The Liquid Air on the Highway report published in 2014 said that for some applications liquid-air engines would repay the cost of investment in just a few years without government subsidy.