Worldwide logistics company DHL is partnering with Staffordshire-based semi-trailer manufacturer, Don-Bur, to launch a system that draws solar energy from trailer roofs and converts it into electricity to operate the trailer lights and tail-lifts.
TRAiLAR is part of DHL’s target of zero emissions by 2050 and will be used initially on DHL’s own delivery fleet, before being rolled out to other operators in 2019.
The system is made up of thin, light weight solar mats, which are fitted to the roofs of articulated, box-truck and draw-bar trailers and connected to the vehicle’s battery or additional on-board batteries via a charge controller.
The energy generated is used to power on-board equipment, such as tail-lifts, trailer lights and moving floors.
During testing at the Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, fuel savings of up to 5.2% were achieved.
“Ultimately, we need fewer [and] cleaner and quieter vehicles on the roads,” said Phil Roe, Managing Director for Network Logistics and Transport, DHL Supply Chain UK and Ireland. “This can be achieved while also helping customers reduce their transport costs. That’s why we’re committed to developing new sustainable transport solutions that can be rolled out across supply chains for the benefit of the environment, the public and our customers.”