Cold Storage Control Measure for TRUs

This page last reviewed May 4, 2010

cold-storage-tru Background:

The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) was signed into law, creating a comprehensive, multi-year program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California.  Pursuant to AB 32, the California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) was required to identify a list of early action GHG reduction measures by
June 30, 2007.  Once on the list, these measures must be developed into regulatory proposals that will be adopted by ARB. On December 11, 2008, the Board approved the  Climate Change Scoping Plan which includes the  Goods Movement Efficiency Measures, a list control measures that includes  the Cold Storage Control Measure for TRUs.   The goal is to reduce the GHG emissions that cause climate change by improving energy efficiency.  Better energy efficiency would, in the case of TRUs, reduce diesel fuel use and therefore reduce carbon dioxide emissions (a GHG).

TRUs are defined as refrigeration systems that are powered by internal combustion engines. They control the environment of temperature-sensitive products in refrigerated trucks, trailers, railcars and shipping containers.  They may be capable of cooling or heating.  TRUs are used to transport and store many products, including, but not limited to food, pharmaceuticals, plants, medicines, blood, chemicals, photographic film, art work, and explosives.  Some companies use TRUs for extended cold storage during the four- to six-week period before all of the major holidays.  Distribution centers and grocery stores are known to run out of cold storage space in their buildings, so they store overflow goods in TRU-equipped trucks and trailers outside the grocery stores and distribution centers. Some distribution centers also use TRU-equipped trucks and trailers on a year-round basis for more than 24 hours, waiting for an open loading dock space or manpower to unload goods, or waiting for dispatch or driver pick-up.  These operations sometimes continue for several days.  

The initial concepts of the regulation being developed would limit the use of any internal combustion engine driven refrigeration system that is used at any facility, including grocery stores and distribution centers, for extended cold storage.  "Extended cold storage" is tentatively defined as 24-hours of switch-on time, but could be any engine run time that is inefficient and not related to on-road transport, with certain exceptions.  The regulation would encourage more energy-efficient operations that reduce emissions of GHGs from internal combustion engine-driven refrigeration systems.  Use of electrically-driven refrigeration systems, cyogenic refrigeration, or adequately sized cold storage facilities would be encouraged.


What's New


Posted April 7, 2009


A public workshop was held on March 23, 2009, from 9:00am to 11:00am Pacific Time, in Sacramento (and via webcast).  The purpose of the workshop was to discuss draft regulatory concepts of a rule that would prohibit the use of internal combustion engines to power transport refrigeration units (TRU) on trucks, trailers, shipping containers, and railcars used for extended cold storage at California facilities.  Click on the following links for more details:

  1. Workshop Notice
  2. Workshop Agenda
  3. Slide Presentation


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