A greener way to transport refrigerated and frozen goods moves a step closer with the opening of Dearman's new R&D facility near Croydon, Surrey.

The Dearman Technology Centre  is the first dedicated liquid air engine facility of its kind and will enable the company to begin full testing of its zero-emission engine technology.

It 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 deputy chief executive, Michael Ayres, said:  “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.”

He added: “With four test cells and a dedicated workshop, we are able to work on several projects in parallel. Already we are placed to commence work on the high-efficiency auxiliary power unit for use on buses and heavy-duty vehicles next week.”

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 with low volume manufacturing planned in 2016.

In addition to significant reductions in NOx and particulate emissions, Dearman said its transport refrigeration system (TRU) results in substantial well-to-wheel CO2 savings. The operating costs are also lower than conventional units and pay-back is likely to be less than one year, it added.

The company has linked up with transport refrigeration unit firm Hubbard Products in its drive to bring the new technology to market.

Pat Maughan, MD, Hubbard Products, said the technology "has enormous potential to revolutionise both the emissions and costs inherent in refrigerated road transport".

Dearman said the global market for refrigerated transport is projected to double by 2025, with 9.6 million vehicles on the road.

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 vehicle types - activity that will be focused in the new Dearman Technology Centre.