VRR: Solving the problem of single-use batteries in cool containers

posted on 5th March 2020 by Eddie Saunders
VRR: Solving the problem of single-use batteries in cool containers

An unbroken cold supply chain is the lifeblood of global businesses in the pharma, medical and food industries. Every day, countless temperature-sensitive goods are shipped around the globe in cool containers to ensure they remain in the right temperature range for an entire journey. Without cool containers, perishable food, drugs, vaccines and blood plasma would expire long before they arrived at their destination.

Almost all cool containers rely on batteries: either non-rechargeable D-cell batteries, which are discarded after every use, or dedicated battery packs, which can’t be removed from the container when they need recharging. The former are very expensive (between 8 and 16 D-cell batteries are used on every journey) and the latter are very inconvenient (the container can’t be used while the pack is being recharged).

The cost of D-cell batteries for cool containers can be eye-watering for fleet managers. A large global fleet of cool containers consumes around 500,000 D-cell batteries each year. With batteries costing around €1.50 each, that’s an annual bill of €750,000. And since there’s no alternative power source to operate cool containers, these expenses are simply booked as “normal operational expenses”.

The production, transportation and distribution of batteries deplete natural resources of elements of metals such as cadmium, cobalt, lead, lithium, and nickel. What’s more, when not properly recycled, there’s a risk that the toxic substances that occur in batteries will leach into the soil or water supply or form poisonous gases and be released into the atmosphere.

According to a Uniross study, when compared to single-use batteries, rechargeable batteries consume 23 times less non-renewable natural resources, have 28 times less impact on global warming, and 30% less impact on ozone pollution.

The VRR rechargeable battery is extremely user friendly. Its design allows it to be removed and then replaced by a fully charged battery in a matter of seconds. This is much quicker and certainly much less fiddly then taking out and reinserting 8 or 16 D-cell batteries, so it helps save not only the environment but also valuable operational time.

The VRR rechargeable battery is now available for RKN and RAP cool containers. In addition, older versions of VRR cool containers can be retrofitted with this rechargeable battery so they can also benefit from the battery’s cost savings and smaller impact on our environment.