Nivalis Energy Systems Electric Transportation Refrigeration Units (TRU)


Transport Refrigeration Units (TRUs), also known as reefers, play a crucial role in maintaining the quality of perishable goods during transportation. However, their operation, predominantly diesel-powered, has significant environmental impacts. Recognizing this, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has introduced amendments to TRU Airborne Toxic Control Measures (ATCM) aimed at reducing diesel particulate matter emissions and mitigating health risks. This blog post delves into the latest TRU regulations, compliance deadlines, and what they mean for truck owners and operators.

Regulation Overview

Initially adopted in 2004 and subsequently amended in 2010 and 2011, the TRU ATCM targets emissions from diesel-powered TRUs. With advancements and ongoing environmental concerns, CARB approved further amendments on February 24, 2022 (2022 Amendments), to escalate emission reductions and encourage zero-emission technology use in the off-road sector. These measures align with California’s broader health, air quality, and climate objectives, including the ambitious goal set by Executive Order N-29-20 for a 100% zero-emission off-road vehicles and equipment fleet by 2035.

Key Amendments and Compliance Deadlines

The 2022 Amendments introduce several significant changes:

  1. Lower Global Warming Potential Refrigerant: As of December 31, 2022, new TRUs must use refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) of 2,200 or less.
  2. Stringent PM Emission Standards: Starting December 31, 2022, TRUs of the 2023 model year and newer must meet a particulate matter (PM) emission standard of 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour.
  3. Vehicle Owner and Driver Requirements: From December 31, 2022, TRU-equipped vehicle owners must ensure compliance, and drivers are required to facilitate CARB inspections.
  4. Facility Registration and Reporting: Beginning December 31, 2023, certain facilities must register with CARB, pay fees, and either report operating TRUs quarterly or ensure only compliant units are in operation.
  5. Zero-Emission Fleet Requirement: By December 31, 2023, TRU owners are mandated to start transitioning their fleets to zero-emission technology, with a complete shift required by December 31, 2029.

Compliance Schedule and Fleet Requirements

The compliance schedule is detailed, with various deadlines depending on the TRU type and usage. Notably, from the end of 2023, TRU owners must begin reporting all TRUs operating in California, affix compliance labels, and pay operating fees. A phased transition to zero-emission technology is outlined, emphasizing a significant shift towards sustainability in transport refrigeration.

Exemptions, Extensions, and Conclusion

CARB offers compliance extensions under specific circumstances, such as delays due to financing, equipment manufacture, or installation. Exemptions are available for certain operations, including mobile catering services during emergencies.

This new regulatory landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for the transport industry. Adhering to these regulations not only contributes to environmental preservation but also propels the industry towards innovative, cleaner technology. For further details, FAQs, and assistance, stakeholders are encouraged to visit the official CARB TRU ATCM page or contact the ARBER help line.

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