Green Na­ture trail

Truck boss Gra­ham Wilkie wants a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment for the next gen­er­a­tion, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

SOME peo­ple talk about help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, while those like Gra­ham Wilkie turn their words into action.

Wilkie runs Vic­to­rian spe­cial­ist whole­sale food dis­trib­u­tor Na­ture’s Cargo and has set a goal of mak­ing the com­pany car­bon neu­tral within four years.

It’s not mere words for Wilkie, who is get­ting on with the job by up­dat­ing his re­frig­er­ated dis­tri­bu­tion trucks and bodies to re­duce his com­pany’s car­bon con­sump­tion while mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion to the com­pany’s bot­tom line.

Na­ture’s Cargo has a long his­tory of run­ning Isuzu trucks, so adding five new F Se­ries trucks to his fleet of 14 medium-duty trucks made sense once Wilkie had re­searched Isuzu’s com­mit­ment to cleaner, greener trucks.

There were many pos­si­ble ways of meet­ing the new ADR 80/02 ex­haust emis­sion rules when they came into force ear­lier this year. Isuzu chose to com­ply lo­cally by demon­strat­ing com­pli­ance to the tougher Euro 4 lim­its, rather than the US EPA 04 stan­dards, and it was this con­vinced Wilkie the new F Se­ries Isuzu’s met his needs.

‘‘When I dis­cov­ered how much more fuel-ef­fi­cient the new Euro 4-rated Isuzu trucks were, and their min­i­mal lev­els of ex­haust emis­sions, I in­sisted on pur­chas­ing them,’’ Wilkie says.

Con­cern for the fu­ture mo­ti­vated Wilkie to set some strict en­vi­ron­men­tal guide­lines for his com­pany.

‘‘I’m re­ally con­cerned about what we’re leav­ing for our kids. I fig­ure that we’re run­ning a suc- cess­ful com­pany and we should all play our part where we can,’’ he says.

‘‘The trucks are an im­por­tant com­po­nent of meet­ing our en­vi­ron­men­tal goals.’’

While the Isuzu FRR 600 and FSR 700 trucks Na­ture’s Cargo are im­por­tant parts of Na­ture’s Cargo green­ing pro­gram, Wilkie is not stop­ping there.

The com­pany is also equip­ping its trucks with new spe­cially de­signed eu­tec­tic bodies re­plac­ing the tra­di­tional re­frig­er­ated bodies that use a diesel-pow­ered blower unit to blow cool air onto the food­stuffs be­ing trans­ported.

Eu­tec­tic re­frig­er­a­tion em­ploys liq­uid-filled plates that ab­sorb and dis­si­pate heat.

The new Na­ture’s Cargo bodies are plugged into mains power overnight to freeze the plates to mi­nus-40C, and use them to pro­vide re­li­able and con­stant re­frig­er­a­tion through­out the day without us­ing any ad­di­tional en­ergy.

‘‘By elim­i­nat­ing the diesel mo­tor re­quired for tra­di­tional re­frig­er­a­tion, we es­ti­mate sav­ings of be­tween 10 to 15 litres of diesel a day for each ve­hi­cle, which is ben­e­fi­cial for the en­vi­ron­ment as well as mak­ing good busi­ness sense,’’ Wilkie says.

Wilkie also said the eu­tec­tic bodies are lighter and cheaper than a tra­di­tional re­frig­er­ated body.

Elim­i­nat­ing the diesel mo­tor makes the truck more comfortable and qui­eter for the driver, and also less in­tru­sive when mak­ing de­liv­er­ies to places like hos­pi­tals and schools and uni­ver­si­ties.

While the new trucks and their in­no­va­tive bodies move Na­ture’s Cargo fur­ther to­wards its goal of be­ing 100 per cent car­bon neu­tral, Wilkie says they are well into the re­search phase of the next project.

That could see so­lar pan­els fit­ted to the roof of the truck bodies, which would elim­i­nate the need to use mains power to freeze the plates.

Na­ture of the beast: Na­ture’s Cargo has added five new Isuzu F Se­ries trucks to their fleet.

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