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Greening your intermodal freight transport

A Cumulative Energy Demand - Analysis

comparing the Cargoshell 20 ft Composite Reefer with an Average
Stainless Steel Reefer

Final Report
(October 2016)

auteur: ir. Rob Gort MSc

Gort Advies & Management voor Duurzaamheid |
Gort Consultancy & Management 4 Sustainability

Greening your intermodal freight transport
A Cumulative Energy Demand Analysis
Comparing the Cargoshell 20 ft Composite Reefer with an Average Stainless Steel

Report version: October 20, 2016

Status: Final report.

Author: ir. Rob Gort MSc

Gort Advies & Management voor Duurzaamheid | Gort Consultancy & Management 4 Sustainability

Client: Cargoshell bv, Westplein 67, 3016 BM Rotterdam, The Netherlands

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written
permission of the author.

Single issue EPD1 - Disclaimer

This report lays a solid foundation for the setting up of a single issue EPD for the Cargoshell 20 ft
reeferbox, but definitely cant be presented as a completed single issue EPD.
It should be noted also, that a single issue EPD only addresses one environmental impact category
and does not assess other potential social, economic and environmental impacts arising from the
provision of this product.
This report has not yet been verified by an external EPD-registered insititute, one of the obligatory
steps during the EPD certification process.

Auteur Author contact details:

Gort Advies & Management voor Duurzaamheid | Gort Consultancy & Management for Sustainability
Ir. Rob Gort MSc
Spoordijkstraat 33
7205 BK Zutphen
The Netherlands
Mobile: +31 6 504 80 904


At a glance - executive summary

Cargoshell bv asked Gort Advies & Management voor Duurzaamheid | Gort Consultancy &
Management for Sustainability (hereafter "Gort consultancy") to calculate the Cumulative Energy
Demand (hereafter: C.E.D.) for it's reefer design.

The C.E.D. is a good indicator for the Carbon Footprint. As is well known, the carbondioxide
emissions and consumption of fossil energy for Intermodal freight transport is a serious global
concern, notwithstanding the positive contribution of international trade for economic development and
welfare. Since the COP21 meeting quite recently in Paris, France, adressing the urgent need for a
shrinking carbon footprint of international trade is a top priority of international and multinational
businesses (or it 'll be soon).
Cargoshell's gamma of composite intermodal containers is one of the solutions for the containerised
transport sector to adress this urgent need.

The study carried out by Gort consultancy, calculates the benefits of using a Cargoshell composite 20
ft reefer, instead of the commonly known alternative of an "average stainless steel and aluminum
reefer", in terms of the consequences for the total energy inputs needed for Production, Use and End-
of-life of these reefers - a so called Cradle-to-Grave analysis. "Total energy inputs" refers to both
direct primary (like fuel) and secondary (like electricity) energy inputs, as well as indirect, embodied
energy inputs by means of the use of material inputs like half products and primary resources. The
total energy input calculated in this way is called the Cumulative Energy Demand. At any moment in
time the CED until that specific moment of a specific product can be calculated, this is also called the
Embodied Energy (E.E.). Reefers are thermal containers according to ISO 1496-2:2008.

Methodology and quality

The study was carried out in accordance with the general principles for life cycle analysis studies (ISO
14040-series), carbon footprinting (ISO 14067) and environmental product declarations (ISO 14025).
Gort consultancy is an independent environmental consultancy.
The study is mainly based upon secondary data from independent, reliable sources like government
reports, scientific databases and reports and so on. However, because of absence of necessary
reliable independent data, parts of the data-input have been organised by means of expert views,
guesses and opinions. For instance this was the case for the actual production processes of all
considered reefers.
Of course, also many choices had to be made, including the considered life span of the reefers, the
average mileage pro year of all transport modalities and so on.
The main calculations have been made considering a lifespan of the Cargoshell reefers of 15 years or
20 years and the reference stainless steel (and aluminum) reefer of 10 years. Though many heavy
duty composite assets like airplanes, military vessels, yachts, wind mill blades and racing auto and
motor sport products have been made and used under demanding circumstances for already many
more years, we considered these comparisons as most appropriate and without bias.
Ofcourse, also other lifespans have been assessed and calculated. A sensitivity analysis is part of the
In the use phase differences in E.E. have been calculated for both the transportation function of a
reefer (influenced by a reefers shell's own weight), the thermal conditioning function (cooling, heating
and so on) as well as the E.E.-inputs for repair and maintenance. For the end-of-life phase several
alternative waste scenarios have been defined, because the end-of-life phase lies in the future (could
very well be after 2030) and waste policies as well as waste processing technologies will develop for
Of the Cargoshell reefer, 3 different models have been assessed: the Prototype - the CSC- and ATP-
certified reefer; the Production model,which is actually a further developed model, more or less
representative of the contemporary situation, as well as a still more hypothetical model, defined by
Gort consultancy according to Ecodesign principles and with application of several recent industry's
innovations - called the Cargoshell Outlook model.
These three models can be seen as three consequent steps in time in the development process.

During the Production phase, (mainly) because the lifetime of the Cargoshell composite reefers is
longer, the E.E. of Cargoshell's manufacturing is favoured. The Outlook model however even
outperforms the reference reefer if the lifespan of this Outlook model would (highly hypothetical) only
be around 6 years. It still outperforms because as a consequence of the ecodesign choices.
Also during the Use phase the Cargoshell reefers do have a lower E.E., especially the Production and
Outlook models because of their even lesser weight than the Prototype as well as the insulating
properties as defined.
The Use phase dominates the C.E.D. over the total Cradle-to-Grave life cycle, especially the energy
demand of the thermal function has a very substantial impact on the total C.E.D-values.
During the End-of-life phase, the results are mixed and also depend of the life span. The reference
reefer outperforms all Cargoshell models in 2 waste scenarios but in the third waste-scenario (which
could be representative of the situation after 2025 or possibly even sooner) the results are reverse.
However, because of the shorter lifespan, also in waste scenario 3 the reference reefer has the
largest reclaim of the EE thanks to the recycling of the metals. Recycling of composites is technically
feasible but at the moment very rare.

Overview EE, lifespan 10 vs 20 years, all reefer types and waste scenarios shown

Cargoshell Outlook -
Scenario 3 Production / fabrication
Cargoshell Outlook -
Scenario 2
Cargoshell Outlook - Use during 20 years - EE
Scenario 1 reefer transports - sea

Cargoshell Production
Model - Scenario 3 Use during 20 years - EE
reefer transports - rail
Cargoshell Production
Model - Scenario 2
Cargoshell Production Use during 20 years - EE
Model - Scenario 1 reefer transports - road

Cargoshell Prototype -
Scenario 3 USE during 20 years - EE
reefer thermal control
Cargoshell Prototype -
Scenario 2
Use during 20 years - EE
Cargoshell Prototype -
repair & maintenance
Scenario 1
Average SS reefer
Scenario 2 End of Life

Average SS reefer
Scenario 1

-250 250 750 1250 1750 2250 2750 3250 3750 4250
EE in GJ

Conclusions and Numbers

The composite Cargoshell Reefers do have a substantial lower 'energy footprint' (CED).
The results vary depending of the reefer tye and the waste scenario, but with contemporary waste
management practices, the CED of Cargoshell's Production model is 6% lower than the reference
reefer. The Cargoshell Outlook model improves these results to 9%, thanks to the use of green input
materials in this design as has been proposed by Gort Consultancy, and when the materials of the
shell would be recycled as material (waste scenario 3).
This 9% lower EE equals the EE of more than 7.500 litres of gasoline.

Interpretation & evaluation

If 10% of the yearly renewal and expansion of the global reefer fleet (30.000 TEU) would be a
Cargoshell reefer (production model), this could save 8 million litres of gasoline each year. This is no
small talk but a serious contribution.
If recycling of composite products would become a common practice (which should be reality in 2030
one would think) and the green design improvements would also be implemented, this would save
another 4 million litres of gasoline each year. This has been calculated in the study of Bureau Gort .

Investments in such a green Cargoshell reefer will have a energetic return on investment of less
than 5 years for many companies especially for shippers moving perishable goods more than
average by train and truck this ll be the case.

Embodied Energy (in GJ) -
comparative overview of Average
results, timeframe of 20 Stainless Steel Cargoshell Production Cargoshell Outlook after
31 years, 3 waste-scenarios reefer Cargoshell Prototype Model potential Improvements
Considered Lifespan of the
32 reefer (years) 10 20 20 20 20 20 20

33 Phase: \ Waste scenario : Scenario 2 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 2 Scenario 3

34 Production / fabrication 367 253 253 230 230 158 158

Use during 20 years - EE
35 reefer transports 710 663 663 650 650 637 637

USE during 20 years - EE

36 reefer thermal control 3026 3027 3027 2947 2947 2947 2947
Use during 20 years - EE
37 repair & maintenance 17 10 10 10 10 10 10

38 End of Life -59 -19 -50 -18 -48 -18 -42

39 Totals pro column 4062 3934 3903 3818 3789 3733 3709
Total values compared to
reference with similar waste
40 scenario 100,0% 96,9% 96,1% 94,0% 93,3% 91,9% 91,3%

41 EE savings in liters gasoline -2767 -3445 -5291 -5936 -7137 -7659

Status of this summary

This report is the English summary of the much larger main report (98 pages), which is written in the
Dutch language. While this summary can be read separately and independently of the main report,
this main report provides much more information including essential background information which
can prevent misinterpretations and misunderstandings. If necessary, the Dutch report could be
translated into English, of course.


Cargoshell bv asked Gort Advies & Management voor Duurzaamheid | Gort Consultancy &
Management for Sustainability (hereafter "Gort consultancy") to calculate the Cumulative Energy
Demand (hereafter: C.E.D.) for it's reefer design.
By doing so, it should become clearly, what the real contribution of Cargoshell's designs for lowering
the carbon footprint and energy demand of international logistics could be.

In a CED analysis, the total input of "primary energy" or primary energy substitutes2 minus the total
output within a pre-defined system with boundaries is being assessed. Normally the analysis is
focussed on a product, or a combination of product(s) and services, which implies that the production,
the use and the disposal / end-of-life phases of this product are all being considered.
During these phases inputs (like ore, or half products) contain "embodied primary energy" or consist
of energy themselves (heat, cold, steam, electricity, CNG etc.). In a CED all "upstream" energy is
being considered, as well as all "downstream" energy which leaves the system boundaries in a form
which is or can be useful to others - as is the case for many waste streams when recycled or
The Embodied Energy is expressed in (or converted to) Joule (J), as well as MJ (1.000.000 J).

Why a Cumulative Energy Demand analysis?

A Cumulative Energy Requirement Analysis (CED or CERA) is a kind of simplified screening Life
Cycle Analysis (LCA). This "method" is developed3 and described by the Swiss Ecoinvent Centre4, a
collaboration of research institutes which acts as one of the generally accepted founding fathers of the
LCA-methodology and database.
This total energy demand for production, use and disposal in a CED is expressed in "primary energy".
Energy resources that can be found in nature, such as coal, crude oil and natural gas are called
primary energy resources. Their transformation into secondary energy resources, such as gasoline,
diesel or electricity involves losses, which depend on the efficiency and level of the transformation.
When a secondary energy resource is being used in a production process, during transport etcetera,
these "upstream" losses are taken into account.

In the case of transport, also the indirect (upstream) energy input can be taken into account (e.g. the
construction and maintenance of infrastructure like roads, ports, railroads). In this study we did.

In most CED studies a distinguish is made between non-renewable (fossil, nuclear) and renewable
primary energy use (hydro, wind, solar, biomass etc.). In this study we didn't, because we lacked
some of the required information and for the purpose of this study this is not considered essential.
So a CED assessment focuses entirely and solely on the topic of "Embodied Energy". Embodied
Energy is not only a sound indicator for the Carbon footprint - differences arise when the source of
consumed energy is taken into consideration as well as other greenhouse-gases next to
carbondioxide - but is also a sound indicator for the overall environmental footprint of products and
services as well (exemption: agricultural products).5
Both a Carbon Footprint Analysis (CFA) and the Cumulative Energy Demand are good indicators to
work with, when organizations wish to take responsibility and develop practices addressing our
collective goals to prevent further Climate Change, as has recently been agreed during COP 21 in

Primary energy is the calorific value of natural resources like oil and coal. Substitutes are for instance the electricity
which is produced by solar panels or wind turbines: these assets produce 'free' energy which substitutes primary
energy sources.
Niels Jungbluth, ESU-services Ltd., Uster, Rolf Frischknecht, ecoinvent Centre, Empa
The EcoinventCentre is a combined activity of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zrich (ETHZ), Paul Scherrer
Institute (PSI), Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) and Agroscope Reckenholz-
Tnikon Research Station (ART)
See for instance M.A.J. Huijbregts et al, Cumulative Energy Demand As Predictor for the Environmental Burden of
Production, in Environmental Science & Technology, 2010, 44 (6), pp 21892196.

In international freight logistics, Climate Change appears to be the most severe environmental burden.
It should be noted however, that both CED and CFA are not in itself broad environmental indicators. If
organizations wish to get a broader environmental insight, then LCA's are more appropriate.

International freight and climate change - the broader perspective

The Carbon Footprint and the connected required energy of international freight transport is a serious
and growing concern, which is being addressed in international fora like OECD's international
transport forum, IMO and quite recently, the COP21 meeting in Paris.

The intrinsic chemical energy of any material or product can vary a lot. The efficiency of how much of
this energy 'll become available and get used will vary enormously as well, depending of local
conditions and the natural variety (like purity) in products themselves, in the functioning of technology
and between suppliers as well as between different batches of the same product. If we would have to
measure and collect all these data for all inputs and outputs of the life cycle of a Cargoshell reefer as
well as for a reference reefer, this would take many years of tedious work.
This would be impossible. Therefore, general average data -so called secondary data- have been
collected in this desk study in order to make this assessment, combined with process data of
Cargoshell's process (primary data) and in some cases, expert guesses and expert opinions.
Of course we paid a lot of attention to the quality of the collected data and we only used data from
officially LCI-data-sources, governments, expert institutes and universities and in some rare cases,
independently validated reports from industries and branches.
Multiple data have been used of the same validated and trustworthy source whenever possible, in
order to prevent 'systemic faults' like taking one time the lower and one time the upper calorific value,
or one time a "global" value and the other time a specific "EU" value, which would lead to wrong
The sources of the data and data collection process are described in detail in the main Dutch report.

Software & methodology

Mostly a CED is calculated as part of a LCA-project using specialist LCA-software like Simapro. In this
project we developed our own database, in order to have maximum insight in the quality of the data,
and we made calculations in Excel - which is quite possible because a CED is a straightforward
analysis where characterization and normalization aren't needed (as is the case with LCA studies).
The assessment was executed in line with the guidelines and steps as described in the ISO-14040 /
14044 (LCA), ISO 14067 (CFA) and PAS 2050.

Scheme: overview of a LCA

(Vogtlander, 2012).

For a CED or CERA, the same

steps are taken and phases can
be defined.

Major differences:
only the inputs are considered
of energy as well as embodied
energy of materials and semi-
finished products;
emissions are not taken into
account, except the embodied
energy in waste streams.

For the calculation of the energy savings during transport of the assessed product, the methodology
and reference values as developed by CE Delft as well as the Arizona State University have been
The report could be validated with a peer review by an independent institute with authority and
expertise in this field. In that case, we should be contacted in order to prevent misinterpretations and
to be able to explain the calculations and data inventory.

Assessed product
The following products have been analyzed:
the 20 ft 'reefer' composite container, a thermal container according to ISO 1496-2:2008, that has
been tested and certified both CSC and ATP in 20166;
a defined reference, an average stainless steel reefer as is well-known in the reefer market, and
as is being produced by (amonst others) CIMC, Maersk and Shanghai Reeferco. Specifications
are based on public information and / or based on expert judgement (via Cargoshell).

Goal of the project

The goal of this study is, to assess and calculate the energetic prospected benefits of the use of the
Cargoshell reefer during it's life cycle, compared to the average reefer in the market, by means of an
objective and validated method.

Functional unit
The study assesses the cumulative energy demand of the use of 1 TEU (1) during normal functioning
as means of transport and storage of freight under controlled conditions, as specified in relevant
standards like ISO 1496-2:2008, (2) during a period of 10+ years and (3) in accordance with data
about the average life cycle and use of sea containers.

End of life / disposal

The end of life phase is of major influence especially when during the fabrication phase of an
assessed product materials and half-fabricates are being used, which contain a high level of
embodied energy themselves - which is actually the case with plastics, aluminum, coatings, stainless
steel, carbon fibers, aerogels a.o. so of most input materials of refrigerated containers.

Both reefer types are made of a mixture of strongly interconnected materials which could be recycled
as material (material recovery) and/or thermally (energy recovery) as individual, more or less pure
material or component, but only if and as far as these individual materials can and will be separated
from the other materials during the end of life phase.

This is actually hardly the case at the moment (2016), but in the near future waste processing
practices around Europe and many OECD-member countries will change, favoring recycling and re-
use, thanks to enforcement of legislation and changing market conditions.
This is especially true for the composite reefers, which can be recycled already technically, but up till
now there are hardly any commercial recycling facilities operating in the world.
Re-use of GFRP-products (second life) as long as possible and eventually storage in a 'temporary
dump site' (like is the case with old airplanes, kept in so-called graveyards) are the most common
practices at the moment.
Incineration and cofiring in cement kilns or other industrial processes is also being done, but not on a
large scale - as far as known.
In the study for the Cargoshell reefer 2 realistic contemporary waste scenario's have been formulated
and calculated, as well as 1 alternative waste scenario, using a technology which is technically
feasible and demonstrated, and already active in the waste market with other waste streams, and
which seems to be a promising technique for GFRP as well (as it is for CFRP-recycling already) and
to become active in the market before 2020.
The Average Stainless Steel reefer can already be recycled for a major part anno 2016, thanks to the
common practice of car shredding and metal recycling. However, also in this recycling process
improvements are possible. Separation and reclaiming of pure fractions out of products made of
composite metals and of mixtures of shredded metals can still be improved. The differences for our
EE-calculations will however be marginal, therefore we only defined 2 waste scenario's for the
Average Stainless Steel reefer.

System boundaries
Our assessment is a so-called Cradle-to-Grave assessment, which implies the End-of-Life phase is
part of the analysis.
Because during the end-of-life phase of both assessed reefers materials are being recycled (as
material) as well as thermally 'recycled' creating energy (and substituting fossil sources), these
benefits should be taken into account.


There are multiple options of how these benefits could be divided between the actual analyzed life
cycle of these recycled materials in the assessed reefers, and the adjacent life cycle.
In our calculation, the benefits of using inputs which partly consist of recycled waste, have been taken
into account, using a 50-50% division method of the benefits between the former, unknown life cycle
of these materials, and the actual life cycle of the assessed reefers. Also the benefits of recycling
during the end of life phase are divided between the actual, assessed life cycle of the reefers, and the
theoretical, unknown next life cycle of these materials.
Because we used mainly secondary data from one source which states both data for virgin materials
as well as 'predominantly recycled' materials as well as data for the actual market situation both on
global level as EU-level, we could use data in a consistent way.
When materials are landfilled, cofired or incinerated at their end of life stage, then both the burden and
the benefits are attributed for 100% at the assessed life cycle, as there is no next cycle of the
materials themselves.

Choosing another attribution or working with other data for the composition of the input materials
could make a difference in the end results of some percents. We think that our choices have been
made according to common scientific practices and in a fair way, so it doesn't create a bias towards
neither of the compared assessed reefers.

We did not consider the embodied energy of waste streams produced during the fabrication and/or
maintenance and repair, like packaging materials and production losses, sample materials and so on.
The size of these streams will be far less than the general 1% Cut-off rule prescribes.
We also did not consider the embodied energy of travelling of personnel and staff during the
fabrication and/or maintenance and repair by car, public transport or airplane, to and from the factory
and to and from customers etc.
Also the size of the embodied energy of these processes will be far less than 1%.
In the main report this is discussed in more detail.

Further, the cooling units themselves are also no part of the analysis, because they do form a
standard item. Both reefers can be combined with multiple systems available on the market. Only
during the transport phase, the weight of the cooling units is included in the calculation of the total
required energy for transport of a reefer, because our analysis deals with functioning reefers.

If the Cargoshell reefer would be used to a higher extent for truck and/or rail transport than has been
considered in this study (this combined with a lower extent for transport by container vessel), the
energy savings through the use of the Cargoshell reefer would be higher than calculated. Actually, this
kind of differences could have an impact on the study results of more than 1%. We based our
calculations on information about the average container life cycle and use, provided by the Hofstra
University and IMO as well as BBC and UNCTAD.


Underneath the summarized results are presented of our assessment of the Cumulative Energy
Demand of both assessed reefers during a time horizon of 10+ years.

For the Cargoshell reefer each time 3 types have been distinguished and analyzed separately,
showing the actual development and improvements that have been made and will or can be made:
The Prototype is the container which has been tested and certified in February 2016 (CSC) and
April 2016 (ATP).
The Actual Production Model is the most recent version (already prepared during the phase of
testing of the prototype, which takes a lot of time).
The Cargoshell Outlook: after further improvements is a theoretical model in which improvements
which are already available in the market or will become available in a couple of years are taken
into account, the improvements mentioned are completely our (Gorts) responsibility.

Production phase
Obviously, for all considered reefer models, the Embodied Energy of the material-inputs as such make
up more than 90% of the CED of the complete production phase, which implies that the production
processes as well as the CED related to the plant buildings are far less important and contribute
together for less than 10%.

Cargoshell Outlook
Cargoshell after potential
Production process Average SS reefer % Cargoshell Prototype % Production model % improvements %
EE Material inputs 169924 93 244547 97 221572 96 149482 95
EE fabrication processes 6990 4 3804 2 3804 2 3804 2
EE HVAC buildings / plant 6630 4 4420 2 4420 2 4420 3
Total EE production process 183544 252771 229796 157706
relatief 100% 138% 125% 86%

Further it is shown, that the Average Stainless Steel Reference reefer outperforms the Cargoshell
Production model with 25% and the Cargoshell Prototype even with 38%. However, the (still
hypothetical model) Cargoshell Outlook after potential improvements outperforms the Average
Stainless Steel in this phase with 14%.

Use phase
The CED of the use phase is far greater than the CED of the production process, when a lifespan of
10+ years is considered as well as use during 15 years: the use phase accounts for more than 90% of
the sum of these two phases. This might be surprising, but is actually a common finding in carbon
footprint studies for comparative assets. Carbon footprints of electric devices and machines as well as
of rolling equipment and means of transport generally show a dominant importance of the use phase
between 50 and 90%. The importance of the use phase of passive components like shells and
insulation materials in cooling devices is even larger and could count for 99% of the total energy use
and -savings during a regular product life cycle7.
The Cargoshell reefers (all model types) outperform the Reference reefer during the use phase, with
the assumptions made about their average use (road transport, rail transport, transport by vessel,
transloading, storage, repair etcetera). The number of kilometers travelled during 15 years are an
important input factor, the values are mentioned underneath.
Modality of freight transport Travelled kilometres during 15 years as %
Ocean shipping by container vessel 975080 91,1
Freight train (rail) 66716 6,2
Freight truck 28226 2,6
Other 0 / unknown 0
Total of all modalities 1070022 100

See for instance: Dow, ENERG-ICE, a new polyurethane foam technology for the cold appliance industry, Dr. Richard
Helling, Dow Italia and Dow Polyurethanes business unit, May 2013.

There are no official or scientific validated data about the actual travelled number of kms by modality
of the average reefer (as far as we know).
The actual travelled kilometres by each modality and in total varies a lot depending on the routes, the
goods transported, destiny markets and so on. The kilometres mentioned can be considered as an
expert opinion. They're based on one experiment by the BBC and appear to be quite reasonable in
our opinion, when compared with the outcomes of estimates we drew up based on other, more official
but unfortunately incomplete sources like reports from UNCTAD, UNECE, EU statistical bureau,
Drewry and so on.

The actual CED of transporting the reefers during the use phase has been calculated with two
different methods based on commonly used calculation methods. One calculation method is
developed for evaluating the differences in weight between trucks and trains, also vehicles
themselves. IFEU and TNO are involved in development of these methods. The methods of TNO and
IFEU differ a bit, we used a calculation method which counts with an average value based on both.
The other generally accepted method is used for drawing up carbon footprints of transported goods
and considers the weight of freight itself.
But, transportable assets like container shells are 'somewhat in between' and definitely no freight in
itself and neither a fixed part of the vehicle itself, therefore we developed (in a simple and straight
way) another calculation method which we actually used for calculation the CED instead of the
commonly used calculation method for freight itself.
The differences between the two methods are of major importance for the results, therefore the results
of both methods are presented here as well. The weight of the content of the reefer (the freight itself)
is excluded from the calculation because this is considered to be similar (this implies we consider the
transport of freight by reefers as volume limited transport) and this would only result in heightening the
total CED of all reefer types with the same amount of MJ.

Total EE during use phase pro year. Transportsavings - calculation by own developed method, based
on freight CFP calculations:
Analyzed process - USE Cargoshell Outlook
PHASE - Embodied Energy Cargoshell after potential
pro year (MJ) Average SS reefer % Cargoshell Prototype % Production model % improvements %
EE reefer transports - sea 21380 11 21380 12 21380 12 21380 12
EE reefer transports - rail 5984 3 4972 3 4695 3 4425 2
EE reefer transports - road 8158 4 6778 4 6401 4 6033 3
EE reefer thermal control:
insulation & airtightness
combined impact 151321 81 151372 82 147333 82 147333 82
EE repair & maintenance 837 0 504 0 504 0 504 0
Total EE use phase (1 year) 187681 100 185006 100 180314 100 179676 100
compared 100% 98,6% 96,1% 95,7%

Ibidem, transportsavings-calculation by IFEU/TNO-method:

Analyzed process - USE Cargoshell Outlook
PHASE - Embodied Energy Cargoshell after potential
pro year (MJ) Average SS reefer % Cargoshell Prototype % Production model % improvements %
EE reefer transports - sea 21380 11 21380 11 21380 12 21380 12
EE reefer transports - rail 5984 3 5769 3 5710 3 5653 3
EE reefer transports - road 8158 4 7965 4 7913 4 7861 4
EE reefer thermal control:
insulation & airtightness
combined impact 151321 81 151372 81 147333 81 147333 81
EE repair & maintenance 837 0 504 0 504 0 504 0
Total EE use phase (1 year) 187681 100 186990 100 182841 100 182732 100
compared 100% 99,6% 97,4% 97,4%

The benefit of lighter weight has no impact on the energy use of sea transport. Ships are balanced
with ballast water. If other types of container vessels would be developed where lighter weighing of
freight would not be compensated by taking in extra ballast water, but by the intake of extra freight,
then the CED-savings because of a lighter weight would be considerably higher - because ocean
travelling forms the bulk of the travelled kilometres.

Aging seems another important factor. It has not been considered in the calculations of the CED of the

thermal controlling function of the reefers because this 'd be too hypothetical and scientific base is still
narrow, especially for the younger, innovative materials.
As the total CED during a timeframe of for instance 20 years is made up for about 70% by the EE-
demand for cooling, heating and thermal conditioning only, it is clear that differences in aging of
insulation will impact the total results of a Cradle to Grave analysis substantially.
VIP-insulation (as applied in the Cargoshell prototype and production model) could worsen 0,1 mW/K/
m pro year as is know from literature8 (< 0,8%). Deteration of PUR-insulation (applied in the Average
SS reefer) caused by aging could be well more than 1% yearly (up to 5%), depending of the liners
used, the blowing agent etcetera.
This implies that the energy savings by using Cargoshell reefers compared to the Average SS reefer
would probably become higher during it's lifetime, because of the differences in aging of the
respective insulation materials applied. This is however, too hypothetical to incorporate in our

End of Life
The bandwith of EE of the End of Life phase lies between 50 GJ and 12 GJ. In all cases the influence
of the End of Life phase is a positive one: it lowers the total CED during the considered timeframe,
because a part of the EE embodied in the material inputs is reclaimed.
Because it is still unsure what waste scenarios will be common in about 15 years or more, when the
Cargoshell reefers might attain their end-of-life stage, we choose to calculate with contemporary
European practices as the standard waste scenarios. The third scenario represents upcoming
techniques especially for composite materials.
The results are differentiated and do depend in case of the Cargoshell reefers- strongly of the waste-
scenario and the Reefer type.
The recycling of metals is the key factor in the relatively high contribution to the Embodied Energy
Savings of the Referentie reefer during this phase.
All three model types of Cargoshell reefers perform worse in this phase than de Referentie reefer, if
the CED-savings are calculated with the Waste-scenarios 1 and 2 which represent more or less the
actual reality or the near future until the year 2020 (plastics as well as composite materials are being
co-fired in cement kilns and other industrial kilns or in waste incineration plants).
In case of their processing following the Waste-scenario 3 (recycling of composites, pyrolysis)
representing a future development, all three Cargoshell model types do outperform the Average
Stainless Steel Reference reefer;

Overall findings
Calculations have been made up for a life span of the Cargoshell reefers of 15 years (standard) as
well as 10 years and 20 years a sensitivity analysis.
The results of the standard calculations are shown first (underneath). Note, that the IFEU/TNO-
method has been used for drawing up the transport savings through light-weighting:

Embodied Energy (in MJ) -

comparative overview of results,
timeframe of 15 years, 3 waste- Cargoshell Outlook after potential
2 scenarios Average SS reefer Cargoshell Prototype Cargoshell Production Model Improvements
Considered Lifespan of the reefer
3 (years) 10 10 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15

4 Phase: \ Waste scenario : Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
5 Production / fabrication 275316 275316 252771 252771 252771 229796 229796 229796 157706 157706 157706
Use during 15 years - "IFEU-TNO
calculation method" for energy
savings by lightweight during
6 transport 2815209,5 2815209,5 2804856 2804856 2804856 2742608 2742608 2742608 2740973 2740973 2740973
7 End-of-Life -42705 -44350 -12263 -18582 -49786 -11716 -17882 -47576 -12272 -17965 -41979
8 Totals pro column 3047820 3046175 3045363 3039044 3007841 2960688 2954522 2924828 2886407 2880714 2856700
Total values compared to
reference (and similar waste
9 scenario) 100,0% 100,0% 99,9% 99,8% 98,7% 97,1% 97,0% 96,0% 94,7% 94,6% 93,8%

(compared with reference (compared with reference (compared with reference

10 and waste scenario 2) and waste scenario 2) and waste scenario 2)

Simmler H. and Brunner S., (2005): Vacuum insulation panels for building application: Basic properties, aging
mechanisms and service life. Energy and Buildings, 37, 1122-1131. Kenneth E. Wilkes, W. Alex Gabbard, Fred J.
Weaver (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and J. Richard Booth (Tennessee Technological University): Aging of
Polyurethane Foam Insulation in Simulated Refrigerator Panels Two-Year Results with Third-Generation Blowing
Agents, Presentation at the Polyurethanes Conference 2000 Boston, MA, October 9-11, 2000.

This difference in CED during 15 years of 3 % (Cargoshell Production Model - waste scenario 2) or
91,7 GJ represents the Embodied Energy of approximately 2.000 litres of gasoline (including
upstream energy). Calculated with our own method of fuelsavings by light weighting, this d be even
129,6 GJ and ca. 2.800 litres.
If 10% of the yearly renewal and expansion of the global reefer fleet would be a Cargoshell reefer
Production Model instead of an Average SS reefer, this would save annually 56 mln litres of gasoline,
if we consider the lifespan to be only 15 years.
The difference in CED during a 15 year timeframe between the Average SS reefer and the Cargoshell
Outlook After Potential Improvements-model could raise to even 235,3 GJ (equalling the EE of ca.
5.100 litres of gasoline).

The diagram (underneath) shows the CED of the use phase is dominating the overall results by far,
this phase makes up more than 90% of the total CED. The diagram also show a steady line of
improvement of the CED of the Cargoshell reefer types during the development process: the newest
still theoretical model Outlook is on top, the oldest model (Prototype) just above the base of the

In case of waste-scenario 2 (cofiring in cement kilns and other industrial kilns) the CED reduces (in
comparison with the Average reefer) from 98,8% (Cargoshell Prototype) to 95,7% (Production model)
to 93,1% (Outlook after potential improvements) in comparison with the CEDs of the Average
Stainless Steel reference reefer.
In case of waste-scenario 3 the CEDs of the Cargoshell reefers are further reduced with roughly
another 1%, for each reefer.

EED Cradle to Grave lifespan 10 versus 15

Reefer types & End-of-

Life scenario's EE in MJ
Cargoshell Outlook - Scenario 3
Production / fabrication
Cargoshell Outlook - Scenario 2

Cargoshell Outlook - Scenario 1

Cargoshell Production Model - Scenario 3

Cargoshell Production Model - Scenario 2

Use during 15 years -
Cargoshell Production Model - Scenario 1
calculation method" for
Cargoshell Prototype - Scenario 3
energy savings by
lightweight during Cargoshell Prototype - Scenario 2
Cargoshell Prototype - Scenario 1

End-of-Life Average SS reefer Scenario 2

Average SS reefer Scenario 1

-500000 0 500000 1000000 1500000 2000000 2500000 3000000 3500000

Sensitivity analyses
The considered lifespan is an important factor influencing the outcomes, as well as the assumptions
about the fuel savings by light weight during transport. Therefore we undertook a sensitivity analysis
for the calculation method of EE-savings during transport caused by lightweight of containers (which
are neither freight, nor vehicle as described above) - as well as for the lifespan of the Cargoshell
reefers. The summarized results are:

1) If the life span of Cargoshell would also be 10 years, the Production model as well as the
Outlook after potential improvements model both outperform te Reference SS reefer. Actually,
the break even Lifespan for the Outlook model would be around 6 years and 8 months only
(break even means, the CED during the entire life cycle would then be the same size as the
CED of the Reference reefer, with a lifespan of 10 years) which is a very substantial difference.
The break even Life span for the Cargoshell production model would be 10 years also, if
calculated with the lightweight savings calculation method of IFEU/TNO - but only 9 years if
calculated with our own developed method.

2) The bandwith of the relative Cumulative Embodied Energy of the Cargoshell reefers compared to
the Reference reefer, is between 103,9% and 90,4% if the life span of the Cargoshell reefers is
varied between 10 and 30 years, and for the Production model and Outlook model actually only
between 100,5% and 90,4%. This means that the lifespan is indeed an important influencing
factor but definitely the influence of the lighter weight as well as the improved insulation and
thermal conditioning properties are as well. Actually the differences in outcomes when calculating
with a lifespan of 20 years for the Cargoshell reefers versus a lifespan of 30 years is only about
1%. For the overall results of the calculation made with a lifespan of 30 years of the Cargoshell
reefers see the next page.

Real life expectancy

It should be noted, that the in this study calculated (considered) standard lifespan of 15 years for the
Cargoshell reefers is probably less than what reality will show, because other devices made of similar
materials (fiber reinforced polymer) are still functional after many more years under heavy and intense
working conditions with strict safety norms, like body parts of airplanes9 and boats including military

It should also be noted, that the average age of the actual global fleet of containers (of which reefers
make up less than 10%) is about 5,5 year10 whereas the product guarantee lasts often only 7 years,
which implies that reefers made of MGSS-steel and aluminum, might (on average) not last 10 years in

Therefore we expect the comparison as we made it in this study as "well balanced" and unbiased (or
even disfavouring Cargoshell in the comparison), but -ofcourse- only the future can reveal the real
lifespan and need for repair and maintenance.

What if the Lifespan of the Cargoshell reefers would be 20 years?

Because the lifespan is indeed an important influencing factor as mentioned above, the Cargoshell
reefers would have a substantial smaller CED during a 20 year timeframe, if their lifespan would be 20
years instead of 15 years. Underneath (next page) the development of the CED-values in a time-
frame is shown.

Notice that these graphs are just made for illustrative comparison purposes: the EE of a Cargoshell
reefer is held constant during the Use phase in each graph, until the End-of-life phase starts. The
values at T0 are the CED values of the production phase. The values on the vertical axe after T0
however are not the exact totally calculated CED values because only the differences between the
respective CED-values have been added in the sum.

Boeing uses GFRP (glass fibre reinforced polymer) in the Boeing 777 which flies in the air since 1994. Fokker used it
ins F27 Friendship already in the 1950s (Ph. Birtles, Boeing 777, p.52-55; A.Vlot, Glare - history of the development of
new aircraft material).

Carbon Footprint Comparison Carbon Footprint Comparison
Average MGFSS - Cargoshell Prototype Average MGFSS - Cargoshell Production Model
in GJ over a 20 year period in GJ over a 20 year period
450 500
250 250
200 200
150 150
100 100
50 50
Average MGFSS
Average MGFSS Cargoshell Prototype Cargoshell Production
Cargoshell Outlook

Of course the reefers could well last even longer, for instance for 30 years.
We also calculated the CED's in case this would be true, see the the table underneath:

Embodied Energy (in MJ) -

comparative overview of
results, timeframe of 30 Cargoshell Outlook after potential
2 years, 3 waste-scenarios Average SS reefer Cargoshell Prototype Cargoshell Production Model Improvements
Considered Lifespan of the
3 reefer (years) 10 10 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30

4 Phase: \ Waste scenario : Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
5 Production / fabrication 550632 550632 252771 252771 252771 229796 229796 229796 157706 157706 157706

Use during 30 years - "own-

developed calculation method"
for energy savings by
6 lightweight during transport 5630419 5630419 5550170 5550170 5550170 5409423 5409423 5409423 5390267 5390267 5390267
7 End-of-Life -85411 -88700 -12263 -18582 -49786 -11716 -17882 -47576 -12272 -17965 -41979
8 Totals pro column 6095640 6092351 5790678 5784359 5753155 5627503 5621337 5591643 5535701 5530007 5505994
Total values compared to
reference (and similar waste
9 scenario) 100,0% 100,0% 95,0% 94,9% 94,4% 92,3% 92,3% 91,8% 90,8% 90,8% 90,4%

(compared with reference (compared with reference (compared with reference

10 and waste scenario 2) and waste scenario 2) and waste scenario 2)

As these outcomes clearly show, the impact of a longer life span are also limited.The properties in
terms of thermal insulation and conditioning and lightweight count heavier the longer the considered

Further improvements possible especially in the CED of production and End-of-Life

The diagram at page 13 clearly shows the improvements that have been made in time, if we compare
the CED-values of the Cargoshell Prototype on one hand and the Cargoshell Production model on the
other. Also this diagram clearly shows that the Cargoshell Outlook after Potential Improvements
model will generate similar CED-savings. This model is accomodating several Ecodesign
improvements, defined by Gort Consultancy & Management for Sustainability:
a substantial higher use of biobased resins in the composite matrix (50% m/m);
the partial but substantial use of biobased fibres in the composite matrix (50% v/v);
the use of aerogel woven textiles instead of VIP-panels.
In theory, more than 50% replacement by biobased resins is possible, but market restraints appear to
be likely in our opinion.
If replacement of more than 50% of the glass fibres and coal fibres is technically feasible in this
application, is unsure in our opinion. Probably it is, but it might be necessary to apply a protective
coating on the exterior for instance. In our view calculating with 50% replacement gives a balanced
impression of the potential outlook.

Ofcourse, also the Reference reefer could and probably will face improvements in the coming years
But, as is a known fact from innovation processes in general: improvements are mostly much more
substantial during the first years of existence of a new developed product, than during the following
This is especially true, when innovative materials and products (components) are applied within the
novelty as certainly is the case here for the considered Cargoshell reefer: then this "law of
innovation efficiency" counts double, because also each improvement within the applied innovative
materials themselves does count.

Notice that also developments in the waste processing sector will have a substantial impact, as is
shown by the differences in results between the third waste scenario and the other two scenarios.
This is especially the case for plastics and composite materials.

As is clearly shown, product design improvements are possible and are already made. The
difference in results between the Cargoshell prototype and the actual Cargoshell production model
is impressive, especially if one takes notice of the fact that this is realized within half a year. The
embodied energy in the production phase can be lowered further substantially by means of
greening the input materials and changing the materials with a high embodied energy for materials
with a substantial lower level of embodied energy, as has been done in the still hypothetical model
Cargoshell outlook after potential improvements.
The energetic pay back time depends strongly of the actual logistic chain in which the container
would be used. The calculated expected pay-back time (for the Cargoshell production model and
Cargoshell outlook) varies between 6 3/4 and 10 years, depending of the life expectancy, future
potential product innovations and general waste management innovations in the waste market as
well as the calculation method for the impact op weight savings in transport, with the kilometers
travelled as mentioned earlier. For freight chains with a high percentage of rail road transport and/
or trucking, payback-time will definitely be considerably lower and could quite well become less
than 5 years, in case it could be legally enforced in (for instance) The Netherlands as well as other
countries. This requires further analysis, for instance for some standard model supply chains.
Shippers (NL: verladers) who own containers, or lease containers on a structural level, know their
logistic chains and could calculate this energy pay back time by using a calculation tool which
could be developed and offered by Cargoshell. Gort Advies could develop such a tool.
The Dutch Government should consider if the Cargoshell reefers (as well as the other Cargoshell
container types) could be listed on the national EIA/MIA-list in the Netherlands. Cargoshell could
formulate a request to do so. On this list similar products are already mentioned, so acceptance of
this request is very likely.11
Gort Advies believes, the logistics sector should act facing the urgency for its sector to adress the
challenges of Climate change. In our opinion a voluntary collective fund, filled with climate
contributions by shippers for each transport, could fulfil a useful role in the contemporary situation.
This fund could give soft loans to companies willing to invest in energy saving measures, like
Cargoshells lightweight, smart and futureproof container solutions.

Alike the composite tank-container (category B3139) and a lightweight freight box for vans used for cooled freight
transport (category 241216).

The assessed Cargoshell Prototype reefer, ready for transport and testing
Photo by M. Wawrzyniak, Cargoshell bv, 2016.

Gort Advies & Management voor Duurzaamheid | Gort Consultancy & Management for Sustainability
The Netherlands