UBC CateringAdd Your Project

Project Challenges

UBC Catering had a truck built and equipped with a 7kW Gas Generator to power the reefer for a large walk-in cooler. They found that the generator had a few issues:
  • It was unbearably loud under high load
  • It consumed lots of fuel
  • It sometimes did not have enough power to start the reefer under pressure
  • It required frequent servicing due to the high load
  • The truck would trip circuit breakers in buildings it was plugged into
The main problem is that the reefer required the full load of the generator to operate, and the starting current was too large when the compressor was already pressurized. The starting current would either stall the generator, stall the compressor pump, trip the breaker on the generator, or trip the breaker on a Grid connection.

The Epic Solution

This project was the perfect recipient for a hybrid Inverter solution. We used 2x Odyssey PC1800-FT batteries and a Victron Energy 5kW Inverter/Charger to supplement the generator and grid connection and add intelligent power control.

Hybrid Power System

In our Hybrid Power System, all the reefer's load is routed through the intelligent inverter/charger. If the generator is running or the Grid is connected, the power from these sources is passed through to the reefer. However, power peaks beyond a set limit are provided by the inverter. This ensures that the reefer always starts reliably, and the system does not trip any breakers. The generator is always run at its peak efficiency, as any excess energy is used to recharge the batteries.

The Hybrid Power System also enables periods of quiet, generator-free operation of the reefer system for up to 6 hours, running on battery power alone. The Odyssey batteries pack a serious punch, they have very high power density and are extremely robust. The Victron Inverter has a huge surge power rating and is able to start and run the reefer with high reliability.

Automatic Generator Start

Our installation features an Automatic Generator Start. To the users, this means they never have to think about the power system. They just use the truck, and the truck manages itself. When the batteries reach a low state of charge and there is no Grid connection available, the generator starts up and recharges the batteries. This means the system is fully autonomous and keeps the food ingredients cold at all times without any user intervention.