Semcon develops emission-free electric power for milk tankers

Colin Barnett
January 18, 2019

Scandinavian technology company Semcon has designed a system that replaces the PTO-driven hydraulics with a battery-electric system to eliminate the financial and environmental costs of milk tankers idling while their diesel engines power their pumping equipment.

The system can be retrofitted to existing trucks, whose PTO, hydraulic pump, oil tank, hoses and motors are removed. They are replaced by electric motors for the milk pump and hose reel, motor drives and battery pack.

The batteries are charged by an overnight on-board charger, with a split-charging system allowing top-ups from the vehicle alternator. From the driver’s perspective, the control remains identical.

With milk tankers idling for up to 1,000 hours per year, the environmental benefits in noise and emissions reduction are clear. Semcon said that electrification will produce an annual fuel saving of 5,000 litres per truck, as well as reducing engine wear.

The development is being carried out in partnership with Tine, Norway’s largest milk transportation provider, which plans to equip all of its 250-strong fleet with the system. Tine is expecting an annual reduction of 1.25 million litres of fuel consumed and 3,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Prototypes are undergoing winter testing in Norway as the system is readied for production, and Semcon is gauging interest among potential UK customers.

Applications do not stop with the dairy industry, said Semcon project leader Hans Peter Havdal. “We have focused on milk here, but really the technology could be applied to anything that is pumped into tankers – grain or pellets, liquids like beer. Incredible amounts of diesel could be saved.”

  • Tip-ex Tank-ex, taking place in Harrogate from 30 May - 1 June 2019 is the UK's must-attend event for operators in the dry bulk and liquid tanker sectors. You can register free on the website.

About the Author


Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett has been involved in the road transport industry since becoming an apprentice truck mechanic in the early seventies. The end of 2022 will see him complete 25 years with Commercial Motor, with a secondment as editor of sister title Truck & Driver along the way. Today, as technical editor, he is witnessing at first hand the greatest changes in heavy goods vehicles since they replaced horses.

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