19 January 2016

Etihad Cargo and Masdar Institute design sustainable cargo dolly system for temperature-sensitive cargo at Abu Dhabi International Airport

  • Innovative cool dolly system will be smart, temperature-controlled, sustainable and energy-efficient


The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, and Etihad Cargo, the fast-growing cargo division of Etihad Airways, today jointly announced the launch of a new design for a smart, temperature-controlled, sustainable and energy-efficient air cargo container (cool dolly) system.

At present, many international airports and ground-handling teams around the world employ transportation dollies that are diesel-powered, with energy-intensive cooling units which are expensive to operate and often do not meet all performance requirements.

As a result of the close collaboration between Masdar Institute and Etihad Cargo, the innovative new cool dolly is specifically designed to optimise the transportation of temperature-sensitive cargo, which includes pharmaceuticals, livestock and perishable products that need to be transferred between the aircraft to the storage compartments in the cargo warehouses, providing Etihad Cargo and the Abu Dhabi International Airport a unique competitive advantage over other airports.

The new hybrid cool dolly design incorporates the use of innovative thermoelectric module technologies, modified compressor units, and a custom-made power bank that can be attached to solar panels for sustainable recharging, ensuring that the temperature can be regulated to meet the needs of temperature-sensitive cargo while minimising power consumption.

The announcement was made by Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice President of Research, Masdar Institute, and David Kerr, Vice President, Etihad Cargo, during the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) taking place in Abu Dhabi between 18 and 21 January 2016.

Dr. Griffiths said: “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Etihad Airways in undertaking these research projects aimed at supporting their operations with novel solutions. Our research platform integrates energy and system engineering in a manner that we believe can make a meaningful contribution in transport and logistics operations in the UAE and overseas.”

David Kerr said: “We are committed to providing our customers with innovative and sustainably-designed cargo solutions, and working with Masdar Institute has helped enormously in developing a specialised temperature controlled dolly that protects sensitive products from the heat and harsh weather conditions we sometimes face here in the UAE.”

From Masdar Institute’s side, the research project is led by Dr. Sameh El Khatib, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Mohamed Omar, Professor, both of the Engineering Systems and Management Department, with Dr. Vinod Khadkikar, Associate Professor of Electrical Power Engineering. A team of researchers at Masdar Institute, led by Research Engineer Anas Fakhri and consisting of students – Hamda Al Mazroue, Noura Al Hassani, and Abdulla Al Shehhi – are handling the technical design and testing of the cool dolly. Pablo Brizzio, one of Etihad’s senior cargo managers, is working closely with the research team at Masdar Institute to develop a design that meets the technical requirements and operational constraints.

Etihad Cargo Innovation Department is also collaborating with Masdar Institute on a number of other related research initiatives. Led by Dr Daniel Choi, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Masdar Institute, these include adapting new advanced shock protection material for cargo boxes, and testing advanced thermal reduction coatings for Etihad Cargo’s Sky Stables equine transportation service.