Using proprietary composite sandwich panel technology that includes recycled plastic bottles in the structural core, Penso is building lightweight bodies for refrigerated delivery pods.

Penso is launching its Blue Ocean Home Delivery Pods, refrigerated pods configured for a 3.5 metric ton medium wheelbase, front-wheel-drive, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. 5,000 plastic bottles are recycled and used to manufacture each pod, helping to reduce plastic waste, and inspiring the name Blue Ocean.

Penso’s proprietary composite sandwich panel technology, including 5,000 recycled plastic bottles in the structural core of every pod, includes closed cell foam sandwich panels wrapped with carbon fiber to prevent environmental damage and provide lightweight strength and durability to the pods. Using press forming that takes minutes to construct instead of a more traditional autoclave process for curing the carbon fiber panels, both time and money are saved in the production process.

Penso engineers also applied design elements they learned in their work on aerodynamics in motorsport to the Blue Ocean pods, leading to fuel savings.

According to the company, an unladen Penso-bodied vehicle is around 400kg lighter than most competitors’ models. When mounted to a diesel chassis, the lightweight aerodynamic design of the Blue Ocean pod allows around 30% less diesel usage, reducing harmful emissions.

Beyond the lightweighting elements, Penso has designed the pods to be easy for drivers to operate. Operators have the ability to carry more and heavier goods and a larger volume, allowing for more deliveries and cutting the number of vehicles needed to serve the same number of customers. Blue Ocean pods carry up to 50% more payload and increase capacity by as much as 30%.

Daniel Hurcombe, managing director at Penso, said, “Creating a carbon fiber pod could be seen as an expensive exercise purely to reduce weight; but developing the commercial and operational model alongside the design, engineering and manufacturing process has been just as important. In fact, it’s the commercial and market demand to reduce weight which drove the solution.”

Additionally, at the end of the pod’s life, more than 95% of the structure can be recycled, including the carbon fiber elements.