U.S. President Barack Obama announced tighter fuel economy standards for heavy vehicles this past spring—an historic step that the Canadian Trucking Alliance is weighing on the federal government to take one step further north of the border.
The American revision calls for a 20 percent GHGreduction between 2014 and 2018. Canada’s version of the standards—which are expected to follow in lock-step with the U.S.—are set for release in early 2012. The CTA points out that the U.S. provisions only affect newer vehicles, which are already clean burning. The Canadian regulation will be imposed at the manufacturer level and will also apply only to new tractors and engines starting in 2014.
CTA members would like to see EPA2010-compliant tractors pushed into the market sooner than later, and believe the regulation could be greatly enhanced by tax and other incentives that encourage retrofit of older vehicles with market-ready fuel and emissions reducing technologies.
This is the premise of the CTA’s enviroTruck concept introduced back in 2007, but still on the table, especially with Canada on the cusp of new regulation. The concept urges the government to provide upgrade incentives for older trucks, which the CTA has proven scientifically will have a tremendous environmental and financial impact on the Canadian trucking industry.
According to a report titled, “Truck Efficiency and GHG Reduction Opportunities in the Canadian Truck Fleet RMI, 2007” if the entire Canadian fleet of 294,000 Class 8 trucks were to adopt a full package of energy-efficiency technologies, Canadian truck owners and operators would save 4.1 billion litres of fuel and reduce emissions by 11,500,000 tonnes of GHG each year. This is equivalent to taking 64,000 Class 8 trucks off the road, or taking 2.6 million cars off the road.
The enviroTruck concept focuses primarily on existing technologies like single wide tires, low-rolling resistance tires, trailer skirts, and speed limiters.
Previous regulation mandated that smog-causing pollutants from heavy trucks be eliminated and owners were limited by their technology options, says CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, David Bradley.
“This time around, as it concerns the GHG regulation motor carriers and owner-operators will still have plenty of choice as to what they purchase,” he says. “That is not inherently a bad thing as the trucking industry is not homogenous … but it does mean that more substantive reductions in GHGcould be delayed when the industry would be prepared to invest in market-ready technologies now if the proper incentives—like those already provided to the rail and manufacturing sectors—were extended to the industry.”
The CTA and partners Clark Freightways and Excel Transportation conducted a comparative analysis of fuel-reducing technologies for trucks that concluded in 2011. The report indicated that a Class 8 tractor-trailer with low-rolling resistance tires, trailer skirts, and speed limiters would realize a 6.3% fuel consumption improvement, saving 3,148 litres of fuel and 8.7 tonnes of GHG emissions annually.
The $5,396 assembly has a 21-month payback and would result in $3,108 in annual savings.
A Class 8, eight-axle B-train tractor-trailer with single wide tires would experience a 5.2% fuel consumption reduction, resulting in 4,768 fewer litres of gas used annually, $4,706 in annual savings, and a reduction of 13.2 tonnes of GHG emissions.
The investment in enviroTruck technologies has a smaller price tag than engine technologies which some remain leery of with a short time in the market and mixed initial reviews.
Daimler released its BlueTech engine technology which includes advanced NOx reducing technology for emissions control in diesel-powered vehicles. High compression ratios and lean air-fuel mixtures result in high combustion temperatures and subsequently, increased levels of nitrogen oxides emissions.
Lower emission diesel mixtures are now available—controlling particulate matter is as simple as higher injection pressures and particulate filters. Limiting nitrogen oxides is the important challenge that engine technologies are meant to address.
A diesel oxidation catalyst reduces the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from the exhaust, while a system of NOx absorbers preliminarily removes the nitrogen oxides. A particulate filter traps the soot particles, and burns them off when the filter is full. A selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system kicks in if the previous systems don’t achieve the emissions requirements, and converts the remaining nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water as diesel exhaust fluid is injected into the exhaust gas stream to enable the conversion.
The other option is exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), also known as in-cylinder EGR and enhanced, advanced, or massive EGR, which reduces emissions in the engine cylinder. Both systems employ diesel particulate filter technology to reduce NOx emissions to levels below 0.2 g/bhp-hr (grams per brake horsepower-hour) and particulate matter below 0.01/bhp-hr.
Although pick up was slow, response to SCR technology has been favourable, says Mark Lampert, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Daimler Trucks North America. Reports indicate that demo trucks outfitted with the technology are meeting industry expectations and delivering as much as a five percent improvement in fuel economy.
“That is a payback of two to four cents per mile per truck,” says Lampert, “and it’s providing both a payback on the equipment and a hedge against rising fuel prices.”
Another driver of fuel efficiency improvement is driver behaviour, which Transport Robert (1973) Ltd. studied between March 2009 and February 2011. The company installed 250 vehicle telemetry units that record and transmit acceleration, braking data, and turning data from the vehicles’ systems.
The information was used to analyze driver behaviour and develop a training program that 186 drivers participated in. Data from this program indicated that over three years the fleet saves 180,740 liters of fuel—resulting in $159,576 in savings—and reduced GHG emissions by 486 tonnes.
The analysis also concluded that driving in manual mode is more economical than driving in automatic mode; decelerating by coasting over long distances is preferable to using the brakes; and maintaining favourable turbo pressure may lead to fuel savings.
Considering the telemetry units as the only initial investment, the $625,000 cost is paid back in fuel savings in about 3.92 years.
This article was written for the Forest Industry Network by Jessica Kirby.