Chu at NTEA: Diversity key to future fleet fuel efficiency
The NTEA Work Truck Show kicked off with U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Stephen Chu as the keynote speaker this morning in Indianapolis at the Green Truck Summit.
Dr. Chu spoke about general petrochemical, geopolitical and climate trends and how those factors will affect the North American commercial truck industry and transportation sector in coming years. Chu said that the Obama administration is taking a proactive role in working with American private businesses to drive innovation into the commercial truck industry with an overall goal of increasing fuel efficiency and productivity while driving down both acquisition costs and ROI for new and alternative propulsion technologies.
The Department of Energy is taking a multi-faceted approach to America’s energy needs, Chu says, with multiple overall goals: To reduce the pressure on families being squeezed by the cost of fuel, to moderate or even eliminate wild spikes in the cost of fuel, to promote and encourage the development, acceptance and use of alternate fuel and powertrain technologies and do all of this in a responsible manner that promotes the current economic recover and sustained economic growth going forward.
Chu said the Department of Energy’s current efforts are wide-reaching and hope to positively boost fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a number of markets and applications – from compact consumer automobiles all the way up to heavy-duty commercial trucks and trailers. The efforts range from aerodynamic initiatives, to vehicle weight reduction through the use of new, lightweight, high-strength steel in automotive designs. “We know that for every 10 percent reduction in weight we can take out of a passenger car, there is a corresponding 7 percent increase in fuel efficiency,” Chu noted. ”
At the same time, Chu says the Department of Energy is pioneering the use of vehicle and engine design using government-developed and funded super computers to accelerate the time-to-market for promising new technologies, specifically touting the development of a new Cummins, 6-liter diesel engine.
“We have a much deeper understanding of engine design and operation today thanks to these super computers,” Chu noted. “The question is, ‘How can we help American businesses and consumers operating in very competitive worldwide markets?’ And one easy answer is the use of these super computers to simulate performance like in cars, trucks, engines and tires the way we already to aircraft like the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. By doing so, we believe we can reduce design cycles by up to 50 percent and save companies a lot of money.”
Other DOE initiatives Chu points to include an increased emphasis on trailer aerodynamics– including new, “under tray” aerodynamic systems designed to smooth air flow under a conventional, 53-foot dry van, particularly under the trailer’s axles. In doing so, Chu says, studies have found fleets can increase fuel economy by another 5 to 10 percent in conventional long-haul applications.
In terms of emerging technology, Chu said that high U.S. reserves of natural gas make LNG and CNG fuel options a “no brainer” for the trucking industry. But noted that infrastructure is lagging and acquisition costs remain high while ROI for such systems is still in the two- to four-year range.
MORE FROM Aggbeat Online
SUBSCRIBE & FOLLOW
- Product of the Week: Cat 988K loader511 Views
- NSSGA names Michael W. Johnson as president, CEO212 Views
- Supreme Court rules in favor of Vulcan mining project in Virginia179 Views
- Rock quarry owner proposes expansion in Sitka, Alaska115 Views
- Brant City Council approves water report for Dufferin gravel pit111 Views