August 15, 2011
Under a SuperTruck contract established with the U.S. Department of Energy, Volvo Technology of America, Inc. is slated to receive $19 million in federal funding to be used by the Volvo Group’s North American truck-related operations to improve the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and reduce greenhouse gases.
A team of researchers and engineers in Greensboro, N.C., and Hagerstown, Md., will spend the next five years developing high-efficiency, heavy-duty truck technologies aimed at moving more freight with less fuel, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Improved truck aerodynamics and energy conversion efficiency — maximizing the output potential of the energy source — are two areas that hold great promise for Class 8 efficiency gains, according to Volvo.
In achieving the SuperTruck program goals, Volvo says it will draw on established leadership and extensive experience in energy efficiency and reducing heavy-duty truck and engine diesel use.
Volvo’s North American truck and powertrain operations have been participating in other DOE- funded heavy-vehicle fuel efficiency efforts as well. Volvo says that being an integrated manufacturer also improves the efficacy of product development and allows the company to optimize solutions across product platforms.
“We are delighted to receive this SuperTruck award that builds upon an already strong relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks senior vice president, sales and marketing, in a written statement from Volvo. “Freight transportation plays a vital role in our daily lives and the strength of our nation, so it’s essential that we step up our efforts to create the best, most efficient heavy-duty truck solutions possible. This public-private partnership is an important step forward as we continue to expand our technology leadership.”
Peter Karlsten, Volvo Powertrain president and senior vice president of technology for the Volvo Group, says its partnership “will help drive the development of technologies needed to maximize energy efficiency as we address the reality of a finite supply of petroleum-based resources.”
Karlsten says that Volvo Trucks and Powertrain have committed the internal resources necessary to become fuel efficiency leaders in the Class 8 market. Now, with the financial support, “we’re able to explore some planned fuel efficiency improving technologies earlier in our product development cycle than normally scheduled — and also investigate advanced technologies that normally would not be economically feasible,” Karlsten said in a written statement.
All Volvo trucks sold in North America are assembled at the company’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va. Since 2008, an aggressive energy conservation effort at the plant has reduced electricity consumption by 28 percent, natural gas consumption by 35 percent, and water use by almost 70 percent, according to Volvo.
The EPA 2010 solution developed by Volvo Trucks and Volvo’s powertrain operations uses Selective Catalytic Reduction technology and a Diesel Particulate Filter to reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, or soot, to near-zero levels. The approach also significantly improves fuel efficiency, with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The transport and fuel efficiency improvements under SuperTruck will be developed in cooperation with university and supplier partners.