BLAINVILLE, Que. - Two trailer skirt designs were the best performers of 12 fuel-saving technologies tested by FPInnovations-Feric for Project Innovation Transport (PIT) last September. Feric conducte...
BLAINVILLE, Que. – Two trailer skirt designs were the best performers of 12 fuel-saving technologies tested by FPInnovations-Feric for Project Innovation Transport (PIT) last September. Feric conducted the trials on the high-speed test track at Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, Que.
Additional, in-house tests of folk wisdom for saving fuel and of container aerodynamic performance revealed more about how to cut fuel consumption.
Here is a summary of the results: vendor; product; and percentage fuel saving attained, made public for the first time in Truck News. Feric posted the entire document on its Web site in October 2008 for PIT members. On May 19, Feric will make public a summary report.
Aero Industries: Aero-Tail, an aerodynamic deflector attached to the back of the trailer that opens up when the truck reaches a certain speed. Result: 1.5%.
AirFlow Deflecteur: AirFlow, an aerodynamic deflector covering the trailer axles (front and sides). Result:0%.
Continental Tires: HDL ECO Plus low rolling resistance tires designed to improve fuel efficiency. Result: Test 1 against Michelin XDA-HT: 2.4%; Test 2 against Bridgestone M726 EL: 1.4%.
Eco6 Inc.: C2 Carbon Combustion, an electronic device that induces a magnetic field with the aim of lowering particulate matter and emissions, and reducing fuel consumption by way of better combustion. Result: 1.9%. (The company used these results to improve the system, which will be tested again this year).
Econoco: Econopro4, a fuel processor based on electromagnetic fuel separation which, by inducing a magnetic field, aims to reduce fuel consumption. Result: 0.2%.
Evolu-Tech: Fuelcat5, a device that induces a magnetic field and aims to reduce fuel consumption. Result: -1.3%.
Freight Wing: Belly Faring, an aerodynamic skirt mounted under the trailer. Result: 7.5%.
Grand Rock Company: QP and HF exhaust mufflers, which lower back-pressure that accelerates the exhaust flow to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust gas temperatures. Result: QP: 0.7%; HF: -0.8%.
Manac: Econair AFS trailer skirts, designed to reduce aero drag beneath the trailer. Result: 0.4%.
NM Engineered Solutions in association with Techline Coatings and Fireball Coatings: TFCC System, a thermal coating for diesel engine exhaust manifold components, designed to reduce heat loss and flow restriction in the exhaust stream, with the aim to improve fuel consumption. Result: 0.3%.
Performance Energy Group: Ethos Fr, a diesel fuel additive containing two families of esters in a mineral oil base: cleaning esters and lubricating esters, which aim to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Result: 1.5%.
Transtex Composites: MFS trailer skirts, designed to reduce aero drag under the trailer. Result: 7.4%.
The discussion of the test results is important reading; ie. the Aero-Tail could perform better were it more rigid (Aero Industries used these results to improve the system, which will be retested this year); trailer skirt performance is critically dependent on their being correctly installed; and Econoco and Evolu-Tech claimed that installing their hardware differently could have changed the outcome.
PIT members also carried out inhouse tests of operational practices that, according to folk wisdom, affect fuel consumption.
The PIT team developed a number of decision-making tools based on these results to help members choose the right strategy; ie. one tool is used to calculate the relative value, fuel-and labour-wise, of hauling containers for trips of given lengths versus transferring their contents to van trailers.
The tests were:
Close following (rigs 15 metres apart): Result: 8.0% for the following rig and no penalty for the lead.
Impact of speed: Result: 95 km/h versus 98 km/h: 2%; 92 km/h versus 98 km/h: 5.1%.
Influence of lifting axles on unloaded B-trains: Result: 4.7% with three lift axles up.
Heavy-duty “moose” bumper: Result: -2%.
Accuracy and precision of engine electronic control modules to capture fuel data: Result: Accuracy: -10.8% to 5.1%; Precision: 0.8% to 4.3%.
Pulling logging trailers loaded with full-length wood versus short wood: Result: 1.3% better for the full-length.
B5 biodiesel blend: Result: 1.6%. Comparison of tractors pulling
road trains composed of trans-containers, closed vans and closed vans equipped with trailer skirts: Result: van trailers with skirts versus van trailers without skirts: 4.0%; trans-containers versus van trailers: -14.9%.
Comparison of tractors pulling a single trans-container, closed van and curtain trailer: Result: curtain trailer versus van:0%;trans-container versus van: -14.3%.