GRIMSBY, Ont. - "Emissions" is one of the biggest buzzwords in the trucking industry today - so not surprisingly there's a growing contingent of companies offering products aimed at reducing harmful pollutants.
GRIMSBY, Ont. – “Emissions” is one of the biggest buzzwords in the trucking industry today – so not surprisingly there’s a growing contingent of companies offering products aimed at reducing harmful pollutants.
One such company is Tadger Group International, which in its fourth year in business is turning some heads as it continues to accumulate data suggesting its product is capable of dramatically reducing emissions, while improving fuel economy.
The Tadger is a device that is attached to the fuel line to turbulate the fuel. If you’re a techno-geek wanting a more scientific explanation on how it works, see the sidebar on pg. 27.
Otherwise, Tadger Group general manager Bill Johnston sums it up in layman’s terms for the rest of us.
“In setting up a turbulation in the fuel, we allow it to burn more efficiently and when it burns more efficiently we produce less emissions and we use less fuel,” Johnston explains.
About 25 per cent of the Tadger’s customers are heavy-duty truck operators but it’s also used by ships and coaches and in the construction and mining industries as well as other sectors. In trucking, environmentally conscious municipal fleets have been quick to embrace the technology while other fleets and owner/operators have been making the investment due to fuel economy improvements they say it has delivered.
But Johnston himself is wary of selling the Tadger based on fuel economy enhancements alone.
“It’s an emissions product that, ‘Oh, by the way will save you some fuel too,’ but it was invented as an emissions product and that’s what we market it as,” explains Johnston, adding the company doesn’t want to be lumped in with the countless gimmicks on the market that promise improved fuel economy but rarely deliver.
That said, the company has posted testimonials on its Web site (www.tadgergroup.com) that suggest many fleets and O/Os are equipping their truck with the device primarily for fuel economy reasons.
One customer raves: “I drive a 1999 Western Star with a Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine; 430/470 horsepower, 390 rear ends, 13-speed. I haul freight between Oakville, Ont. and Los Angeles, Cal., averaging speeds of 65 to 68 mph. Prior to the installation of the Tadger I was averaging 5.91 mpg/US and I now average 6.52 mpg/US. The average savings is 10.3 per cent.”
Johnston says there are many variables affecting fuel mileage including the driver, loads, routes and weather and so he is reluctant to hazard a guess as to a typical improvement in fuel economy.
“We would rather under-promise and overperform,” he says, but adds one well-known Ontario fleet has just completed a test showing an average improvement of three per cent. That’s based on one year of baseline data compared to 18 months of running Tadger-equipped units.
With the Kyoto Accord looming and politicians jumping on the environmental bandwagon, the company is looking to government to help promote products such as the Tadger, which have proven to reduce emissions.
“Unless we get their buy-in, fleet managers can only do so much because they’re restricted by budget,” laments Johnston.
He says the Tadger reduces Particulate Matter, NOx and CO2 “in varying degrees” and Ontario Drive Clean emissions tests have shown a substantial improvement in opacity. And testing has suggested the Tadger also reduces soot buildup in the oil, a major attraction for owners of the new EGR-equipped engines (in some cases they’ve been found to produce more soot buildup).
“That should be a motivator to buy because soot in the oil is going to increase wear and they’re going to get less life out of those engines,” Johnston says.
The Tadger costs $699 and can be installed by a mechanic in about 20 minutes. It takes 60 to 90 days to deliver any noticeable results because it takes that long to clear out existing buildups of soot and carbon. It is warranted against manufacturing defects for life and will generally outlast any engine, Johnston says.
“It will work until the engine dies and when the engine dies you take the Tadger off and put it on the new engine,” he says. “You only buy the product once.”