BLAINVILLE, Que. – Since the first Energotest in 2007 the track trials have evolved to serve, primarily, two masters: paying product developers and PIT members.
Early on in the program, FPInnovations explained that Energotest results would be made public after 12 months – after PIT members, who pay good money for exclusive access to the test results, had had the opportunity to use the results to give them a competitive edge.
Reminded of this and asked why the 2010 Energotest results have yet to be made public, Yves Provencher, director, PIT cryptically answers, “Government and partners decided to hold onto the results longer. The 12-month rule was a gentlemen’s agreement. There is a strategic reason for withholding the results for some more time.”
Product developers appear not to be legally bound by any pledge of secrecy. Some Energotest results, positive ones, to be sure, can be found on company Web sites; ie., Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.-based mechanical tarp systems manufacturer ElCargo Fabrication reports that its Multi Flip, a retractable tarp system that covers aggregate loads, obtained fuel savings of close to 9% at Energotest 2010.
Here are a few of the products on September’s Energotest agenda (their Web sites are well worth visiting and then revisiting in the months to come to see whether they have published any Energotest results):
Richardson, Texas-based Nitro9 Products was there with its fuel additives. Newmarket, Ont.-based Innovative Hydrogen Solutions. (IHS)was back to test its Hydrogen Generating Module, which generates and adds hydrogen and oxygen to the engine. “Save 10% on fuel or your money back,” is the IHS splash page guarantee. Denison, Texas-based Cerma Industries LLC was there with an engine and transmission additive called Cerma. The company claims a 4.2-21% increase in fuel economy.
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Anderson Flaps Incorporated signed on to have its see-through mud flaps, called eco-flaps (or EcoFlaps) tested. Made of screen, they are only 25% solid material. The idea is to cut spray without causing drag. Anderson claims fuel savings of around 3.5%.
Greenville, S.C.-based SmartTruck brought its UT-6 Trailer UnderTray System, which the United States Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Technology Program rates as reducing fuel consumption by 5%. SmartTruck bills this two-part product – a big air foil mounted ahead of the trailer wheels and a blocky thing (yep, that’s exactly what it looks like) mounted behind the wheels – as a “clear alternative to side skirts.” The idea is to redirect air under the “dirty” axles and suspension to reduce drag.
Salem, Ore.-based Airman Inc., brought its Air Wedge. Conceptually it is like the UnderTray, except that this aluminum device is positioned much closer to the axles and extends the full width of the trailer. Airman promotes the Air Wedge as doing the same job as side skirts and boat tails, claiming fuel savings of 5-11%.
In addition to running tests for paying product developers, PIT runs in-house tests that its members have requested. This fall’s big-ticket item was a comparison of four tractors equipped with EPA2010-compliant engines provided by PIT members: a Volvo powered by a D13 engine, a Paccar T700 powered by an MX engine, a Freightliner Cascadia powered by a DD15 engine and an International ProStar powered by a MaxxForce 13 engine. The ProStar had 24,000 kilometres on the odometer. The others had from 148,000 kms to 310,000 kms on them.
PIT also ran an in-house trial on a trailer with its entire underside sheathed with 1/16-inch thick galvanized sheet metal. This presents a smooth underbelly instead of a slew of transverse ribs. PIT tested this idea with and without side skirts.
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