Going Green

Going Green

A few years ago engines came in just a few colors: red, yellow, tan, silver. They did it with paint then.
A few years ago engines came in just a few colors: red, yellow, tan, silver. They did it with paint then. Now the color is green, and it’s not being done with paint. It’s being done with technology.

Leading the parade is International Truck and Engine Corp. with its Green Diesel technology developed years ago. The company did an excellent job showing the public and, more importantly, regulators that diesels could operate without noxious emissions. It only achieved economic success in isolated municipalities that chose to purchase the company’s clean running school busses.

That was then. Today it’s different, as I found out recently wandering through the exhibits at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS). I was pleasantly surprised at the number of suppliers proudly displaying environmentally friendly accomplishments ––  much of it in response to customer interest.

At the gathering, Bob Christensen, Kenworth’s general manager, said, “There is a groundswell of customer interest from an economic and environmental standpoint. We expect that interest to multiply as federal and state agencies become more aggressive in protecting the environment and reducing dependence on foreign oil. Alternative fuels and hybrid technology are here to stay. Kenworth is committed to design and build fuel-efficient trucks that help reduce emissions and decrease fleet operating costs.”

 Kenworth’s commitment was recognized recently when its aerodynamic T660 and T2000 models were acknowledged as SmartWay program eligible trucks by the U.S. EPA.
Kenworth also was showing its medium-duty hybrid electric truck, which currently is being delivered in limited quantities. It is offering at least one fleet 35 percent fuel savings. 

Volvo displayed two VNs at GATS that were equipped to meet the requirements of the SmartWay program for highway tractors. A Volvo VN 780 with a full-height sleeper and a VN 730 mid-roof sleeper were used to demonstrate the enhanced aerodynamics and other fuel-saving strategies used to achieve the SmartWay designation for sleeper tractors.

Fleet customers are able to specify such a tractor component package when ordering trucks from Volvo. The required specifications are identified in Volvo’s truck ordering system so that carriers participating in the EPA program can ensure their new trucks qualify for the SmartWay designation.

It wasn’t only suppliers of power units that were touting potential fuel saving products. Utility Trailer said its 4000D-X dry van is the first trailer model to be certified as a SmartWay trailer. Utility’s SmartWay 4000D-X offers aerodynamic enhancements, low rolling-resistance tires and overall weight reduction, which qualified it under EPA’s SmartWay Partnership specifications.

EPA’s SmartWay Program had a booth displaying several technologies that can assist fleets in lowering fuel consumption and reducing emissions. Included was the tire inflation system by Pressure Systems International. Representatives from ArvinMeritor and PSI were available to explain the benefits of maintaining proper air pressure at all times.

The trucking industry is going green in Europe as well. The Volvo Group recently announced that it is the first vehicle manufacturer to produce trucks that can be driven without emitting any environmentally harmful carbon dioxide. Such trucks, equipped with diesel engines that were modified to operate on different types of renewable liquid and gaseous fuels, were exhibited in Stockholm. Leif Johansson, CEO of the Volvo Group said, “Volvo is part of the climate problem, but today we have shown that carbon dioxide-free trucks are a possibility and we, as a vehicle manufacturer, both can and will be part for the solution to the climate issue.” The trucks were equipped with nine-liter Volvo engines that were specially modified by company engineers to illustrate the possibilities of carbon dioxide-free transport.

It seems we’ve come a long way from the time that black smoke was looked upon by truckers as a sign of power!  
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