Idling engines affect our environment and our energy supply in several ways. A large, gas-fueled engine, for example, consumes as many as 8 gal. of fuel for every hour that it idles. In a single year, such an engine consumes 2,400 gal. of fuel. An idling engine also generates as much as 21 tons of carbon dioxide and 0.3 tons of nitrogen oxides in a year.
Governments in North America and throughout the world are trying to reduce these emissions and alleviate our dependency on non-renewable resources with regulations directed at idling engines. At the same time, they’re working with industry to foster awareness of the harmful effects of idling and the solutions available from suppliers to combat these effects.
As a manufacturer of idle-reduction products, Espar has formed partnerships with several government agencies in North America. Using idle-reduction technologies, Espar customers not only comply with stricter emissions and anti-idling regulations, they also reduce their fuel and engine maintenance costs, according to the company. By contributing to the comfort and safety of employees, these technologies also increase productivity and reduce staff turnover.
Espar provides two basic types of heaters for vehicles—air heaters and water heaters. Both systems satisfy the highest demands for sturdiness and cost-effectiveness. The air heaters improve engine startability in cold weather, while supplementing cabin heat independently of the engine. Models range from 7,500 BTUs to 18,800 BTUs and are available in diesel and gasoline versions. The coolant heaters provide automatic heat regulation on two levels. They run on low amounts of fuel and power, require no electrical plug-ins, are easy to start and include self-diagnostics. Models range from 5,500 BTUs to 120,000 BTUs. Using complimentary timer controls, operators can program the units to pre-heat an engine at scheduled intervals. They can also be activated using a Smartphone or other remote device.
The latest and most advanced diesel auxiliary power unit (APU) from Thermo King, the TriPac Evolution, leverages patented load shedding technology that enables the utilization of a more efficient Tier 4 final engine without increasing displacement.
Drivers now have complete cab temperature control as the TriPac Evolution supplies nearly unlimited heating, air conditioning and in-cab power to optimize comfort and allow drivers to rest without idling the tractor engine. The TriPac Evolution provides heat and power to the driver without running the APU engine, which is highly efficient and cuts down driver’s fuel costs. By providing power for luxury amenities like microwaves and cell phone chargers, drivers can enjoy the comforts of home on the road.
The new human machine interface (HMI) controller allows drivers to easily select the desired function of the TriPac Evolution system. Since the HMI design is similar to a regular automotive vehicle, it requires minimal training—allowing drivers to focus on getting some rest. With its comprehensive 22 real-time alarm codes for improved diagnosis of failures, the control system can quickly provide feedback to a technician, should they occur.
The TriPac Evolution features an updated flash-loadable control system and software that can be customized to enhance the driver’s operating profile and was designed to anticipate the evolving needs of drivers and provide flexible solutions to help them rest more comfortably and efficiently. Ultimately, this helps drivers to better focus on getting their load to their destination safely and on-time.
What to consider
When spec’ing APUs for sleeper cabs, there are lots of things to consider to ensure getting the right system:
• Size—consider how much space the APU will take up. The NITE Phoenix and NITE Plus units are easily installed under the bunk, maximizing the space available in the cab;
• Noise—a loud APU system can wreak havoc on driver’s ability to sleep. Make sure you test the system you want to install in the cab environment to ensure it isn’t too loud;
• Power—diesel APU units are powered by a small diesel engine that needs fuel to run. As a battery-powered system, Bergstrom’s NITE system can reduce the average truck’s fuel usage by as much as 3,790 gallons a year; and
• BTU rating—ratings in the no-idle marketplace currently range from a few thousand BTUs to as high as 18,000 and even 30,000 BTU. These discrepancies arise because there is no governing body that sets and enforces an industry standard. As a result, some manufacturers manipulate and inflate BTU numbers to entice buyers to their products. When choosing a no-idle system, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.