Greening of corporate welfare?

Lisa & Ian Murray seamus at
Mon Aug 14 08:02:46 PDT 2000

Truck R&D Could Save Over 3 Billion Gallons of Fuel Annually EarthVision Environmental News

WASHINGTON, August 14, 2000 - The Department of Energy announced the selection of research and development teams that would share more than $4.4 million in their quest to increase the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks. The announcement by Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson said the research would target vehicles known as Class 7 and 8 trucks. Secretary Richardson called these trucks, which can weigh from 26,000 to 80,000 pounds (cargo included), "workhorses of the American economy."

"The technology resulting from this research has the potential to produce huge fuel savings, reducing our reliance on imported oil and assist in lowering emissions in the heavy-duty transportation industry," said Secretary Richardson. "It also will enhance the competitiveness of the trucking industry, which depends on the ability to produce affordable, high quality, safe, environmentally sensitive products."

According to the Department's news release on the research funding, one of the goals of public/private partnership is doubling the fuel efficiency of the Class 8 long-haul truck by 2010. The Energy Department anticipates it will spend about $4.4 million to these projects over a four-year period. Industry will contribute a similar amount during the life of the project in which specific award amounts are still being negotiated.

The announcement of the funding coincides with the recent meeting of the industry and government partners of the 21st Century Truck Initiative. Participants in the meeting included about 40 representatives from industry and government.

The ultimate goal of the 21st Century Truck Initiative is to drastically increase fuel economy and safety in commercial trucks and buses, which will also lead to a reduction in greenhouse gases and other air pollution.

"This new technology will reduce our consumption of foreign oil, clean our air and ultimately make our roads safer," Vice President Gore said when announcing the Initiative in April of this year. "The heavy truck manufacturing industry deserves great credit for pledging to work with this Administration to create trucks and buses that are cleaner, safer and more economical. We have learned that a strong economy and a safe environment go hand in hand."

If all goes according to plan within 10 years the agreement should bring about "production prototypes" to:

Triple the fuel economy of heavy pickups, large delivery vans, and full-sized passenger buses;

Double fuel economy for 18-wheeler long-haul trucks;

Improve safety ;

Achieve superior operational performance and lower costs for truckers; and

Exceed expected emission requirements for 2010 by making major reductions in NOx, particulates, and other local air pollutants.

Research priorities, which will be developed in cooperation with industry partners, will include advanced engines, fuel cells, lightweight materials, advanced propulsion technologies, vehicle design, and advanced emission control and vehicle safety systems.

For the projects receiving this round of funding, team leaders and their members selected are:

Caterpillar Corporation of Peoria, IL The team will integrate a flywheel with an electric motor that will serve as a starter and an electric generator to provide electrical power tailored to drive fluctuating energy needs for multiple accessories. Successful completion of this project could result in savings of more than 3.3 billion gallons of fuel per year while facilitating implementation of emission controls.

Team members are Kenworth Truck Company (Seattle, WA), Engineered Machined Products (Escanaba, MI) and Emerson Electric (St. Louis, MO).

Dana Corporation of Kalamazoo, MI The goal of this research and development project is to reduce energy losses due to the friction between the mechanical components of heavy-duty axles by 40 percent. This would save an estimated 920 million gallons of diesel fuel per year.

Team members are PACCAR Technical Center (Mt. Vernon, Wash.), Lubrizol Corporation (Wickliffe, OH), Timken Company (Canton, OH), Eaton Corporation (Southfield, MI), Auto Research Laboratory Inc. (Chicago, IL), Biztek Consulting Inc. (Evanston, IL) and the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, IL).

Honeywell Advanced Composites Inc. of Newark, DE Honeywell will develop cost-effective ceramic composite disc brakes, modeled after aircraft brakes, to provide brakes with more stopping power which are necessary for advanced aerodynamically designed trucks. The ceramic composite brakes will be lighter than conventional brakes and provide an additional margin of safety.

Team members are PACCAR Technical Center (Mt. Vernon, WA), Kenworth Truck Company (Kirkland, WA), Honeywell Aircraft Landing Systems (South Bend, IN), Honeywell Commercial Vehicle Systems (Elyria, OH), Boeing Landing Gear (Seattle, WA), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN).

Government partners in the 21st Century Truck Initiative include the White House, the Office of the Vice President, the Departments of Transportation, Defense and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Council on Environmental Quality.

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