Support for longer trucks in greenhouse report


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change interim report backs long combination vehicles

Support for longer trucks in greenhouse report
IPCC backs improved aerodynamics, such as with the Walmart Wave, for highway use

 

The leading international body for the assessment of climate change has given a tick of approval to long combination heavy vehicles.

Improved aerodynamics for the highway and hybrid drivetrain trucks used in urban areas are also singled out for praise.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says it was set up by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organisation in 1988 to present a clear scientific view on the state of knowledge in climate change.

Earlier this month, the IPCC came out with its latest report on "Mitigation of Climate Change". This interim report will undergo final checking before official publication expected later this year.

Chapter 8 is on transport, and the report seems to be optimistic about the scope for reduced carbon dioxide emissions from all modes of transport, including road freight.

That would also mean reduced fuel costs.

"The technical potential exists to substantially reduce the current CO2 emissions per passenger or tonne kilometre (t-km) for all modes by 2030 and beyond," says the report.

"Realizing this efficiency potential will depend on large investments by vehicle manufacturers, which may require strong incentives and regulatory policies in order to achieve GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions reduction goals."

A section of the chapter is headlined: "Energy intensity reduction – incremental vehicle technologies".

It points out that most modern medium and heavy duty trucks already have efficient diesel engines of up to 45 per cent thermal efficiency.

"And longhaul trucks often have streamlined spoilers on their cabs to reduce drag, particularly in OECD countries," the report states.

"Aerodynamic drag can also be reduced using other modifications offering up to 10% reduction in fuel consumption.

"In non-OECD countries, many older trucks with relatively inefficient (and highly polluting) engines are common. Truck modernization, along with better engine, tyre, and vehicle maintenance, can significantly improve fuel economy in many cases."

The report says medium and heavy duty trucks in the United States can achieve a reduction in energy intensity of 30–50 per cent by 2020 by using a range of technology and operational improvements.

It says most technologies eventually will be applicable for trucks around the world; and bigger trucks are given a stamp of approval. 

"Expanding the carrying capacity of HDVs (heavy duty vehicles) in terms of both volume and weight can yield significant net reductions in the energy intensity of trucks so long as the additional capacity is well utilized," says the report.

"A comparison of the performance of 18 longer and heavier HDVs in nine countries concluded that higher capacity vehicles can significantly reduce CO2 emissions per t-km.

"The use of long combination vehicles rather than single trailer vehicles has been shown to cut direct GHG emissions by up to 32%."

The report adds that trucks and buses operating largely in urban areas with a lot of stop‐and‐go travel can achieve "substantial benefits" from using electric hybrid or hydraulic hybrid drive‐trains.

"Typically a 20–30% reduction in fuel consumption can be achieved via hybridization," it says.

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