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June 01, 2017 | Diesel Technology Forum
Equipment owners are demanding advanced technologies that maximize the use of the equipment while saving fuel. While intended or not, these efficiency saving technologies contribute to achieve energy security goals and climate priorities.
You may not realize it, but your life relies on diesel. Diesel-powered agricultural equipment is responsible for cultivating most of the items you had for breakfast while diesel-powered trucks and trains delivered the items you bought to the store. Diesel-powered ships delivered most of the clothes you put on this morning. For many Americans that rely on public transportation, a diesel-powered bus or light rail was responsible for 10.7 million trips last year. Equipment owners are demanding advanced technologies that maximize the use of the equipment while saving fuel. While intended or not, these efficiency saving technologies contribute to achieve energy security goals and climate priorities.
The most visible sign of diesel at work to many Americans are trucks. Today, over 95 percent of the largest Class 8 trucks are powered by diesel and 1-in-3 come with the latest near zero emission reduction technologies that contribute to improving air quality. These advanced diesel technologies also come with a fuel savings benefit that have saved 101 barrels of crude oil and 43 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions since 2011. A new class 8 truck owner will save almost $3,000 in fuel costs relative to previous generation technology. While intended or not, this fuel savings translates to almost 10 tons of C02 saved each year. These are significant successes that will contribute to energy savings and energy independence goals and greenhouse gas emissions priorities for many fleets and equipment owners.
There are advances beyond engines and emission reduction technologies that will provide further energy savings and carbon emission reductions. Advanced lightweight materials, aerodynamic designs, better tire technologies, next generation transmissions and even lubricants will collectively help the diesel engines operate more efficiently and contribute greatly to fuel savings. Still yet, “Big Data” will help these vehicles optimize how they drive to maximize fuel savings.
While autonomous trucks are not on the road yet, they are out in the field. Autonomous mining trucks have been deployed and boost fuel savings by 20 percent while greatly improving worksite safety. Other less ambitious advanced technologies found on construction equipment will allow more precise work to be completed, in less time while saving fuel for contractors. Out on the farm, similar technologies are hard at work. Farmers use advanced telemetry, GPS enabled technology and other technologies to optimize the use of their equipment to do more with less, including fuel.
A perhaps overlooked technology is developments in fuels. Biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel are growing in use and directly contribute to energy savings. In 2016, almost 3 billion gallons of biodiesel were produced that save petroleum fuel, a finite resource. More and more businesses and municipalities are making the switch to renewable diesel fuel that reduces carbon emissions by almost 90 percent and saves petroleum fuel. The cities of San Francisco and San Diego, Disneyland and Google - just to name a few - are all using renewable diesel fuel while New York City intends to use as much of the fuel for its massive fleet of vehicles and equipment when the fuel is available along the East Coast. In the U.S., biodiesel and renewable fuels are often derived from waste agricultural stocks that further contribute to energy security. As long as we grow food, we will have these fuels.
An important question to ask is whether the diesel engine of tomorrow will operate on petroleum fuel? Whether these vehicle and machines operate on petroleum or bio-based fuels, advanced technologies demanded by owners will all be doing more work while using less fuel. This will promote energy savings while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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