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Friday, December 30, 2016

Commercial transport fuel emissions, safety and technological advancements

Fuel efficiency reduces emissions and supports business
Technological advancements allow logistics suppliers to use dual fuel systems
By: Go Supply Chain, Logistics and Supply Chain Consultancy 

In recent years a lot of progress has been made with regards to lowering emissions and making commercial transport more fuel efficient with less environmental impact. Technology and government legislation has also made commercial transport safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The future commercial transport demand is expected to grow in line with GDP throughout the whole of Europe. The cost of fuel forms a major portion of overall operational costs for all transport businesses. As the FT reported in April 2015, fuel volatility is a major concern for businesses in the transport sector. Technological solutions have been found to drive down exposure to fuel price volatility whilst increasing safety and security, we are going to look at some of these technologies in the post below. Further advancements are still required.

Fuel technology

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is transforming truck fuel systems and a number of companies have developed dual fuel systems for use in HGVs.

Dual fuel systems have the capability to reduce a transport companys' cost per mile and such systems also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With dual fuel systems there is usually no change to the diesel engine or to the way fuel is administered and burnt. With many dual fuel technologies the engine itself is unaltered but a gas injection system and an externally fitted ECU are usually added. In-cylinder temperatures and pressures remain within the limits of pure diesel operation.

Environmental impact

Transport accounts for around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions and affects air quality at the roadside, the UK Government says, they are supporting the market for innovative forms of transport and encouraging a move to cleaner and lower carbon vehicles.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is promoting the use of longer semi-trailers, “FTA is a supporter of the use of longer semi-trailers as they provide significant environmental and efficiency benefits,” said Andy Mair, Head of Engineering at FTA.

HGV safety

Transport for London (TfL) recently commissioned research to find out why HGVs are disproportionately involved in collisions involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in London.
Researchers from Loughborough University said “If you seriously want to reduce the number of collisions involving vulnerable road users and HGVs you have to improve the direct field of vision for drivers – and from our research this means lowering HGV cab designs or adopting low entry cab designs”.

The high number of fatalities involving HGVs led TFL to launch the safer lorry scheme. The scheme came into force in September 2015 and requires vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with better mirrors and side guards which aim to prevent cyclists from being dragged under the wheels.
TFL say, “The scheme ensures that only lorries with basic safety equipment fitted will be allowed on London's roads. Under London's scheme, most vehicles that are currently exempt from national legislation for basic safety equipment will have to be retrofitted. This includes construction vehicles, which are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians.”

Equipment innovations

Technology inside the cab is assisting drivers in many ways. Cameras with large displays and touch screens are being tested and will likely replace side view mirrors soon, cameras will reduce wind resistance, cutting fuel consumption and those ever important greenhouse gasses.

Cameras can aid in the recognition of traffic signs by incorporating them into the driver’s display. Camera technology can also alert drivers that they are of drifting out of a lane by vibrating their seat or the steering wheel.

About the author: This post was written and supplied on behalf of Go Supply Chain, Logistics and Supply Chain Consultancy

Image: Author owned and licensed