In July 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) appointed the Committee to Review the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Phase 2, to conduct an independent review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP). This Phase 2 review follows on the original NRC Phase 1 review of the Partnership conducted in 2007 and resulting in the report issued in 2008 (NRC, 2008). That 2008 review is referred to hereafter as the NRC Phase 1 report. It contains recommendations to which the 21CTP has responded (see Appendix C in this volume for the responses).
The 21CTP is a cooperative research and development (R&D) partnership including four federal agencies (the U.S. Department of Energy [DOE], the U.S. Department of Transportation [DOT], the U.S. Department of Defense [DOD], and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]), and 15 industrial partners (Allison Transmission, ArvinMeritor, BAE Systems, Caterpillar, Cummins Inc., Daimler Trucks North America [which includes Freightliner], Detroit Diesel Corporation [DDC], Eaton Corporation, Honeywell International, Navistar, Mack Trucks, NovaBUS, Oshkosh Truck, PACCAR, and Volvo Trucks North America).
Since the Phase 1 review, the Partnership has evolved in the face of changing budgets and new initiatives, such as the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA; Public Law 111-5), which injected funds during 2009 and 2010 for technology R&D on heavy-duty vehicles. The main leadership in the Partnership resides with the DOE’s Office of Vehicle Technologies, which manages a number of DOE-funded R&D programs directly related to medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) technologies. The other 21CTP agencies associate their own existing programs that are relevant to the goals of the 21CTP under the 21CTP umbrella.
The other factor, besides changing budgets and new initiatives, that makes budgets and projects involved in the 21CTP challenging to review is that the different agencies receive their budget appropriations from different committees in Congress. Thus, there is no central, overall control over budgets and accountability. Department of Energy staff organize meetings and conference calls, maintain the information-flow infrastructure (such as websites and e-mail lists), and have led the discussions for and preparation of the updated 21CTP Roadmap and Technical White Papers (DOE, 2010a, 2011) laying out Partnership goals. The management of individual projects under the 21CTP umbrella rests with the individual federal agencies that have funded the work. These agencies use the 21CTP information-sharing infrastructure to coordinate efforts and to ensure that valuable R&D results are communicated and that any overlap of activities among their respective efforts is reduced. The NRC’s Phase 1 review of the overall 21CTP helped communicate to the various stakeholders and to Congress the ongoing R&D efforts in the agencies and on the various projects (NRC, 2008). It is anticipated that the present, Phase 2 review and report will help extend that avenue of communication to all interested parties.
The purpose of the 21CTP is to reduce fuel consumption and emissions while increasing heavy-duty vehicle safety by supporting research, development, and demonstration that can lead to commercially viable products and systems. The strategic approach of the Partnership includes the following: (1) develop and implement an integrated vehicle systems R&D approach that validates and deploys advanced technology; (2) promote research for engine, combustion, exhaust aftertreatment, fuels, and advanced materials; (3) promote research focused on advanced heavy-duty hybrid propulsion systems; (4) promote research to reduce parasitic losses (now called vehicle power demands); (5) promote the development of technologies to improve truck safety; (6) promote the development and deployment of technologies that substantially reduce energy consumption and exhaust emissions during idling; and (7) promote the validation, demonstration, and deployment of advanced truck and bus technologies, and grow their reliability sufficient for adoption in the commercial marketplace (DOE, 2006).
The organization of this report is similar to that of the NRC Phase 1 report. The committee reviewed the major
areas that the 21CTP is addressing. (See Chapter 1 for the committee’s complete statement of task). The committee’s work was aided by its review of written materials and through presentations by 21CTP government and industry partners on technical progress and accomplishments (see Appendix B). In addition, the series of white papers referred to above summarized technical information, barriers, and, in many cases, goals and milestones, for six major focus areas:
1. Engine systems—which also includes fuels, aftertreatment, and materials;
2. Hybrid propulsion systems;
3. Vehicle power demands—formerly called parasitic losses, which aim to reduce energy losses such as those from rolling resistance or aerodynamics;
4. Idle reduction—which aims to reduce the amount of energy used for truck engine idling;
5. Vehicle safety—to reduce fatalities and injuries in truck-involved crashes; and
6. Efficient operations—which is a new area and white paper with the aim of reducing fuel consumption in the U.S. truck freight-delivery system.
This Summary first presents the committee’s overall findings and recommendations from the review of the 21CTP as a whole. It then presents the major findings and recommendations, selected from Chapters 2 through 9, for the following: management strategy and priority setting for the Partnership, the first five focus areas defined by the white papers (listed above), the SuperTruck program begun in 2010, and the new, sixth focus area on efficient operations. The findings and recommendations from the chapters retain their original numbering to help the reader gain context by going to the original discussions. The report chapters also contain findings and recommendations in addition to those in this Summary.
The new SuperTruck program is funding the development and demonstration of full vehicle systems integrating a number of technologies into Class 8 heavy-duty, long-haul trucks with the aim of reducing load-specific fuel consumption (i.e., gallons per ton-mile). This new effort follows on the NRC Phase 1 report that called for integrating new technologies, including advanced diesel engines, into vehicle systems.
Overall Report Finding S-1. The key benefit of the 21st Century Truck Partnership is the coordination of research programs directed toward the goal of reducing fuel usage and emissions while increasing the safety of heavy-duty vehicles. Federal involvement is bringing stakeholders to the table and accelerating the pace of technological development. Given the federal regulatory requirements to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, it seems the sharing of research and development (R&D) costs between the government and U.S. manufacturers of trucks and buses or heavy-duty vehicle components is appropriate to develop new technologies. Thus, the 21CTP is providing access to the extraordinary expertise and equipment in federal laboratories, in addition to seed funding that draws financial commitment from the companies to push forward in new technology areas. The Partnership provides the United States with a forum in which the member agencies, in combination with industry, academia, and federal laboratories, can better coordinate their programs. The steady decline in research funding from FY 2003 through FY 2007 was threatening the attainment of program goals. The actual funding and need for R&D are discussed in Chapter 1. The funding level in the years prior to the availability of funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was not in proportion to the importance of the goal of reducing the fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles and providing advanced technology for the industry to meet the 2014-2018 and later fuel consumption regulations. The ARRA funds provided by Congress in 2009-2010 have significantly enhanced the ability of the Partnership to meet and demonstrate the goals for reducing fuel-consumption and improving safety in prototype vehicles.
Overall Report Recommendation S-1. The 21CTP should be continued to help meet the nation’s goal of reduced fuel consumption in the transportation sector. In addition, the Partnership needs to review whether additional partners—such as major truck and component manufacturers that are not currently members—that could contribute to the R&D program should be recruited. Research funding should be commensurate with well-formulated goals that are strategic to reducing the fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles while improving safety, and all projects should be prioritized so that the 21CTP R&D program can be implemented within the available budget.
Overall Report Finding S-2. The 21CTP leadership responded substantively to most of the recommendations of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Phase 1 review, which helped to contribute to the improved program that was the subject of this Phase 2 review. The committee commends the leadership of the Partnership for this effort.
Overall Report Recommendation S-2. The 21CTP program goals should continue to be established, reviewed, updated, related to available funding, and clearly stated in measurable engineering terms. The white papers defining the various technical areas of R&D should be reviewed and revised, as appropriate, periodically and prior to any future NRC review of the 21CTP. Given the “virtual” nature of the Partnership among 4 agencies and 15 industrial partners, the projects that are considered to be part of 21CTP should be better defined and, if part of the Partnership, indicated by a 21CTP notation in any 21CTP documentation.
The NRC Phase 1 report (Recommendation 2-2; NRC, 2008) recommended the creation of “a portfolio management process that sets priorities and aligns budgets among the agencies and industrial partners.” In response, the Partnership stated that although this recommendation “will be considered … the ability to directly align budgetary decisions across the agencies, however desirable, may be outside the scope of this voluntarily collaborative organization” (see Appendix C). Given the individual control and oversight of the four agencies, the committee concluded that, although indeed highly desirable, such a portfolio management process is simply not likely to happen with the decentralized nature of the Partnership.
Although prioritization of projects across agencies is unlikely to happen in any meaningful way, the DOE has focused much of its 21CTP effort going forward on three SuperTruck projects, two funded with ARRA funds and one receiving DOE appropriated funds. These projects are directed toward demonstrating feasibility, fuel efficiency, and emissions compliance with full vehicle hardware for Class 8 long-haul freight trucks, as recommended in the NRC Phase 1 report (see Chapter 8 “SuperTruck Projects” in this report). The committee applauds the prioritization of available ARRA and DOE funds on these projects. Although improved collaboration and coordination among agencies would be welcome, the committee judges overall 21CTP program management to have improved since the Phase 1 report.
Finding 2-1. The 21CTP is a virtual organization facilitating communication among four agencies, government laboratories, and industry, but it has no direct control over research activities or funding across the agencies or by its industry partners. The committee continues to believe that the lack of single-point 21CTP authority is far from optimal, although it recognizes that this is necessary because of the various congressional committees that the agencies report to and that provide their budgets.
Recommendation 2-1. The Department of Energy (DOE) is urged to continue to improve the functioning of the 21CTP “virtual” management structure in every way possible. Such improved functioning would include strengthening interagency collaboration (particularly that involving the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the Department of Defense [DOD])1 and documenting and publishing specific 21CTP activity within all four agencies.
Finding 2-2. The EPA, DOD, and Department of Transportation (DOT) did not have a well-defined list of the projects and associated budgets that were included under the 21CTP umbrella. This stems in part from the virtual nature of the Partnership and partly, particularly within the DOE, from the natural overlap in activities on batteries, hybrids, materials, and other areas between the activities for light-duty vehicles and the 21CTP. Many of these activities are reviewed at the annual DOE Merit Review and at Directions in Engine-Efficiency and Emissions Research (DEER) conferences, and the new SuperTruck projects include an annual reporting requirement, but there is no dedicated report for the 21CTP.
Recommendation 2-2. The DOE should issue a brief annual report documenting the specific projects within the 21CTP and the progress made. The annual report should provide references to published technical reports from the involved agencies. This would especially help outside groups, future review committees, the Congress, and others to understand the structure, activities, and progress of the Partnership.
The NRC Phase 1 report includes 12 findings and recommendations regarding engines. The Partnership concurred with many of the recommendations and incorporated several of them in the SuperTruck contracts. It did not, however, concur with the two findings and recommendations (NRC, 2008, Findings 3-1 and 3-8 and Recommendation 3-1 and 3-8) about the 50 percent brake thermal efficiency (BTE) goal for 2010 and the 55 percent BTE goal for 2013. However, the committee notes that the 21CTP has now changed the year for meeting the 50 percent BTE goal to 2015 and that for the 55 percent goal to 2018.2
Finding 3-1. The committee reviewed nine diesel engine programs that were funded at a total of more than $100 million by the DOE and industry and that included the High Efficiency Clean Combustion (HECC) program, the Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) program, and others. Some programs met or exceeded their goals, for example achieving a 10.2 percent improvement in brake thermal efficiency (BTE) versus a 10 percent goal, whereas others did not quite meet the goals of 5 percent or 10 percent improvement in BTE. By combining HECC and WHR, each demonstrating greater than 10 percent improvement in BTE, together with other technologies, it should be possible to improve BTE by 20 percent to achieve the original DOE target of 50 percent peak BTE. However, the DOE target of 50 percent peak BTE was not met by the original goal of 2010.
1 Subsequent to the committee’s review of 21CTP programs, the DOE and the DOD entered into the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance (AVPTA) partnership on July 18, 2011. See, for example, “DOE, Army Alliance Underlines Achieving Energy Security” by Chris Williams, available at http://www.army.mil/article/62727/. Accessed October 18, 2011.
2 The 55 percent BTE goal in the 21CTP updated white paper, “Engines,” (DOE, 2011) is for a prototype engine system in the laboratory by 2015, whereas in the DOE Multi-Year Program Plan, the goal is for 2018 in a prototype engine (DOE, 2010b).
Finding 3-2. The DOE-funded research in advanced engine combustion at the national laboratories, in industry, and at universities is well managed and addresses important aspects for achieving an integration of advanced combustion processes that should be important enablers for achieving the 55 percent BTE goal as well as providing ongoing improvements. There also appears to be good interaction between the researchers performing the work and the industry stakeholders. Efforts to achieve 55 percent BTE are going to require complex and expensive technologies. It will be some time before it becomes clear whether there is a production-feasible and cost-effective way to achieve the 55 percent BTE target. The committee believes that this target carries considerable risk, even at the test cell demonstration stage.
Recommendation 3-1. The 21CTP fundamental research program should continue to provide important enablers for the 55 percent BTE goal, and the DOE should continue to look for leverage opportunities with other government- and industry-funded projects.
Recommendation 3-2. The DOE should ensure that the engine R&D for the goal of 50 percent BTE at over-the-road cruise conditions and the stretch goal of 55 percent BTE in an engine in a laboratory that will now be carried out under the SuperTruck program receive the appropriate share of the SuperTruck funding and benefit extensively from the DOE-funded research programs in advanced engine combustion.
Finding 3-7. In spite of efforts to reduce the fuel consumption of light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles and to develop biomass-derived fuels (an effort which, except for corn-based ethanol, has not progressed as much as had been expected), petroleum will remain the primary source of light-duty and heavy-duty vehicle fuel for many years to come. Whereas future U.S. gasoline demand is expected to be flat for the next 20 years, diesel fuel demand is expected to grow, necessitating changes in refinery operations.
Recommendation 3-4. The DOE should reinstate its program for advanced petroleum-derived fuels (they will be transportation’s primary fuels for many years to come) with the objective of maximizing the efficiency of their use.
Finding 3-9. The DOE established three different sets of goals for the fuels program from 2008 to 2011, which made an assessment of progress against the goals difficult. In total, little progress has been made toward the achievement of these DOE goals, which were not specified goals of the 21CTP.
Recommendation 3-6. The DOE fuel goals should be reevaluated in line with the FY 2012 budget and the recommendations of this report. Specific plans for achieving these goals should be established.
Finding 3-10. The research agenda of the 21CTP is focused on improving the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) reduction performance of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and lean-NOx-trap systems, improving the efficiency of and reducing the fuel consumption associated with particulate matter (PM) filter regeneration, and improving the ability to model aftertreatment systems. The DOE Cross-cut Lean Exhaust Emissions Reductions Simulations (CLEERS) program does a good job of coordinating the aftertreatment research programs within the 21CTP and disseminating the results to the technical community at large.
Finding 3-11. The demands on the aftertreatment system and its performance are intimately linked to the combustion process taking place within the cylinder. Consequently, the aftertreatment system must be developed and its performance evaluated in conjunction with the combustion system. The 21CTP realizes this, and its new goals for the aftertreatment program specifically state this.
Recommendation 3-7. The aftertreatment program within the 21CTP should be continued, and the DOE should continue to support the activities of CLEERS that interface with the activities of the aftertreatment technical community at large.
Emissions and Related Health Effects
Finding 3-13. The Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES), the Collaborative Lubricating Oil Study on Emissions (CLOSE), and the project on Measurement and Characterization of Unregulated Emissions from Advanced Technologies are comprehensive and cooperative projects that are investigating important issues related to potential heavy-duty diesel engine health effects. Based on the activities reported, the committee finds a high degree of collaboration among government agencies, national laboratories, and industry stakeholders.
Recommendation 3-9. The DOE should continue funding the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study, the Collaborative Lubricating Oil Study on Emissions, and the project on Measurement and Characterization of Unregulated Emissions from Advanced Technologies until results are finalized and reported for all three studies.
Finding 3-14. The propulsion materials program is addressing a broad range of materials issues associated with heavy-truck propulsion systems. Many of the initiatives are funded as cooperative R&D agreements (CRADAs) with significant
industry cost sharing, showing strong support by industry for this area of work.
Recommendation 3-10. The DOE should fund programs in the areas outlined in its “21st Century Truck Partnership White Paper on Engines and Fuels” (February 25, 2011) in the section “Approach to Reaching Goals” covering materials R&D for valve trains, major engine components, air-handling systems (turbochargers and exhaust gas recirculation [EGR] systems), and exhaust manifold sealing materials.
High Temperature Materials Laboratory
Perhaps just as important as the direct support of the 21CTP is the extensive benefit to the broader research and development community that comes from the research conducted at the High Temperature Materials Laboratory (HTML). This research covers a wide range of challenging problems for which solutions require the unique instrumentation at HTML as well as the expertise of the knowledgeable DOE researchers who oversee and operate the facility. The fact that many academic researchers, as well as industry research specialists, seek collaboration with HTML speaks to the value of the facility with respect to the advancement of knowledge on many fronts.
HTML, located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was established more than 20 years ago as a National User Facility. It was created to provide specialized, and in some cases one-of-a-kind, instruments for materials research and characterization of value not only to the 21CTP but also to other programs needing a fundamental understanding of materials properties.
Finding 3-15. HTML continues to be a valuable resource for materials research for the 21CTP, providing specialized and in many cases unique instrumentation and professional expertise. The expertise of those who oversee the laboratory, and therefore the value of HTML to all users, is enhanced by the participation of the HTML staff themselves in the research.
Recommendation 3-10. The DOE should continue to provide 21CTP researchers and other potential users access to HTML, and it should make every effort to maintain support for HTML and to maintain the cutting-edge capability of the facility. Moreover, the DOE should provide sufficient funding for HTML, and for the research specialists who oversee and operate the facility, to enable continued research collaboration with the academic community, other government laboratories, and industry. In particular, HTML support should not be reduced to a level that allows only maintenance of the equipment for paying users.
Finding 4-4. The EPA and DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued their final rules on September 15, 2011, for “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles.” Although these standards contain test procedures for determining fuel consumption for heavy-duty hybrid trucks, a manufacturer still needs a certificate of conformity showing that a vehicle’s internal combustion engine meets the EPA criteria emission standards for heavy-duty engines (a procedure that does not recognize hybrid heavy-duty trucks). The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is currently drafting vehicle-level test procedures for heavy-duty hybrid vehicles.
Recommendation 4-3. As partners of the 21CTP, EPA and DOT’s NHTSA should work with CARB to develop test procedures for the certification process for criteria emissions so that the emissions benefits of hybridization will be recognized, allowing the reduction in size or simplification of the emission control system of hybrid heavy-duty vehicles to be realized.
Finding 4-6. Six new stretch technical goals have been established by the 21CTP for heavy-duty hybrid vehicles. The committee agrees with the 21CTP that these are indeed stretch goals. Specific plans for achieving these new goals, some of which were carried over from the previous three goals that had been set for hybrids, were not provided to the committee. Nor was the rationale provided for these new goals, although they are appropriately focused on fuel consumption reductions, cost reduction, and a 15-year design life for the technologies. They appear to be reasonable technical goals. The cost and design life objectives in the previous goals had been identified earlier by the 21CTP as being necessary for achieving commercially viable heavy-duty hybrid vehicles. It is expected that a significant budget would be required through the target dates specified in the new goals, and a significant increase from the zero budget for heavy-duty hybrid R&D over the past 3 years would be required.
Recommendation 4-5. The 21CTP should establish plans and develop realistic budgets for accomplishing the six new stretch goals for heavy-duty hybrid vehicles in accordance with the committee’s findings, explain the rationale behind the new goals, and provide the current status of the applicable technology for each of the goals so that the magnitude of the tasks for each can be assessed.
Finding 5-7. There is no rolling resistance test procedure with interlaboratory correlation universally employed as an industry standard.
Recommendation 5-4. The 21CTP, strongly supported by the DOT and EPA (the latter through its SmartWay program), should conduct an authoritative study of the several barriers (e.g., related to tread life, truck stability in blowouts, run-flat tires, and other topics) to the widespread carrier adoption of next-generation wide base single (NGWBS) tires. The DOT should specifically support reduction of barriers to NGWBS tire acceptance by requiring the universal use by tire manufacturers of a rolling resistance test procedure like that in ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 28580, to ensure that comparative interlaboratory data exist.
Finding 5-13. Summarizing the committee’s findings on vehicle power demands: Project prioritization by the 21CTP roughly follows the consumption ranking of the several heavy-duty truck operating loads in Table 5-1 (see Chapter 5 in this report) and technology risk. However, sometimes market forces provide considerable impetus for quite good development and implementation—for example, in tire rolling resistance and, to a lesser extent, trailer aerodynamic components. The DOE has identified a strong role in which technology development costs and risks are high, as in its vehicle systems simulation and testing activities for heavy-duty trucks. It has generally followed these principles, to address high costs and risks, in the vehicle power demand projects. The SuperTruck projects will provide a unique Partnership opportunity to provide both further high-risk technology results for certain vehicle power demand reductions and real-world validation of numerous integrated systems.
Recommendation 5-8. Although it is tempting to assume that the SuperTruck projects will address all of the technologies required to reduce tractor-trailer fuel consumption, in practice many technologies may be left behind, particularly those that are not yet very mature. The Partnership should carefully review the technologies that have been identified and determine whether any technologies to reduce vehicle power demand are not being adequately addressed by the SuperTruck program. The DOE should define projects and find funding to support the development of technologies beyond the scope of SuperTruck.
Finding 6-1. The DOE, EPA, and DOT have funded a wide variety of idle reduction projects focused on implementation. A consolidated list of the funding provided for these projects was not provided to the committee, however, and the effectiveness of these projects could not be evaluated. The national patchwork of anti-idling regulations is an impediment to broader use of anti-idling measures.
Recommendation 6-1. The DOE, EPA, and DOT should develop a consolidated list of the funding provided for the idle reduction projects, review the effectiveness of these projects, and formulate a coordinated and consistent plan to encourage the adoption of idle reduction technologies to meet the goal of reducing fuel use and emissions produced by idling engines by at least two-thirds by 2017. The EPA and DOT should work to find incentives for states to promulgate uniform anti-idling regulations.
Finding 6-3. The Delphi solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) auxiliary power unit (APU) provides several advantages over diesel APUs, but it has significant issues in its current development status, including the following: low efficiency of 25 percent versus the DOE’s goal of 35 percent, and low demonstrated output power of 1.5 kW versus 3.0 kW believed sufficient by Delphi and 5 kW of typical diesel APUs; limited demonstrated durability; 2- to 5-hour warm-up time to the 750°C operating temperature; and high cost. The 10-year funding for this program expires in 2011.
Recommendation 6-3. The DOE should reassess the viability of the SOFC APU, particularly for application to the SuperTruck program, considering the following: (1) SOFC APU is still in the laboratory, (2) the low efficiency of 25 percent versus the DOE goal of 35 percent, (3) the low 1.5 kW output compared to the typical 5 kW diesel APUs, (4) the disadvantages associated with the requirement for continuous operation at 750°C, and (5) the expiration of funding from the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and EERE Fuel Cell Technologies Program of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy after 10 years of development. The DOE should coordinate more closely with DOD in its fuel cell APU developments to ensure that the best technology is being pursued for the 21CTP’s Goal in the engine idle reduction focus area; that goal relates to the development and demonstration of viable fuel cell APU systems for military and other users (see Chapter 6 for the full text of Goal 7). (This recommendation is a follow-on to Recommendation 6-8 in the NRC Phase 1 report.)
Finding 6-4. Idle reduction technologies could provide 6 percent reduction in overall fuel consumption for Class long-haul trucks with sleeper cabs, which is nearly 30 percent of the 20 percent reduction in the fuel consumption required to meet the proposed EPA/NHTSA 2017 fuel efficiency standards.
Recommendation 6-4. The 21CTP should review and potentially revise its idle reduction plans and goals in view of the fact that the proposed 2017 fuel efficiency standards provide an incentive for the adoption of idle reduction technologies as a means for achieving these standards for Class 8 long-haul trucks with sleeper cabs.
Finding 7-3. The DOT has met its heavy-truck safety goals for the past 4 years. However, the committee observes that the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB’s) 2010 study
Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations has shown that other nations have established more aggressive initiatives and goals with impressive results, and those results suggest that even greater improvement in highway safety is possible in the United States. The committee also notes that overall improvements in highway safety also yield improvements in heavy-duty truck safety, as most heavy-duty truck fatal accidents involve a light-duty vehicle.
Recommendation 7-3. The DOT should evaluate the conclusions and recommendations of the TRB study Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations of highway safety in other nations, and consider the possibility of establishing more aggressive initiatives and goals for highway safety in general. The DOT should also consider establishing more aggressive goals for heavy-duty truck safety.
Three projects have been selected for awards under the DOE’s SuperTruck program; they will focus on measures to improve the fuel efficiency of Class 8 long-haul freight trucks. These projects will receive $115 million in DOE funding to develop and demonstrate full vehicle system-level technologies by 2015. Two of the project teams (Cummins, Inc. and Daimler Trucks North America, LLC) received ARRA funding for their projects, and Navistar, Inc. will be funded from DOE appropriations:
• Cummins, Inc. (Columbus, Indiana): Develop and demonstrate a highly efficient and clean diesel engine, an advanced waste heat recovery system, an aerodynamic Peterbilt tractor and trailer combination, and a solid oxide fuel cell auxiliary power unit to reduce engine idling.
• Daimler Trucks North America, LLC (Portland, Oregon): Develop and demonstrate technologies including optimized combustion, engine downsizing, electrification of auxiliary systems such as oil and water pumps, waste heat recovery, improved aerodynamics, hybridization, and possibly a fuel cell auxiliary power unit to reduce engine idling.
• Navistar, Inc. (Warrenville, Illinois): Develop and demonstrate technologies to improve truck and trailer aerodynamics, combustion efficiency, waste heat recovery, hybridization, idle reduction, and reduced rolling resistance tires.
The objective of the three SuperTruck projects is to develop and apply technologies leading to a system-level demonstration of highly efficient and clean diesel-powered Class 8 trucks that:
• Achieve a 50 percent increase in vehicle freight efficiency measured in ton-miles per gallon, which translates to a 33 percent reduction in load-specific fuel consumption (gallons per 1,000 ton-miles).
• Achieve at least a 20 percent improvement through engine thermal efficiency development, and achieve 50 percent BTE under highway cruise conditions.
• Evaluate potential approaches to 55 percent BTE in an engine via modeling, analysis, and potentially also laboratory tests
Finding 8-1. The three SuperTruck projects will be the flagship projects under the 21CTP for FY 2011 through FY 2014; the goals are in concert with recommendations made in the 2008 NRC Phase 1 report. A large portion of the DOE 21CTP budget will be devoted to these three projects. Each SuperTruck project integrates a wide range of technologies into a single demonstration vehicle (engine, waste heat recovery, driveline, rolling resistance, tractor and trailer aerodynamics, idle reduction, weight reduction technologies, etc.), and the contractors are pursuing sufficiently different technical paths to avoid excessive duplication of effort. The results will help determine which fuel-saving technologies are ready and cost-effective for original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-level product development programs.
Finding 8-4. The committee believes that the SuperTruck project teams have developed plans that address the needs of the SuperTruck program and that have a reasonable chance for success. The keys to success include proper implementation of the plans along with the flexibility to adapt to new information and intermediate results during the course of the project.
Finding 8-5. The SuperTruck projects allow each team to design its own test duty cycle(s) within certain constraints. One negative consequence of this approach is that the three trucks may never be tested using a common cycle for comparison.
Finding 8-6. The SuperTruck projects go beyond the scope of previous 21CTP projects. Instead of relying entirely on simulations and laboratory testing, each of these projects will result in a drivable truck. The committee believes that it is important to take technologies that have been developed to date and implement them in a real vehicle. Often, the application of new technologies in real-world applications yields unexpected results, and these results must be explored before any new technology can be considered ready for production implementation.
Recommendation 8-2. The DOE and the SuperTruck contractors should agree on at least one common vehicle duty
cycle that will be used to compare the performance of all three SuperTruck vehicles. In addition, fuel consumption improvements should be calculated on the basis of the EPA/NHTSA fuel consumption regulations.
The 21CTP recently proposed “efficient operations” as a new area for work under the 21CTP. The proposal is laid out in a draft white paper titled “Reducing Fuel Consumption in U.S. Trucking—A DOE-DOT Joint Study and Whitepaper” (DOE-DOT, 2011). In this draft, the two agencies explore opportunities to improve the efficiency of trucking operations, focusing on two areas of opportunity: (1) joint R&D efforts between DOE and DOT and (2) modifications of regulations (primarily DOT regulations).
Besides the many technologies available for reducing the fuel consumption of trucks, there are other ways of saving fuel that do not require any changes to vehicle or engine technologies—involving, for example, the ways that vehicles are operated and maintained, or the nature of regulations that may constrain or promote technology implementation and efficient operations. Infrastructure is also important because it can affect fuel consumption through factors such as vehicle speed fluctuation and congestion. Electronic features can be added to a truck that modify the performance of the engine or vehicle in ways that can save fuel.
The committee identified a number of areas and developed a number of findings and recommendations on the following topics for the 21CTP to consider in its white paper in formulating goals in order to reduce fuel consumption. The topics are as follows:
• Improved aerodynamic and rolling resistance performance for trailers,
• Exploitation of the use of intelligent vehicle systems, and
• Assessment of the potential impact of high-productivity vehicles and providing of leadership in getting them into trucking operations.
The following major findings and a recommendation are the result of the committee’s review of the draft DOE-DOT (2011) white paper on efficient operations. They describe what the committee believes should be added to or changed in the white paper to help the 21CTP promote and enable more efficient trucking operations. (See Chapter 9 for other findings and recommendations.)
Finding 9-1. The DOE-DOT draft white paper proposes “efficient operations” as a new direction for the 21CTP. The committee agrees that this is an important area for R&D under the umbrella of the 21CTP. It also agrees that cooperation among the DOE and DOT and other agencies would be beneficial, particularly for assessing the possible effects of removing regulatory barriers to the use of fuel-saving measures.
Finding 9-10. The DOE-DOT draft white paper on efficient operations in its current form does not include any goals that could be used to prioritize and drive R&D efforts on efficient operations.
Recommendation 9-7. Specific goals for efficient operations should be developed, with strong consideration given to exploiting the potential for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to reduce fuel consumption. In addition, priorities should be set for the R&D, testing, and data collection needed to analyze the benefits, drawbacks, and potential unintended consequences of removing barriers, including regulatory barriers, to the application of fuel-saving features. The draft white paper on efficient operations should be rewritten to take the findings and recommendations of the committee into account. The 21CTP partners, trucking fleets, and major suppliers should be involved in setting goals and research priorities
DOE (U.S. Department of Energy). 2006. 21st Century Truck Partnership Roadmap and Technical White Papers. Doc. No. 21CTP-003. December. Washington, D.C.: Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.
DOE. 2010a. Updated 21st Century Truck Partnership Roadmap and Technical White Papers. Doc. No. 21CTP-003. September 1. Washington, D.C.: Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.
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