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HDT's 2011 Truck Fleet Innovators Talk About Sustainability

Innovating Green sustainabilityC.R. England tests new fuel-efficient equipment and focuses on driver behavior to improve mpg.

By Deborah Lockridge, Editor in Chief

HDT’s 2011 Truck Fleet Innovators were honored for their industry leadership in areas such as driver safety, logistics and maintenance, but their fleets are also taking the lead in fuel savings and other sustainability initiatives that are “green” for both the environment and for the bottom line.

Sustainable in Salt Lake City

Chad England, president of Salt Lake City-based C.R. England, was named a Truck Fleet Innovator for his approach to using predictive modeling to create a driver safety scorecard. But C.R. England also has racked up sustainability awards for its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. For instance:

– Drivers: Drivers are taught to eliminate out-of-route miles, limit idle time, control speed, progressive shifting, proper tire inflation, etc. A quarterly fuel incentive program gives drivers a raffle entry for each quarter-mpg improvement, as well as for overall mpg improvement quarter over quarter. At stake? A Harley Davidson.

– LNG tractors: England’s Dedicated division recently leased five new Kenworth T800 tandem-axle day cab tractors powered by the Westport GX 15-liter liquefied natural gas engine through Paclease. The new equipment will be operated in a dedicated operation between Ontario, Calif., and Las Vegas.

– Saving reefer fuel: C.R. England has saved more than 9% year-over-year in reefer fuel usage with strategies such as sensors that shut off the refrigeration unit when the trailer door is open, exception/alert management, improved reefer maintenance, and booking and driver temperature setting confirmation. The company has changed parameters on its Thermo King Optiset system, such as increased number of pre-set temperature options, and use of Cycle-Sentry mode, which allows the unit engine to shut down when return air temperature has reached setpoint.

– Aerodynamic equipment: C.R. England is equipping all new Cascadia model tractors with a new aero kit. It is installing GreenWing trailer side skirts from Ridge Corp. on new trailers and is retrofitting many older trailers, as well.

– Tires and wheels: Low-rolling-resistance tires are used for both tractor and trailer positions, original and retread. Air pressures are checked as trucks arrive at terminal locations, and the company is testing automatic tire inflation systems. All-aluminum wheels save weight.

– Idle reduction: No-idle and idle reduction policies have resulted in a 17% idle reduction in one year. Trucks have bunk heaters and are set so they can’t idle when ambient temperatures are between 20 and 70 degrees.

– Testing, testing: C.R. England has developed a testing department that is responsible for both controlled and field testing using TMC/SAE Type IV guidelines. Recent and current testing initiatives include hydrogen systems for tractors, tag axles, aero kits, reefer monitoring, side skirts, wide-based tries, automatic tire inflation systems and trailer boat tails.

Cardinal’s green initiative

Since 2004, Cardinal Logistics, whose chairman Vin McLoughlin is an HDT Truck Fleet Innovator, has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a SmartWay Transport Partner for committing to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. To meet these goals, it uses several strategies:

– Fleet advancements: operating new, lower-emissions equipment and reducing fuel consumption.

– Fleet modification: Truck speeds are governed. The fleet installed auxiliary power units and implemented automatic idle shutdown and other modifications to reduce fuel use.

– Alternative fuels: Testing biodiesel, typically a B5 blend.

– Driver education: Training on proper maintenance and driving habits, and offering incentives for saving fuel.

– Dynamic Routing: reducing miles and providing backhaul support.
Cardinal’s proprietary technologies help lower the fleet’s emissions by reducing miles and monitoring for efficient performance.
Cardinal also provided dedicated contract carriage to recycling and waste management companies, including North America’s largest recycler. With almost a million tons of product transported each year, recyclable waste has become one of Cardinal’s fastest growing verticals.

Going green in the shop

Terry Clouser, director of maintenance at Alabama-based AAA Cooper Transportation, outlines a number of areas where the less-than-truckload fleet is “going green” in its equipment and maintenance efforts:

– Top speed on trucks has been set to 65 mph and idle time to three minutes.

– Trucks get tune-ups every 150,000 miles to make sure engines are running at their most efficient.

– Tractors have full air fairing packages.

– Rigorous tire inflation checks to ensure optimum rolling resistance.

– Oil, oil filters, tires, antifreeze, batteries, scrap metal and refrigerant are all recycled.

– Recycled shop rags are used instead of paper towels.

– On-site truck washes reclaim all waste water.

– Energy-efficient lighting is used in terminals.

– The company is testing AirTabs and trailer skirts for aerodynamics, and fuel-efficient tire tread designs.

– Clouser is also testing a new aftermarket “engine enhancement” module. This plugs into the engine’s fuel delivery system and monitors the vehicle’s fuel actuators, optimizing the duration of the fuel delivery at each injector across the entire rpm range of the engine. It claims to provide an average of 0.5 mpg increase and better performance.

From the October 2011 issue of HDT.

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