Image source: Truck Restoration Unlimited
The trucking industry around the globe is one of the most vital in helping power up the economy. Worldwide, the economy largely depends on a supply chain that is maintained by trucks through the transportation of raw materials and finished products. Conventional trucking technology relies on the use of fossil-based fuel sources that are particularly known to be highly potent as far as carbon emission is concerned. In the US, according to reports, trucks consume up to 2.7 million barrels of fuel per day, therefore emitting up to 530 million tons of carbon dioxide. According to the EPA, trucks alone in the US contribute to 23 percent of the US greenhouse gas emissions, a figure highly likely to change for the worst if new trucking technology is not developed.
Current methods truckers use to reduce emissions
Environmentalists have been on high gear as far as advocating for reducing the carbon footprint is concerned. This has compelled for new measures to be developed, measures that would drive towards the development of ways of reducing carbon emissions from trucks. Some of the current carbon-emission reduction strategies and technologies that have come in handy include:
Redesigning of trucks
This is the most widely exploited technique that engineers have been working on to ensure that trucks achieve a reduced carbon emission. Using wind tunnel tests and schematics, engineers have developed improved truck designs that work better as far as reducing fuel consumption is concerned. In this regard, newly designed and built trucks put into use the concept of streamlined shape that allows trucks to plow through the air more efficiently. The less air resistance guarantees that trucks would spend less fuel, therefore reducing the amount of carbon emitted.
Maintenance of trucks has also been undertaken as one of the methods of reducing carbon emission. Engine maintenance methods such as servicing the parts more often ensure that fuel is efficiently combusted and thus produces less carbon waste. Advanced technological systems have also been incorporated in the truck engines. For instance, trucks are fitted with auxiliary power units which enable the trucks to achieve basic functions such as heating and cooling without the need to idle the engine. Also, modernized trucks have been fitted with instrumentation that allows truck drivers to visualize vital fuel consumption information which enables the drivers to take necessary action that can save fuel.
Policy support frameworks
Trucking companies have also implemented policies that seek to ensure that their trucking business is as effective and efficient as possible. For instance, companies always endeavor to use the shortest route possible to ensure that goods are delivered within the shortest time possible where traffic jams that cause engine idling are less likely.
The current methods truckers use to reduce emissions are therefore subtly efficient but do not accrue much benefit as far as the carbon-emission reduction is concerned.
Current trucking developments to bridge the gap
The only viable option in the bid for stakeholders to reduce carbon emission is to develop electrically-powered trucks that rely on electric charges to power the semi-trucks. Research has already led to some prototypes which can travel up to 400 miles with a single charging period of 30 minutes. Whereas these stats are quite promising, it would need the involvement of the trucking companies to ensure that the concept of fully developed, enhanced, and implemented.
Electric trucks would offer numerous benefits, including saving on the ever-rising fuel costs that can sometimes eat into the trucking company’s profits. Also, the electric trucks can travel further for less energy as compared to fossil fuel-dependent trucks. Electric trucks would work to the utmost benefit of companies as they would offer faster and cost-effective ways of freighting cargo.
Besides, the electric trucks come equipped with additional fuel-efficient technologies. For instance, the trucks are equipped with a smart engine and gearbox system which ensures that the truck selects the best driving mode depending on the road topology and cargo being hauled. This concept is quite helpful as far as enhancing the efficiency of the trucks is concerned.
The trucking industry, being the main contributor to the current global carbon emission, is in dire need of a change in its operational profile to ensure that it suits the environmental demands. A viable solution is imminent in the development of electrically powered trucks which have proved to be energy efficient while producing no carbon footprint.