ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2008) — Creating an improved aerodynamic shape for truck trailers by mounting sideskirts can lead to a cut in fuel consumption and emissions of up to as much as 15%. Earlier promising predictions, based on mathematical models and wind tunnel tests by TU Delft, have been confirmed during road tests with an adapted trailer. This means that PART (Platform for Aerodynamic Road Transport), the public-private partnership platform, has produced an application which can immediately be put into production.
Carbon Dioxide reduction
Prof. Michel van Tooren of TU Delft’s Aerospace Engineering faculty: 'In 2005, 10,000 new trailers were taken into use in the Netherlands. With an average fuel consumption of 30 litres per 100 kilometres, that translates into 750 million litres of diesel consumption in the Netherlands each year. We can cut fuel consumption by 5% or more for 50% of those trailers. That means a reduction of 50 million tons of CO2 emissions a year.
Sideskirts are plates which are mounted on the sides of trailers, primarily with a view to underrun protection. The new aerodynamic design of the sideskirts substantially reduces the air currents alongside and under the trailer and thereby also the air resistance. Initial driving tests with a trailer equipped with the aerodynamic sideskirts over a straight stretch of public road revealed a cut in fuel consumption of between 5% and 15%. Subsequent research comprising long-term operational tests by TNT displayed a fuel reduction of 10%. These results confirm the calculations and findings from the wind tunnel tests: these had already established that the observed 14 - 18% reduction in air resistance led to 7 - 9% less fuel consumption. In practice, the figures are in fact even better.
About the boat tail
Road tests have also already been initiated on what are known as boat tails. These constructions on the rear of a trailer ensure a reduction in the wake: the vacuum and air currents which arise when the trailer is moving. In theory, a boat tail could also mean a cut in air resistance of 30%, with a fuel reduction of 10 - 15%. These road tests should also confirm the earlier, highly positive results from the windtunnel.
Adapted from materials provided by Delft University of Technology.
Delft University of Technology (2008, April 22). Aerodynamic Truck Trailer Cuts Fuel And Emissions By Up To 15 Percent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/04/080417105446.htm