The NC Solar Center at North Carolina State University wrapped up a three-year $500,000 project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that focused on developing mobile idle reduction technology (MIRT) to reduce idling of longhaul trucks. NCSU partnered with Volvo Trucks North America to demonstrate the effectiveness of MIRTs in 20 over-the-road trucks.
In addition to installing an auxiliary power unit (APU) to supply electricity, heating, and air conditioning through a small diesel engine, each truck was outfitted by Volvo with sensors that were remotely monitored by NCSU researchers at the College of Engineering's Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering to assess the use and performance of the APUs. Conclusions drawn from the 20 trucks participating in the field demonstration that operated for over 2.8 million miles in 42 states during the 16-month data collection period were captured in a case study, video, and final report posted at www.engr.ncsu.edu/ncsc/transportation/MIRTproject.htm.
At mild temperatures, 100% substitution of APU usage instead of the base engine would lead to an 80 to 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, 36 to 47 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and fuel use, and 10 to 25 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions. However, the field data imply that the APU was used by single drivers for an average of 59% of idling and by team drivers participating in the demonstration for an average of only 25% of idling.