Optimus Technologies has launched a first‐to‐market biofuel conversion system, the Optimus Vector System, which it says reduces fuel costs up to 25%, reduces emissions up to 80%, and addresses alternative fuel mandates much more easily than other alternative fuel solutions such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Optimus says medium‐ and heavy‐duty fleets can realize significant savings, with the potential for a payback of less than one year. Vector prices start at $9,000.
Building on five years of research and development, Optimus developed the Vector system, a combination of patent‐pending hardware and software, to help commercial and government fleets reduce emissions and save money.
“We expect Vector to be used on intermediate‐ and beyond‐useful‐life engines initially,” said Colin Huwyler, CEO and founder of Optimus Technology. “That said, we see the day when biofuel solutions will be provided by engine manufacturers on new trucks as well. This vision is driven by the knowledge that other alternative fuel solutions are prohibitively expensive and do not provide the same results as biofuels.”
Currently, Optimus is seeking its first certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use with the Navistar DT466 engines between the model years 2004 and 2006. Certification and full production shipments are expected in the second quarter of 2014. Field trials, certifications and shipments supporting other engines are planned for later this spring and summer.
“We are very impressed and very happy with the Vector systems’ operations, especially during this harsh winter we have had,” said Paul Ostrowski, Fleet Contract Manager of the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Management and Budget. Ostrowski’s department has facilitated the field trial of Optimus’ Vector for the past few months. “We were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to add the conversion systems and by the emission improvements they provide to our road maintenance trucks. We can see how Optimus could help meet emissions mandates for municipal fleets.”
While field trials are being conducted on dump trucks, day‐cab tractors and construction equipment, Optimus expects success initially across a wide range of home‐fueled fleets in the commercial and government sectors including retail/wholesale delivery and transport, waste services, on‐road construction and road maintenance vehicles.
As a bi‐fuel solution, Optimus’ Vector runs in parallel to a truck’s existing diesel system – without significantly modifying, replacing or rebuilding the engine. The Vector enables the engine to run almost exclusively on biofuel to optimize fuel savings and emission performance, with diesel being used during startup, shutdown or fallback operation, if necessary. Unlike other conversion kits designed by hobbyists for cars and light duty trucks, Vector is a rugged, intelligent system that eliminates issues commonly associated with pure biofuels, such as clogging, corrosion and coking.
Built to operate in the harshest temperature ranges, Optimus’ Vector system is compatible with all modern emission aftertreatment systems such as selective catalytic reduction systems (SCRs) and diesel particulate filters (DPF). Compared to other alternative fuel solutions, Optimus’ solution does not require expensive new fuel station facilities, relatively expensive truck conversions, significant operator training or special safety certifications.