Average UK New Car CO2 Emissions Down 1.2% to 169.4 g/km in 2005
BP’s 1Q 2006 Profit Drops 15%; Oil Production Down

Internet-Based Truck Stop Electrification Locator Mapping Program

A sample TSE map, showing locations (red triangles) in California. Click to enlarge.

A new internet-based Truck Stop Electrification Station Locator (TSE) helps truckers find truck stops with idle-reduction facilities: on-site systems that can substantially cut fuel use while reducing engine emissions.

Truck stop electrification—similar to “cold-ironing” for ships at port—allows truckers to plug-in their long-haul tractor-trailers to operate the heater, air-conditioner and run electrical appliances such as refrigerators or televisions when they are resting during their federally required rest periods (10 hours rest period for every 11 on the road) from grid power rather than from electricity generated by running the on-board diesel engine.

Options for truck stop electrification include stand-alone systems that are located at truck stops, and combined systems that require both on-board and off-board equipment.

The IdleAire control module for each truck. Click to enlarge.

There are two main types of idle reduction facilities included in the TSE station locator, IdleAire and Shurepower technologies. Both allow drivers to shut off their engines while allowing cab appliances to remain powered and working to meet the needs of the truck driver.

The TSE map allows the user to drill down on the graphical displays of TSE stations to find information such as location, direction, phone, TSE type, type of communication supported (e.g., wireless Internet), hours and payment types.

Estimates show idle-reduction technologies could reduce diesel fuel use by about 800 million gallons annually, with a potential savings to the trucking industry of $2 billion each year. In addition, idle reduction strategies can reduce NOx emissions by approximately 150,000 tonnes per year and particulate matter emissions by up to 3,000 tonnes per year.

By reducing the amount of time that trucks idle, typically 6 hours per night, drivers can significantly reduce engine wear and associated maintenance costs. Routine maintenance can be performed less often and trucks can travel farther before needing an engine overhaul.

There are currently fewer than 50 TSE stations in eleven states—Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas—with plans for many more new facilities to open in the near future.

The internet-based mapping system was developed through an interagency agreement by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with funding from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The project resulted from a collaboration between FHWA and the DOE’ Clean Cities activity.

The mapping tool is available on the Clean Cities Web site free of charge.




Why haven't they done this sooner? This seems like an obvious way to decrease maintainance costs and fuel use.


Cervus: most likely because of economics. Fuel was cheap enough that it probably didn't pay to invest in such a project. I'm sure that calculus has changed now that fuel prices are skyrocketing. We'll be seeing a lot more of fuel saving / carbon emissions reducing innovations coming out of the woodwork now that the economics are in their favour.

Max Reid

Its a nice concept. Later when the trucks become plugin hybrids, their batteries can be charged from these stations.

Tim Russell

Max we're talking long haul trucks, not really a good target for plug-in hybrid tech. Here alt. fuels, areodynamic solutions (trailer skirts etc.), aux. power units and truck stop electrifcation to reduce idling.

Local delivery trucks on the other hand are where plug-in hybird tech. should be used.

One size fits all is not the way to go in the future.

John Ard

Truck drivers (my father is one) don't trust new technology. They also don't trust anything that is not integrated in the truck. IdleAir is a nice idea, but so was the parking lot mounted cable/internet hookup. Those are gone now.
A real solution would be an on-board generator. These sell for about $8000 and use fuel from the tanks. While not eliminating emissions, they are much more efficient than idling a 12.7 liter engine so you can sleep at night and a lot more reliable than hoping to find an IdleAire at the next truckstop.

Tim Russell

So John what you are saying is that aux. power unit's aka generators are the way to go as you can shut down the main engine but have a reliable power source on board. If a unit cost 8K I would guess it would pay for itself over a reasonable time in saved fuel, wear and tear on the main engine etc. How much does an IdleAire hook up cost to install, why not have both? No fuel use when posible and not stuck using the main engine when not.

Tim Russell

Quick net search reveiled that Idleaire needs a round portal in the side of the sleeper for the connection. They claim a $10 modification, probably cost more but not too much more as it doesn't require on board equipment.

Shurepwoer is a bit more at $200 for a kit, install would be more.

For that money over the cost of the tractor itself why not have all 3 and use what's best each night.

The comments to this entry are closed.