|Components of the UnderTray system. (A) Front Tray Fairing; (B) Axle Fairing; (C) Rear Diffuser; (D) Aerodynamic Rain Gutter; (E) Side Fairings. Nose Fairing not shown. Click to enlarge.|
BMI Corporation, in partnership with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has designed a SmartTruck UnderTray System, a set of integrated aerodynamic fairings that improve the aerodynamics of 18-wheeler (Class 8) long-haul trucks and reduce their fuel consumption.
With installation of BMI’s SmartTruck UnderTray System to improve the aerodynamics of Class 8 long-haul trucks, the typical big rig could achieve fuel savings of between 7 and 12 percent, easily meeting the new California Air Resources Board mandate that calls for a minimum mileage improvement of 5 percent, the company says.
If all 1.3 million Class 8 trucks in the US were configured with these components, companies could achieve annual savings of 1.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel—approximately equal to $5 billion in costs—and reductions of CO2 by 16.4 million tons.
The UnderTray components that are part of BMI’s initial SmartTruck Phase I products are available with new equipment or as a retrofit.
Current tractor trailers have a vehicle drag coefficient of between 0.58- 0.62. By contrast, a typical car has a coefficient of about 0.3-0.35, with low drag cars coming in around 0.26. BMI’s Phase I drag coefficient target is 0.45; Phase II target is 0.35; and Phase III target is 0.25.
Using ORNL’s Cray XT-5 “Jaguar” supercomputer shortened the computing turnaround time for BMI’s complex models from days to a few hours and eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming physical prototypes. In all, running simulations on Jaguar allowed BMI to go from concept to a design that could be turned over to a manufacturer in 18 months instead of the 3½ years they had anticipated.
BMI’s work with the Department was made possible through ORNL’s Industrial High-Performance Computing Partnerships Program, supported by the Department’s Office of Science. Through this effort, BMI was able to access Jaguar, which has a theoretical peak computational capability of 2.3 petaflops (2.3 quadrillion mathematical operations per second) making it more than 100,000 times more powerful than a typical home laptop.