The EnergyBlog run by the Department of Energy (DOE) is a great source for interesting, relevant, and often exciting news on – you guessed it – energy. Last week there was a little noticed announcement about a public-private-partnership (PPP) that is coming up with ways to make semi trucks 7-12% more efficient.
Sitting in Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee is one of the most powerful computers in the world. Dubbed Jaguar, the DOE’s machine has computational power 100,000 times greater than the typical laptop. The government is allowing innovative companies to use the computer “to develop and test new products that can be manufactured in the United States.
BMI corporation, a small outfit based in South Carolina and Georgia, has used Jaguar to create a component that can be attached to the undercarriage of a semi (photo below) to reduce wind resistance, thereby saving fuel and money. From the blog:
The result is a new product being manufactured in Georgia that will make semi trucks 7 to 12 percent more fuel efficient. The potential impact is huge – outfitting all of America’s 1.3 million class 8 semi trucks with this kind of technology would save about 1.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel each year, meaning a savings of about $5 billion a year. The company was able to use the supercomputer to dramatically reduce both the time and cost of moving from a concept to a specific design that was ready to be manufactured. Originally, the process was supposed to take 3 ½ years. With the partnership of the Department of Energy and the Jaguar supercomputer, they did it in 18 months.