Stories from the 2014 Green Fleet Conference Exhibit Floor
This is a great event, on a topic that I think any green car guy (or person), should stay on top of. Sustainability within green fleet isn’t necessarily following the same curve as on the passenger vehicle side. It’s building on a domestic base of technologies, like compressed natural gas, renewable natural gas, propane, and bio-fuel. All of these substances are found here in the good old U.S. of A.
There is a lot going on in terms of finding new life from old and existing vehicles, whether it be dual-fuel systems from Optimus Technologies, or American Power Group. These are two of many companies can help you extend the life and economy of your current heavy truck fleet through converting diesel-only to engines that can run on a mix of alternative fuels AND diesel. There are startups like GFO, whose focus is to help fleets get greener by extending the life and reducing the carbon footprint of existing fleet power trains.
Don’t get me wrong, there is hybrid technology in green fleet. Some look to embrace it for the same reasons that passenger car owners buy hybrids. When the warranty on your fleet hybrid battery expires, Dorman is there to sell you an easy-to replace new battery for significantly less than dealer cost. There is room for all-electric, which you see here in small delivery cars, or the G2 that I wrote about earlier . There’s as a sweet twist on shuttle vans from a company called Zenith Electric that makes so much sense it’s amazing that someone didn’t think of it a decade ago. But the consensus, at least among the crowd at this event, is with alternative fuels–especially CNG, LNG or RNG. They’re a lot smarter than I am on this, so I’m going with them.
On the conference’s last day, I took a deep dive into the Exhibit Hall and spoke with a number of companies large and small. I wish I could have spoken with all of them, but
- I talk too much, and;
- The hall wasn’t open very long that day.
Here’s a quick writeup on each:
As mentioned above, GFO Oil is a startup company making their debut at the 2014 Green Fleet Conference. They make an oil additive that increases fuel efficiency while reducing emissions.
As with startups these days, the entrepreneurs behind GFO think data and testing first, marketing second. So to ensure to potential clients that they’re not another value-free additive, they sent their product to 3 high-profile independent testing organizations. SGS, a testing and verification company based in Switzerland. The Power Labs at Colorado State University, who specialize in advanced biofuels and engine emissions and efficiency. And they (probably) tested it on the dynamometer at IP Automation, a Colorado engineering firm.
According to their claims, their organic and biodegradable additive can help the manager of a 100-vehicle fleet increase MPG by 3 to 15%, depending on the vehicle mix. Assuming a fuel price of $4/gallon, this equals annual savings from $16,735 to $124,797.
J-W Power Company
Building a CNG fueling station is a huge event. If you’re building one for light duty fleet or public use, that’s one size application. If you’re building one to serve a fleet of hundreds of transfer trucks, it’s another and significantly larger proposition altogether.
Mike Bocheff, Account Manager for J-W Power and I discussed their total equipment solution. Which is as “total” as it sounds. Long story short, he’ll ship you a CNG fueling station. If you want to build a CNG fueling station, J-W will ship you a finished package consisting of the gas compressors, storage tanks, dryers, odorizes and a variety of dispensers for fleet and public use. You just add the finishing touches. The best part is that the heart of the unit, the gas compressor, is tested to run 24/7. J-W Power just finished a job for Ozinga Construction, helping them build and launch the company’s 4th CNG station.
You know Auto Meter, you’ve seen Auto Meter, you just need a minute to recall where. Once you do, you’ll remember you’ve seen their logo at racing events, NASCAR and such. Then you should remember you’ve seen their gauges at auto parts stores everywhere. In this sector, which will grow as duel-fuel gain popularity, Auto Meter provides Biofuel, CNG and LPG gauges, along with MPG gauges. And the mounting kits, etc., of course.
American Power Group
American Power Group is a conversion company that allows fleet managers with Class 8 trucks in their mix to straddle a fine line. On the one hand they need to lower costs and show improvement in fleet MPG. On the other hand, they don’t want to be the one who moved the company to a product or new technology that increased vehicle downtime. Or the person who advocates spending a lot of money on expensive new vehicles. It’s human, as a lot of us have these things called “bills” that arrive in the mail on a daily basis.
American Power Group can help. They love existing Class 8 vehicles, as their V5000 Duel Fuel Turbocharged Natural Gas Dual Fuel system can convert them to run on CNG or LNG AND diesel. Meaning their product can help extend the life and value of existing trucks by giving them a way to go longer, cleaner and cheaper. Without sacrificing performance, or introducing range anxieties. They have a mind-numbing 4-page, small-print chart of vehicles that APG Dual Fuel is EPA approved for. Their overall model year range begins with vehicles made in 1987, and spans all major Class 8 truck manufacturers, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Volvo, Caterpillar, Mack, and Daimler. Over 400 vehicles, based on the chart alone.
Leahy-Wolf/Valvoline Premium Blue Geo
Engines need oil, green or not. It’s a fact. Leahy-Wolf, a Canadian petroleum distributor was at the 2014 Green Fleet Conference with a product from Valvoline, called BlueGeo.
Valvoline’s Premium Blue GEO is a low-ash SAE 15W40 engine oil recommended for use in urban bus, delivery truck and other service fleets powered by CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) or propane. Premium Blue GEO is formulated with premium quality paraffinic base stocks and additive components to provide outstanding lubrication of gaseous fueled engines. The ash content of the oil is minimized to reduce formation of “hot-spots” that can lead to increased Nox formulation and catalyst poisoning.
It only makes sense that special engines need special oil formulations.
How can we talk about oil without talking about oil filters?
What is the big idea behind a sustainable oil filter? Do they make it out of sustainable materials? Is it something for alt fuel vehicles only?
No, microGreen is a product aimed squarely at helping to extend life and increase efficiency of light and medium duty fleet vehicles. A microGreen filter will allow your vehicle to operate 30,000 miles between oil changes. Which, according to their claims, is 6 to 10 times longer than conventional filters. It’s a 2-stage filter with a patented microfiber that captures particles as small as 2 microns. The standard spin-on filter can save up to $30,000 in a 200-vehicle light-duty fleet application, and up to $89,000 in a 200-vehicle medium duty application.
Better replacement batteries for fleet EVs is the reason Dorman was at the 2014 Green Fleet Conference. The Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrid have been with us for a long time now. Shrewd managers have integrated them into their fleets. As hybrid drive vehicle warranties expire and batteries approach their end-of-life, Dorman can help extend the life of the asset with a less expensive and better engineered replacement battery. They are well-positioned for success in the Green Fleet market.
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