Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shore Power Takes On A New Meaning

The Navy, Marine and boating worlds have known this term for many years. When a floating vessel comes into port the vessel plugs in to shore power to enable everything on the vessel to be powered by electricity from shore electricity so the engines do not have to run for the port term. It seems like a no brainer then that this idea could be adapted to fit other transportation modes. The heavy duty truck transportation industry that hauls America's products have been very slow to adapt to this method. The majority of heavy duty semi trucks have units that have the same amenities of a home, a yacht, or even a motor home. Several large cities like Houston, TX and Los Angeles, CA have started enforcing laws to stop the huge trucks from idling their trucks all night. This helps to fight noise and air  pollution, in the short term and slow global warming in the long term. Not to mention the fuel. Some companies have went to other expensive alternatives such as small fuel burners for heat and battery controlled air conditioning units. In colder climates, electric engine heaters are plugged into shore power so they can keep the engine warm and start the units. Yet they still left the obvious conversion to total shore power for all on board components unused over all. The extensive use of sleep apnea machines by the drivers are helping to push the trucking industry to look at shore power for the answer. Over the road drivers are required to live in these units. Refrigeration for food, air conditioning, heat, televisions where somewhat regulated by fleet owners, but sleep apnea machines cannot be regulated they are required for the life of the driver. The government has now started a "STEP" project, Shore power Truck Electrification Project. Link: Smart power for trucks!
Please watch this video: Good for business, good for everyone!

STEP realized shore power is just a simple way America can save tremendous amounts of diesel fuel every year. Decreasing fuel demand and lowering costs of shipping America's products. STEP requires trucks, especially older trucks to be retrofitted with shore power kits. There are some free kits being provided at the STEP website. It also requires truck stops and waysides to provide electrical hook ups. While this is a smart start towards fuel consumption and pollution control, still another part of the same industry uses refrigeration trailers that need this technology as well. This is a business where innovation can create new business and jobs, that is a win, win for all sides.

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I'm always excited to hear and see your ideas. Together we will build a better world.