Let’s face it every trucking company, distributor, army, or agency which has to move fuel, cargo, freight, people, or essentials from one place to another definitely needs fuel efficient transportation. And if you know much about aerodynamics once you get around 50 mph your co-efficient of drag curve goes hyperbolic. You need to have an aerodynamic truck and an aerodynamic trailer. But how can you design such a system without costing you space capacity or hampering your ease of use on the truck trailer?
Saving Fuel Using an Air Channeler Technique for Over the Road Trucks Considered
Not long ago, I had a discussion with Douglas Fairburn a supply chain innovator, inventor, and patent holder (US 6,561,575 B2 and US 6,692,066 B2) of the Air Channeler System, which redirects the air-pressure from the front of the trailer taking it through the trailer and distributing it out the back of the trailer where the slip-stream is chaotic and turbulent.
When discussion this with Douglas Fairburn he stated; “I designed an aerodynamic method of reducing the drag on tractors and trailers using ram air natural or passive base-bleed and have tried to introduce it to this industry for the last eight years.”
Very interesting I said and what have you found with regards to getting buyers of this product and innovation there in Texas where you have designed it? Douglas stated; “I have found that there has been more of a consensus to obtain political points and funding in this area than there is to provide a technically achievable solution to a problem that directly effects the environment and our natural resources.”
Fairburn suggests that “It’s all about reducing drag! Base-bleeding by natural ventilation uses the kinetic energy of the high pressure or wind resistance on the front or sides of a vehicle by directly connecting it to the low pressure area centrally located on the aft or rear of the vehicle via air channeling devices or venting tubes,” he goes on to state that; “Wind resistance and drag is reduced simultaneously as high pressure naturally seeks to equalize a low pressure region and as barometric pressure adjusts at the intake and outlet ends of the air channeling device, a global equalization of pressure around the surrounding surfaces of the vehicle is recognized.”
He tells me that by reducing the drag and wind at the same time it also improves handling, not to mention the significant gains in fuel mileage. And he has pictures to prove it on his website too. He stated that; “Base-bleeding by natural ventilation saves energy any time it is in motion as it requires no power sources, moving parts, preventive maintenance, driver intervention and does not interfere with loading dock or driving operations.”
But perhaps best of all he designed and innovated this system right here in the USA as he explains. The name of his company in San Antonio is “Truck It Services” and you can find them online. Just look up “Douglas Fairburn Truck it Services” and there is more explanation on the Internet. Now then, here is my take on Douglas’ innovation.
You see, I am the author of “Truck Technologies of the Future” and I agree with exactly what Douglas speaks of, in fact I dedicated an entire chapter to aerodynamics [if you look up my book online see page 118] to the topic of fuel economy. And, I’ve seen a couple of companies with cool designs and contemplated several myself actually; nothing compared to Douglas’ invention of course. I must say that I like his air-channeler concept, and note that this strategy is used on US Navy Attack Submarines, Russian high speed torpedo systems, and in aviation too. It is used in NASCAR, and Formula One Racing Cars. It makes perfect aerodynamic and fluid dynamic sense to me, or in any fluid whether under water, on top of the water, ground, or air.
Perhaps, Douglas ought to fill out the forms at the DOE, as there is money allotted for “exactly” what your designs promise! Maybe Fairburn could be the future, bettering the efforts of the Italian truck designer; Luigi Colani (what an interesting individual!). How about the military, convoy fuel is a real dilemma, they are into saving fuel big time, they have no choice, precious commodity.
Anyway, I can tell you this, I take many industry newsletters and have been VERY involved in the trucking industry TruckWashGuy [dot] com and RIGHT NOW, in the industry we have Swift going public, UPS blasting profits, and about half the trucking companies showing 40% + increases in revenues, as inventories are being replaced. Look at Werner this last quarter or FED EX outlook for the remainder of 2010.
Walmart needs this, look at their network, and FED EX ground. They have the money and know they need it. Also you have South Carolina busy building trucks, Eaton, Oshkosh, Volvo, Freightliner, etc, all taking orders for better and more fuel efficient trucks, and really it doesn’t matter if they are building hybrid diesel electric or all-electric, if they are traveling over 55 mph they need you to save “energy” not just fuel. And WHOOYAH! What about the China and India markets.
Should Douglas Fairburn worry about the oil companies shelving this technology? Ha ha ha, well come on Douglas, live for the challenge. We need to curb our appetite for oil, and transportation is a big chunk of it! Don’t worry, the oil industry will survive, they still have rail, shipping, personal cars, aviation, etc. Ha ha ha. Personally, I don’t give a darn about anything except winning, and to WIN, you must be efficient, waste is evil! As I watch this year’s Tour de France, I get it, aerodynamics matter! Douglas Fairburn is right – so go online and check out his website!
Meanwhile, let me leave the reader with these thoughts too: Air Channeler Concept is viable in many industries and subsectors, not just trucking – for instance;
Structures to divert high winds