Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Revolutionary Green Technology Bus Has DOE Roots

30.07.2008
Insight from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, commitment from two Michigan companies and funding from the Department of Energy have led to the commercialization of a lightweight urban transit bus with double the fuel efficiency of conventional hybrid buses.

This new green technology 40-foot bus features a high-strength stainless steel body and chassis and a hybrid power system that drives the bus primarily with stored electrical energy. This approach reverses the paradigm of conventional parallel hybrid designs that use electric energy only to supplement the acceleration and torque requirements of a diesel engine.

At the heart of the bus is a chassis made of Nitronic 30, a nitrogen-strengthened stainless steel that is stronger and stiffer than conventional steel. These attributes translate into less material required for a chassis, resulting in reduced weight.

“Nitronic stainless steel is incredibly durable and enables our chassis designs to have significantly longer service life vs. ordinary steel vehicles,” said Bruce Emmons, president of Autokinetics (http://www.autokinetics.com/) of Rochester, Mich., which developed the bus. “The fact that stainless is also 100 percent recyclable and more environmentally friendly to produce than aluminum makes this an ideal green raw material for vehicle structures.”

Additional advantages of Nitronic 30 include excellent mechanical properties at sub-zero and elevated temperatures along with low-temperature impact resistance and superb resistance to high-temperature oxidation. While this material is more costly than conventional steel, Emmons noted that the additional cost is offset by design innovation, parts consolidation and streamlined manufacturing processes.

“The benefits of improved strength-to-weight performance quickly compound to all other vehicles systems such as smaller tires, lighter brakes, batteries, motors and so on,” Emmons said. “By optimizing the total vehicle we have been able to cut the weight almost in half, which has led to performance improvements, most notably fuel economy gains.”

In addition to its reduced weight and hybrid power system, the bus will incorporate a number of advanced design features and advantages, said Gregory Fisher, chief executive officer of Fisher Coachworks (http://www.fishercoachworks.com/), which licensed the technology, has produced a prototype and plans full commercialization. The bus made its debut today and deliveries of the bus are expected to begin in 2009.

Some of the advantages are improved vehicle safety for passengers, lower cost, reduced noise and improved ride dynamics. The major advantage, though, will be in cost to operate, according to Fisher.

Specific contributions from ORNL included computer crash studies and infrared thermal imaging to evaluate the quality of some of the initial laser welds in the structure. Early tests showed some problems with the laser welding technique, so Autokinetics chose to use resistance spot welding in most places and tungsten inert gas welding for the remainder of the joining needs.

But even before its technical contributions, Emmons said ORNL had a huge impact.

“ORNL was the first to suggest the possibility of applying Autokinetics’ light-weighting ideas and technologies to the bus field,” Emmons said. “Without that insight, this program would never have happened.”

Phil Sklad of ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division served as the program manager and technical monitor and noted that DOE’s $2.5 million investment in this project is being rewarded with a revolutionary bus.

“This is a perfect example of how the Department of Energy, a national laboratory and the private sector can collaborate to produce something that is potentially of great value to society,” Sklad said.

Fisher Coachworks, located in Troy, Mich., is planning to use this patented technology for transit buses and other commercial vehicle market segments that would benefit from vastly improved fuel economy in urban stop and start applications. Fisher Coachworks was formed in 2007 to focus on production of advanced hybrids using an ultra-lightweight stainless steel unibody construction.

Funding for this project was provided by DOE’s Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program. UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy.

Ron Walli | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ornl.gov/

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Laser rescue system for serious accidents
29.11.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

nachricht Bremen University students reach the final at robotics competition with parcel delivery robot
19.10.2016 | BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>