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Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership Summary The amount of fuel consumed annually by heavy-duty trucks and buses has more than doubled over the past 35 years and now accounts for 21 percent of the total surface-transportation fuel used in the United States (DOE, EERE, 2005). Improving the fuel economy of trucks and reducing emissions to help meet environmental goals have become significant issues in the United States as well as in Europe and Asia. Worldwide oil consumption has risen rapidly in the past few years, mainly owing to rapid economic growth. This increased demand has resulted in a rapid rise in oil prices even though production capacity has kept pace with demand and is expected to exceed demand in 2009. With the United States being very dependent on imported oil, this increase in price has put a strain on the U.S. economy. As a consequence, the nation is pursuing alternative sources for fuel and attempting to increase efficiency in oil usage. The 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP), a cooperative research and development (R&D) partnership formed by four federal agencies with 15 industrial partners, was launched in the year 2000 with high hopes that it would dramatically advance the technologies used in trucks and buses, yielding a cleaner, safer, more efficient generation of vehicles. The Partnership was at first under the leadership of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD; specifically, the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research and Development Command). In November 2002, leadership of the Partnership passed from the Department of Defense to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Within DOE, the operational responsibility for the Partnership is assigned to the Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies, which organizes meetings and conference calls, maintains the information-flow infrastructure (such as Web sites and e-mail lists), and has led the discussions for and preparation of the updated version of the 2006 21CTP roadmap and technical white papers (DOE, 2006), which together lay out Partnership goals. The management of specific projects under the 21CTP umbrella rests with the individual federal agencies that have funded the work. These agencies use the 21CTP information-sharing infrastructure to coordinate efforts and ensure that valuable research results are communicated and that any overlap of activities is reduced. As described in the 21CTP roadmap and technical white papers, the general goal of the 21st Century Truck Partnership is to “reduce fuel usage and emissions while increasing heavy vehicle safety. The purpose of the Partnership is to support research, development, and demonstration that enable achieving these goals with commercially viable products and systems.” The vision of the Partnership is “that our nation’s trucks and buses will safely and cost-effectively move larger volumes of freight and greater numbers of passengers while emitting little or no pollution and dramatically reducing the dependency on foreign oil” (DOE, 2006, p. 1). In support of its general goal and vision, the Partnership carries out research in these areas of technology: Integrated vehicle systems for commercial and military trucks and buses; Engine-combustion, exhaust aftertreatment, fuels, and advanced materials to achieve higher efficiency and lower emissions; Heavy-duty hybrid propulsion systems; Reduction of parasitic losses to achieve significantly reduced energy consumption; Technologies to improve truck safety, resulting in the reduction of fatalities and injuries in truck-involved crashes; and Technologies that reduce energy consumption and exhaust emissions during idling. STATEMENT OF TASK In response to a request from the director of the DOE’s Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies, the National Research Council formed the Committee to Review the 21st Century Truck Partnership (see Appendix A for bio-
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Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership graphical information on committee members). The committee was asked to fulfill the following statement of task: The committee will conduct an independent review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership. In its review, the committee will critically examine and comment on the overall adequacy and balance of the 21st Century Truck Partnership to accomplish its goals, on progress in the program, and make recommendations, as appropriate, that the committee believes can improve the likelihood of the Partnership meeting its goals. In particular, the committee will: Review the high-level technical goals, targets, and timetables for R&D efforts, which address such areas as heavy vehicle systems; hybrid electric propulsion; advanced internal combustion engines (ICEs); and materials technologies. Review and evaluate progress and program directions since the inception of the Partnership toward meeting the Partnership’s technical goals, and examine ongoing research activities and their relevance to meeting the goals of the Partnership. Examine and comment on the overall balance and adequacy of the 21st Century Truck Partnership’s research effort, and the rate of progress, in light of the technical objectives and schedules for each of the major technology areas. Examine and comment, as necessary, on the appropriate role for federal involvement in the various technical areas under development. Examine and comment on the Partnership’s strategy for accomplishing its goals, which might include such issues as (a) program management and organization; (b) the process for setting milestones, research directions, and making Go/No Go decisions; (c) collaborative activities within DOE, other government agencies, the private sector, universities, and others; and (d) other topics that the committee finds important to comment on related to the success of the program to meet its technical goals. After examining the 21st Century Truck Partnership activities and receiving presentations from federal government representatives and industry representatives, and outside experts, as appropriate, the committee will write a report documenting its review of the Partnership with recommendations for improvement, as necessary. MAJOR FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The 21CTP has had a number of successful programs since its beginnings in 2000. These efforts are discussed in this report. The major findings relate to the most important aspects of the program and the recommendations to the highest-priority requirements for change. The committee’s findings and recommendations include 2 pairs of “overall,” or general, findings and recommendations and 13 pairs that are selected from individual Chapters 2 through 7, as the highest priority in those particular areas. The latter retain their original numbering to help the reader gain context by going to the original discussions. Overall Report Finding 1-1. The key benefit of the 21CTP is the coordination of research programs directed toward the goal of reducing fuel usage and emissions while increasing heavy vehicle safety. Federal involvement is bringing stakeholders to the table and accelerating the pace of development. Very few U.S. manufacturers of trucks and buses or heavy-duty vehicle components have the R&D resources to develop new technologies individually. Thus, the 21CTP is giving some of those companies access to extraordinary expertise and equipment in federal laboratories, in addition to seed funding that draws financial commitment from the companies to push forward in new technology areas. The Partnership provides the United States with a forum in which the various agencies, in combination with industry and academia, can better coordinate their programs. Research funding of the 21CTP has been declining steadily in recent years, and this decline is threatening the attainment of program goals. The current level is not in proportion to the importance of the goal of reducing fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles. Overall Report Recommendation 1-1. The 21st Century Truck Partnership should be continued, but the future program should be revised and better balanced based on the recommendations of this report. In addition, more manufacturers should be recruited as participants, such as the major truck manufacturers and suppliers that are not in the Partnership. Research funding should be commensurate with well-formulated goals that are strategic to reducing fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles while improving safety. The 21CTP should also conduct an assessment of heavy-truck research activities overseas and determine if any changes in the future program would be appropriate based on foreign programs. Overall Report Finding 1-2. Many of the program goals were not met, because some of the goals were not plausible, from either an engineering or a funding perspective. Other goals were not met because some of the technologies proposed for meeting the goals were not applied. Notable failures of that kind are discussed in Chapter 3, under the headings “Goal of Thermal Efficiency of 55 Percent” and “Goals Involving Fuels.” Overall Report Recommendation 1-2. A clearer goal-setting strategy should be developed, and the goals should be clearly stated in measurable engineering terms and reviewed periodically so as to be based on the available funds.
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Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership Management Strategy and Priority Setting Finding 2-1. The 21CTP is operated as a virtual network of agencies and government laboratories, with an unwieldy structure and budgetary process. Agency personnel meet frequently and industry partners meet periodically for limited sharing and communication. This has been the extent of the coordination. Both government agencies and industry partners, per their remarks to the committee, have found the arrangement less than effective. The program was most productive when a full-time person from industry was assigned to coordinate the cross-agency efforts. Oversight of the 21CTP is provided through an Executive Committee with representation from DOE, DOT (the U.S. Department of Transportation), EPA (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), DOD, and the industry partners. Although that committee lacks authority to make cross-agency decisions and implement firm actions, it has been most effective when chaired by a full-time executive. This seemed to be an effective measure to ensure cooperation among agencies and address program challenges. Recommendation 2-1. A full-time, technically capable leader with consensus-building skills should be appointed to coordinate the 21CTP program among industry partners and government agencies. This person could chair the Executive Committee and would be authorized to make recommendations to the committee on behalf of the entire program on stopping or redirecting existing research, on setting research priorities, and on future funding levels. Finding 2-2. As confirmed in meetings with the DOE and other agencies, there is no single source of funds for the 21CTP, as perhaps intended by its creators. Instead, each of the four agencies has its own stream of funds. DOE, DOT, DOD, and EPA budget and optimize funding based on their own priorities. In addition, they maintain funding to companies with multiyear cooperative agreements. Thus, managing the 21CTP program and projects across multiple agencies has been challenging, and there have been difficulties in setting program priorities, especially in aligning budgets to programmatic requirements. A result has been difficulty in balancing between near- and long-term projects and setting appropriate metrics and measures. In addition, variation in funding levels from year to year has diminished the impact of project achievements and results and reduced the probability of success and commercialization. The result of this complexity and lack of transparency is that some federal funds were spent by industry partners and by other federal agencies in ways that cannot be accounted for in the funding structure by fiscal year. Recommendation 2-2. A portfolio management process that sets priorities and aligns budgets among the agencies and industrial partners is recommended. A proposed table of project priorities (Figure 2-5) would provide an objective way of ranking research and development projects according to their expected outcomes. This could evolve into a budgeting process that ensures support for programs of merit beyond a single year. Precompetitive, collaborative technology and concept development could receive proper focus for successful programs. Engine Systems and Fuels Finding 3-1. Although DOE has concluded that the 50 percent thermal efficiency goal has been achieved, the experimental test results show that none of the industry partners achieved the goal of 50 percent thermal efficiency at 2010 emissions standards with a complete engine system. Each partner either failed to test a complete engine system on an engine dynamometer and used analysis to project results or failed to achieve 50 percent thermal efficiency at 2010 emissions standards with a complete system. Details of the analytical projections were proprietary and were not provided to the committee. Moreover, the work that was accomplished was at the intrinsically more efficient peak torque condition rather than at an engine speed and load representative of 65 mile per hour (mph) road load. Recommendation 3-1. Objective and consistent criteria should be used to assess the success or failure of achieving a key goal of the 21CTP such as the attainment of 50 percent thermal efficiency. Detailed periodic technical reviews of progress against the program plan should be conducted so that deficiencies can be identified early and corrective actions implemented to ensure success in accomplishing program goals. DOE should continue to work toward demonstrating 50 percent thermal efficiency at the peak efficiency condition as well as at a representative 65-mph road load engine speed and torque condition. DOE should also consider reducing the number of industry contracts on specific engine projects that are funded so that only the engine systems most likely to meet the goal, based on system modeling and analytical projections, will be developed and tested experimentally. Finding 3-8. DOE is shifting prematurely to component research to support the 2013 stretch goal of 55 percent thermal efficiency before completely demonstrating the earlier 2010 goal of 50 percent. Importantly, after analyzing the results of the lengthy and extensive efforts carried out in the area of low-temperature combustion (LTC), it is considered unlikely that this technology will be a successful enabler of the 55 percent stretch goal at any time in the near term because it cannot be adequately controlled over the full range of operating conditions of heavy-duty engines and has not demonstrated inherent fuel-consumption advantages. Based on the open literature, the chances for success of LTC as a practical technology appear limited.
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Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership Recommendation 3-8. DOE should complete the demonstration of the 50 percent thermal efficiency goal before embarking on the 55 percent goal. With respect to ongoing work on low-temperature combustion, DOE should objectively analyze the potential viability of this combustion concept for heavy-duty engine applications, recognizing the many issues that would need to be resolved to achieve commercial viability. Finding 3-13. It is unlikely that the goal of identifying and validating nonpetroleum fuel formulations, optimized for use in advanced combustion engines, will be achieved by 2010. DOE’s nonpetroleum fuels effort is focused on resolving biodiesel operational issues and commercialization barriers, but DOE did not provide a timetable for successful resolution of these efforts. DOE is also investigating oil sands and shale oil as other sources of petroleum fuel replacement. DOE did not present a plan for 5 percent replacement of petroleum fuels. The Renewable Fuels Standard of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is likely to have a role in accelerating the availability of nonpetroleum fuels. Recommendation 3-13. DOE should continue to work with biodiesel developers and users to ensure compatibility when biodiesel is blended with conventional diesel fuel and problem-free use of biodiesel fuels in diesel engines. Successful deployment will require resolving operational issues and updating the biofuel specifications. Development of refining technology to make acceptable diesel from shale oil or tar sands is not high-risk research suitable for federal funding and should be left to the private sector. DOE should develop specific plans, including key actions and timetables, for 5 percent replacement of petroleum fuels. Heavy-Duty Hybrid Vehicles Finding 4-1. Challenges with lithium-ion anode/cathode materials and chemical stability under high power conditions will likely preclude achieving the 15-year durability targets by 2012. Recommendation 4-1. Much closer interaction between military and commercial suppliers is recommended to identify the highest-priority areas for further research in an attempt to expedite the development of commercially viable battery or battery/ultracapacitor systems that can accomplish the unique high-power needs of heavy-duty vehicles. Finding 4-6. R&D on heavy-duty hybrid trucks and buses has demonstrated significant progress, achieving 35 to 47 percent fuel economy improvements in hybrid-electric delivery vans and urban buses, with specialized applications and the hydraulic hybrid delivery van in the 50 to 70 percent range (60 percent is the present 21CTP target). Commercial success has already been achieved with hybrid electric urban buses, albeit with major governmental subsidies. Despite the promising progress, significant hurdles still remain to achieving the fuel economy improvement targets for a broader range of heavy-duty hybrid vehicle (HHV) applications, reducing the cost, and improving HHV reliability sufficiently to achieve broader commercial success. In addition, there are opportunities for achieving significant system-level improvements that would make HHVs more attractive to original equipment manufacturers and users, such as the merging of hybrid propulsion and idle reduction features, including start-stop operation and creeping under all-electric power. Recommendation 4-6. Development and demonstration of heavy-duty hybrid truck technology should be continued as part of the 21CTP program in order to reduce barriers to commercialization. These development projects should include efforts to capitalize on opportunities for system-level improvements made possible by HHV technology in order to extract the maximum possible value from any new hybridized propulsion equipment that is installed in future trucks and buses. Finding 4-7. Progress in the development of HHV technology under the 21CTP program has been hindered by the decision to focus on component-level technology rather than systems. Successful development and commercialization of HHV technology require coordinated, customized development of the combustion engine, electrical/hydraulic drive equipment, mechanical powertrain, and controls as components of an integrated system, in order to realize its full potential. In addition, the coordination of HHV project activities among the 21CTP’s federal partners (DOD, EPA, and DOE) has not matched the level achieved in other 21CTP programs such as nighttime idle reduction, making it more difficult to achieve ambitious HHV technology targets. Recommendation 4-7. Coordination of all 21CTP heavy-duty hybrid truck development and demonstration activities should be strengthened across components, programs, and agencies to maximize the system benefits of this technology and to accelerate its successful deployment in commercial trucks and buses. In addition to improved cross-agency coordination, HHV stakeholder-based organizations including the Validation Working Group and the Hybrid Truck Users Forum should be engaged more aggressively to assist in identifying and overcoming key hurdles to the successful commercialization of HHV technology. Finding 4-8. Emissions of heavy-duty trucks are currently measured and certified by EPA for each engine type rather than for any truck as a complete unit. Current procedures do not allow either the fuel economy or emissions of complete hybrid propulsion systems to be certified, and so neither the fuel economy improvements nor emissions reductions of hybrid trucks are appropriately recognized. Prior to mid-
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Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership 2007, these procedures served as deterrents to commercialization of HHV technology since there was no practical way for truck purchasers to derive any direct tax credits for buying hybrid trucks as called for in the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, which expires in 2009. Developing the necessary test procedures is expected to be a complex and lengthy process, and EPA has not been able to devote sufficient resources to developing such procedures in a timely manner.1 Recommendation 4-8. Since tax credits for hybrid trucks established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 expire at the end of 2009, and there are not established engineering test procedures, DOE should work with EPA and stakeholders to accelerate the development of fuel economy and emissions certification procedures for heavy-duty hybrid vehicles so that the actual benefits of hybridization can be recognized and rewarded to further encourage commercial adoption. Parasitic Losses of Energy Finding 5-1. The More Electric Truck program demonstrated an integrated system to reduce idling emissions and fuel consumption. The test program showed significant progress toward achieving the objectives of both Goal 2 in Chapter 5 (“Develop and demonstrate technologies that reduce essential auxiliary loads by 50 percent, from the current 20 hp to 10 hp, for Class 8 tractor-trailers”) and Goal 6 in Chapter 6 (“Produce by 2012 a truck with a fully integrated idling-reduction system to reduce component duplication, weight, and cost”). It did so by demonstrating 1 to 2 percent estimated reduction in fuel use including significant truck idling reductions. According to DOE, this translates into an overall annual fuel savings for the U.S. fleet of 710 million to 824 million gallons of diesel fuel (about $2 billion per year at $2.75 per gallon). Recommendation 5-1. Given the potential of this program to save fuel, the committee recommends that the 21CTP continue the R&D of the identified system components that will provide additional improvements in idle reduction and parasitic losses related to engine components that are more efficient and provide better control of energy use. The program should focus also on the cost-effectiveness of the technologies. Engine Idle Reduction Finding 6-1. Idle reduction is one of the most effective ways to reduce pollutant emissions (especially locally) and improve fuel economy. As a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the authority for this effort now rests with EPA and DOT. Several important lines of research are carried on in the 21CTP. In addition, the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership voluntary program is effective at promoting the use of electrified parking spaces. The 21CTP, in cooperation with several major shippers, has demonstrated a number of cost-effective technologies (such as fuel-fired cab heaters and coolers) that are being used by existing fleets. (One fleet is installing more than 6,000 heaters, and another is installing more than 7,000.) One trucking company reported that diesel-fired heaters provided 2.4 percent fuel savings and a payback in less than 2 years at $2.40 per gallon. Recommendation 6-1. The 21CTP should continue to support R&D for the technologies that reduce idle time and address the remaining technical challenges (including California emission requirements, completely integrated APU/HVAC [auxiliary power unit/heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning] systems, and creep devices). Safety of Heavy Vehicles Finding 7-1. The DOE program director of the 21st Century Truck Partnership has no direct authority for heavy-duty truck safety projects because there is no budget in the program itself to support safety projects. The program manager will need to continue to work with DOT, because DOT has several initiatives with the goal of making improvements in heavy-duty truck safety. They range from driver education to accident avoidance technology. However, the committee was unable to determine whether the goals would be met as a result of these initiatives. Recommendation 7-1. DOT should develop a complete and comprehensive list of current and planned heavy-duty truck safety projects and initiatives, and prioritize them in order of potential benefit in reducing heavy-duty truck-related fatalities. The list should provide quantitative projections of fatality reduction potential attributable to each project. The list should also be used to prioritize budget and resource allocations, in order to expedite heavy-duty truck safety progress. Finding 7-2. Programs are underway to develop and implement technologies and vehicle systems to support safety goals. Indeed, private industry, through internal research and commercial product development, has produced commercially available systems for enhanced braking, roll stability, and lane departure warning. They are beginning to be used in the field. It is now important to determine to what extent these accident avoidance technologies will reduce the number of accidents and therefore fatalities and injuries. Recommendation 7-2. DOT should continue programs in support of heavy-duty truck onboard safety systems, with an emphasis on accident avoidance and with priorities set 1 Note added in proof—Currently, EPA is developing a procedure to directly measure fuel economy and emissions of complete heavy-duty vehicles, including hybrids.
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Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership by a comprehensive potential cost/benefit analysis (Recommendation 7-1). Particular emphasis should be placed on monitoring the accident experience of heavy-duty trucks as these systems begin to be deployed in the field (for example, as electronic stability control systems begin to penetrate the fleet). It is the role of the manufacturers to develop safety systems for commercial application. DOT can play important roles in (1) providing support for field tests (known to DOT as field operational tests), (2) monitoring field data to help substantiate benefit analyses used to prioritize resources, and (3) implementing regulations that would require the adoption of safety systems that were proved to be effective. With adequate field data, DOT should refine and more rigorously specify and prioritize goals for accident avoidance technologies. REFERENCES DOE (U.S. Department of Energy), EERE (Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy). 2005. Transportation Energy Data Book, 25th ed. Chapter 2. Washington, D.C.: DOE, EERE. Available at http://cta.ornl.gov/data/chapter2.shtml. Accessed May 12, 2008. DOE. 2006. 21st Century Truck Partnership Roadmap and Technical White Papers. Doc. No. 21CTP-003. Washington, D.C. December.