Garbage Truck Recycled With Electric Power
The Greenwich trials will test the viability of the technology and make the economic case for repowering heavy commercial vehicles. The prototype will be tested alongside the existing refuse fleet, managed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Refuse trucks operate in largely residential areas, with their diesel engines in constant use 14 hours per day, gulping 60 - 200 l/100 km, having emissions that include nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (THC and NMHC) and particulate matter (PM), which is essentially soot. By replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor, the eRCV produces zero-emissions in operation. It also greatly reduces noise pollution – a significant issue for urban residents. It is estimated that the repowering modification will double the vehicle’s operational life, extending it to 14 years, and generate a lifetime cost saving of up to £300,000 ($520,000) compared to a Euro 5 or older diesel-powered model.
The trial marks the culmination of a year long technical development by a consortium comprised of Magtec, a UK technology firm specializing in the electrification of vehicles, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and its urban innovation agency, DG Cities. The project was part funded by Innovate UK, the Government’s research and development lead.
The eRCV project anticipates both growing demand for refuse vehicles and new air quality legislation that will affect 60,000 vehicles in London.
From April 8, 2019, Central London will become an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Vehicles entering the area will need to meet tighter emission standards of 80 mg/km or pay a daily charge. In addition, from October 26, 2020, vehicles over 3.5 t will need to meet the ULEZ standard across Greater London. Vehicles operated by local authorities will not be exempt.
Due to regeneration and increased recycling by residents and businesses, local authorities are also experiencing growing demand on refuse services, with the Society for Motor Manufacturers citing a national increase in registrations of new Refuse Collection Vehicles of 20% from 2016-2017.
The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change predicts average fuel prices to increase by more than 22% from 2012-2030, prompting a case study of one company which estimated they could produce savings of up to 100,000 l/day of fuel if they were to repower their fleet of 800 vehicles. These fuel savings would result in significant financial savings for waste management authorities.
Magtec replaced the diesel engine and associated components of a Mercedes Econic vehicle with an electric drivetrain, designed and manufactured in the UK. The company also replaced the engine-driven hydraulic system, which drives the refuse compaction and bin lift systems, with an electric-powered system that is more efficient and quieter.
With its varied and complex urban setting, Greenwich is the ideal place to test the vehicle. The project supports Greenwich Council’s commitment to improving air quality as is demonstrated by the authority’s release of the Greener Greenwich Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan in 2016.
“This is a UK first, and demonstrates Magtec’s commitment to innovation. Repowering a heavy goods vehicle with our electronic drivetrain not only extends its life, it also removes both noise and urban pollution,” said Simon Buckley, Magtec Program director.
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