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The Log - issue two - CRC hybrid shunt truck at Sydney truck show

This modified shunt truck will be on show at the Sydney truck show

A shunt truck that has been purchased by the CRC for Forestry and modified by inventor Cliff Hall will feature at the Sydney truck show, 7-9 August. 

The diesel truck has been fitted with a supplementary electric motor at the front axle, which will power the vehicle at times of extra load – such as at start-up or going up hills – improving vehicle efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and prolonging the life of the conventional diesel motor .

Programme Three (Harvesting and Operations) members, Cliff and Timbercorp representatives have been working together during 2008 to purchase and modify the test vehicle. If the retrofit works effectively, Timbercorp will purchase the truck from the CRC and may apply the technology in an expanded truck fleet for use in the Green Triangle.

Cliff is expecting tests on the prototype to show cost and greenhouse gas emission reductions of 10 – 25 per cent.

Shunt trucks each use more than 80,000 litres of diesel per year at a cost of more than $112,000.

A conservative reduction in fuel use of 10 per cent due to the hybrid technology would equate to at least $11,200 and 21,600 kg carbon dioxide saved.

Cliff says that while the technology itself isn’t new, application in this way is novel.

“Hybrid cars have been around for a short while, but no-one thought to apply this to heavy vehicles until now,” Cliff says.

Shunt trucks are diesel-powered older trucks that are modified by the forest industry to move chip bins from the bush to the road in some forest operations, where the bins are then transferred to road trucks for longer-distance transportation.

Demand for shunt trucks will rise over the next few years as more plantations come online for harvesting. Before they can be used by the forest industry they are first modified from four-wheel drive to six-wheel drive, which is when the electric motor can be added.

The mining industry also has a high demand for the particular base truck that has traditionally been converted for use as a shunt truck and this competition drives up the price per vehicle and significantly reduces their availability. The conversion option being tested will increase the range of potential base trucks that can be adapted for use as a shunt truck.

Cliff says that once the prototype has been finalised and tested, retrofitting fleets of shunt trucks with electric motors should be possible at no additional cost.

The process of moving chip bins under considerable load to the bin transfer point and returning to the forest unladen is an ideal cycle to enable the use of electric power under load and the use of diesel power unladen. During the second part of the cycle, when diesel power takes over, the power source for the electric motor is recharged.

Cliff Hall and CRC Communications Manager Taylor Bildstein will be at a stall at the Sydney truck show to demonstrate how this has been done, with the example itself, painted in Timbercorp colours and with the CRC logo on the doors.

The CRC is also investigating the application of this technology for skidders and forwarders.

More information

Sydney Truck Show
Thursday 7 – Saturday 9 August 2008
The ‘Dome’ and Halls 2 & 3,
Homebush Exhibition Centre,
Sydney Olympic Park

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