Science - Written by on August 22, 2013

Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility User Update: SmartTruck Systems

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Supercomputing simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory enabled SmartTruck Systems engineers to develop the UnderTray System, some components of which are shown here. The system dramatically reduces drag—and increases fuel mileage—in long-haul trucks. Image credit: Michael Matheson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Supercomputing simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory enabled SmartTruck Systems engineers to develop the UnderTray System, some components of which are shown here. The system dramatically reduces drag—and increases fuel mileage—in long-haul trucks.
Image credit: Michael Matheson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Startup zooms to success improving fuel efficiency of long-haul trucks by more than 10 percent

Since 2011 SmartTruck Systems of Greenville, S.C., has sold more than 25,000 UnderTray Systems to trucking fleets in North America. The award-winning, Environmental Protection Agency-certified UnderTray Systems are trailer add-on components that improve highway fuel efficiency by more than 10 percent and save an estimated $5,000 annually in fuel costs per truck.

SmartTruck engineers used the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration application code to study airflow around long-haul trucks and optimize add-on parts that dramatically reduce drag. The simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory reduced the time from concept to manufacture-ready design from 3 years to 18 months.

With an estimated 1.3 million Class 8 long-haul trucks in the United States alone, prospects are bright for the company, which has doubled in size each year since 2011, currently employs more than 25 workers throughout the U.S. and works with materials suppliers nationwide. UnderTray Systems have a quick payback period and a favorable return on investment, so fleets have strong incentive to upgrade trailers with the components, which are manufactured entirely in the USA and are 100 percent recyclable.

“If all of the 1.3 million Class 8 trucks in the country were configured with just the minimum package of new components, the U.S. could annually save almost 1.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel, reduce CO2 by 16.5 million tons and save more than $6 billion in fuel costs,” says SmartTruck’s Chief Scientist Mike Henderson.