EPA Tests Hydraulic-Hybrid Technology at Ports

U.S. EPA (Washington) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson recently announced a project to test new technology on large equipment used to move product from ships to trucks.

Called “yard hostlers,” these heavy-duty diesel machines contribute to air pollution generated in ports, according to the EPA.

The government agency said hydraulic-hybrid technology, currently being tested in UPS vehicles, is being prepared for use in yard hostlers. EPA has already provided $205,000 to fund the initiative, which also involves the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, A.P.M. Terminals, Kalmar Industries, Parker Hannifin Corp. and the Port of Rotterdam.

The yard hostlers will have hydraulic-hybrid powertrain systems that can generate, recover, store and reuse braking power with little resulting air pollution, the EPA reported. The powertrain systems provide power to the drive axles, while hydraulic tanks, rather than batteries, store energy. As with other hybrid systems, energy saved when applying the brakes is reused to help accelerate the vehicle, said the EPA.

The agency claimed the hydraulic-hybrid technology will improve fuel efficiency of the yard tractors by 50% to 60%, reduce or eliminate emissions during idling and decrease brake wear. Additionally, the technology is easy to implement because it requires no major changes to a vehicle’s operating system or fueling requirements, according to EPA.

“EPA and our partners are working together to ensure that America’s ports become harbors of clean air,” said Johnson. “Together, we are moving breakthroughs in hybrid technology from the labs to the docks, improving air quality while saving fuel. This technology is good for our environment, good for our economy, and good for our nation’s energy security.”

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