It's Still Garbage, But At Least It's a Hybrid!
Hybrid garbage trucks are a lot like solar powered trash compactors: namely, somewhat ironic. Still, the fact of the matter is that garbage trucks are big, heavy and, for the foreseeable future, going to continue hauling our garbage away (never mind that, as William McDonough often points out, away has "gone away"). These trucks almost always run on diesel and, aside from their greenhouse gas implications, also contribute to poor air quality in communities. Seattle has begun addressing the emissions from their garbage truck fleet by using ultra-low sulphur diesel and a B20 blend of biodiesel, as well as by retrofitting the trucks to improve emissions controls.
Now Volvo has gotten into the hybrid craze by launching "two hybrid refuse trucks into trials in regular daily operations in Sweden." More on how they work after the fold. The truck will feature a "7-liter (320 hp / 238 kW) diesel [engine] with a 120 kW motor" and will make use of lithium-ion batteries. Here's how it all works:
The hybrid system supports all-electric drive for moving off from standstill and for acceleration up to 20 kph (12 mph). At higher speeds, the diesel engine is activated. When the truck stops, the diesel engine automatically switches off, avoiding unnecessary idling. The batteries are recharged via regenerative braking.
The hybrid refuse trucks are expected to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% and thus cut carbon dioxide emissions by a corresponding amount. The truck with the extra battery pack for the refuse compactor is expected to produce reductions of up to 30%.
Not bad. And besides, there's no reason why a hybrid dump truck can't also be used as a hybrid recycling truck.
See Also: ::Is Clean Diesel the Way to Go?, ::Diesel Hybrid Pickup Coming to the U.S., ::Mercedes-Benz to Produce Hybrid with Lithium Ion Battery, ::Hyundai to Mass-Produce Hybrids in 2009, Starting with Elantra Hybrid, ::Volkswagen to Introduce 70 MPG Diesel-Electric Hybrid Golf, and ::The TH Interview: Allen Schaeffer, Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director