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SQUEEKY2's avatar

What would be an equal alternative to the diesel engine in transport trucks?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (6699 points ) February 19th, 2014

In passenger vehicles, solar, electric, could be used but what about the transport industry, with the loads we haul and the distance we travel what would work to fit that need?
Remember you have to keep the weight down on the truck so we can haul more pay load thus keeping the shipping costs down as well.

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14 Answers

ucme's avatar

Really, really, really, really, really strong ostriches, a whole team of them would get up enough speed…eventually.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I don’t think so ,think of the mess they would leave on the road, and the feed you would have to carry just to keep them going, nice try though.

ucme's avatar

You make a valid point, their puny necks would most likely prove a fatal flaw in strong crosswinds too, ah well, it looked good on the box.

Cruiser's avatar

There is none. No other form of B2B transportation can beat the performance and cost standards that the diesel powered vehicle. They are reliable, relatively low maintenance, last hundreds of thousands of miles and strong like bull.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Cruiser so whats the answer? just better pollution control equipment installed on the big rigs?

jerv's avatar

Until battery technology advances greatly, nothing. Electric engines have the torque (more than diesels), but they need the electrical power, and batteries are heavy.

FYI, most trains are dieselectric; they use electric drive motors powered by a diesel generator instead of a battery.

Cruiser's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 There are 2 really BIG problems that need solving before this whole just in time delivery of goods and services grinds to a serious halt and one is repair out transportation infrastructure. I was on a bridge repair project that the site engineer said he would not feel safe driving on it while we stood under it with Chicago rush hour traffic buzzed away overhead. That is one of thousands of bridges and highway that are years overdue for repair. Obama’s shovel ready program was a drop in the bucket to address what roads and highways that still need to be repaired in a serious way. Secondly is innovation…creating the opportunity companies are aching for and that is incentives to know they can invest in new technologies with support from the Government that will help them and not hinder their implementation.

We will need a leader with a vision that will crystallize this need to change now so we do not find ourselves held prisoner to old broken down systems that will soon fail us in catastrophic ways if we continue to ignore this reality.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser Considering the fun we had a few months ago when a bridge on I-5 collapsed, I wholeheartedly agree on your first point.

As for your second, Chevron holds a particular patent (large-format NiMH, like the Rav4 EV used; cheaper and more durable than the lithium packs current EVs are forced to use) that has stifled things pretty badly, proving that greed is worse than government sometimes. How much would it cost taxpayers to give Chevron incentive to not sit on that patent? Multiply that by how many others are profiting from lack of innovation, and we’re talking major money.. or a dramatic overhaul of how business does business. Our entire system is flawed, so your recommendation would be merely a good start.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv I can’t tie a neat bow over this connection but I find it extremely interesting that Chevron has been the driving force behind build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. I always say follow the money and my bet/guess Chevorn has more to gain pumping cheap oil through Afghanistan than investing billions in a technology that they don’t have a monopoly in place. So again follow the money and I would expect to find Chevron is gaming the system to stifle battery innovation so their pipeline finally becomes reality. There is not enough money to thwart the direction a company like Chevron has it sights set. Do I need to mention the legions of Countries, Congressmen and corporations they have in their clutches to ensure their will??

ucme's avatar

Cow shit is technically workable but very expensive, I kid you not.

Buttonstc's avatar

Here’s what Willie Nelson is using for his tour buses and equipment trucks on the road. And he’s not the only one.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/30/business/30biowillie.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
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And for those who don’t want to bother with registering for the NYT site (free).
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http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/articles/8452/biowillie-branding-marks-willie-nelsons-79th-birthday
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And if I lived in a warmer state, I would be running my vehicle on filtered W V O (Waste Vegetable Oil) and there are people who are doing precisely that. It sure beats the high cost of gas since its free. And this country sure isn’t lacking for fast food fry places.

jerv's avatar

@Buttonstc Precisely why it’s hard to find an older VW diesel for a decent price. Unlike the new ones, the old ones are cheap and simple to convert to WVO, so there’s a demand for them driving up the price.

Buttonstc's avatar

Exactly. And I would imagine the same to be true for any diesel autos in general.

The conversion can’t be done cost effectively on anything other than a Diesel engine (if it can be done at all). I

A few years ago, in Philly, one of the papers did a fairly lengthy story about a woman in W. Philly who bought and converted an old school bus and ran it on WVO.

When I was considering moving to Va. instead of Mi. I was looking around for one of those short buses as it would be a lot easier to drive and park than the full length one.

But running on WVO in a Northern state, for me, is just more trouble than its worth unfortunately.

But there are plenty of people using this as a fuel source and some even to heat their houses. When I first found out about it several years ago, I was really excited about it. But then I did a lot of research on precisely what is required to use WVO and the reality is a bit more daunting.

But I don’t know why this isn’t being done on a massive scale with biodiesel considering all the govt. folks flapping their gums about the necessity of finding alternative energy sources. I’m pretty sure that the restaurants of the King, the Clown and The Colonel alone (not to mention all the other fryers) can provide more than enough WVO to convert to biodiesel enough for the whole country.

A few years ago I saw a doc about Brazil using Switchgrass to convert to biodiesel and approx 50% of cars there running on biodiesel.

But I’m sure the gas companies in the US have something to say about that. I’m sure they’re not eager to go down the road toward obsolescence :)

SQUEEKY2's avatar

There is a trucking company here in B.C Canada that is running a large part of their fleet on LNG ,BUT those trucks are on a set run cause a big problem is fuel capacity,you can’t just get it everywhere like you can diesel ,and those truck were an extra $80,000 each, but the fuel for them is 55cents a liter, compared to a $1.35.

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