Bio-SNG could cut carbon

A new report says that a mixture of bio-gas and synthetic natural gas could play a more effective role in cutting transport carbon emissions.  The snappily-named North East Process Industry Cluster (or Nepic), Centrica and the National Grid commissioned a study to look at the use of Bio-SNG.  This suggests that “green natural gas”, a mix of bio-gas and SNG might be delivered via the gas grid for both transport and heating use.  The gas uses methane from “sustainable” volumes of biomass mixed with synthetic or substitute natural gas, sometimes produced from coal or lignite.
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Chapter 8 Hi-Vis livery from Tevo

Modular van racking systems firm Tevo now offers high-visibility livery for vans working on highways, meeting the UK Department for Transport’s DfT Chapter 8 guidelines.  The firm says its liveries are guaranteed not to crack or lift and the company says they’re up to nine times more visible than conventional retro-reflective film.  Fleets and van owners can choose to have liveries fitted at Tevo’s workshops, fitted at their own premises by a mobile Tevo technician, or buy an easy self-apply pack and fit it themselves.
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Big fleet success for Safetytrim

Safetytrimworldwide says Lafarge, Sainsbury’s, Balfour Beatty and Volvo Trucks have all bought its wheel nut management systems recently, fitting these to vans, trucks and trailers.  The firm says it is the only system on the market that shows when a nut is loose and then holds it in place until it can be re-tightened.  There is one, tough and heat-resistant plastic unit per wheel, fitting tightly over all the nuts at once.  “It looks like a wheel trim but with an indicator to show if a nut has begun to loosen,” says the firm’s Philip Aerts.  Each unit can be easily removed and refitted in a workshop. “The system is unique in that it not only flags up a problem but also stops it from getting worse,” says Aerts.  It cuts wheel losses from vans, trucks, trailers and buses.
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Gold for Tructyre

Winchester-based Tructyre Fleet Management Ltd just won a Gold Award from Bandvulc Tyre Contracts in its annual Service assessments for 2010.  The award recognised a range of service quality measures.  Tructyre Fleet Management is one of the south’s largest independent service firms, with some 50 service vehicles covering 7,800 sq miles from the Hampshire coast to Banbury.  Tructyre and Bandvulc have shared a working partnership for the past 12 years.  Bandvulc’s Tyre Support Unit works 24/7 managing tyre breakdowns or day to day service on customer vehicles and delivers an average breakdown response time of one hour.
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EU website for energy efficient vehicles

The European Commission has launched a website to help public authorities and consumers choose the best available energy-efficient vehicle.  The Clean Vehicle Portal at aims to support a new directive promoting clean and energy efficient vehicles.  This means all public transport services must now take into account energy use, CO2 and pollutant emissions when buying new vehicles.  The site says it gives information on legislation and technical data in the largest vehicle database in Europe.  So far its advice seems confined to some cars and vans, minibuses and buses.  The Clean Vehicle Portal was developed and managed by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation.  Clearly its operators have some work still to do.
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And finally

New Scientist’s Feedback page says that a friend, Ralph Clague, was waiting for a delayed train to London somewhere in deepest south Bedfordshire when he noted the arrival on platform one of a paradox. The delay gave him plenty of time to ponder whether 2,500 years of philosophy had equipped us to ascertain whether the message presented to him was true or false: an information screen was informing him that “The information screens may be showing wrong information at present.” Ralph’s train was not late enough for him to arrive at a definitive answer.
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Low-cost hybrid system wins award

The Flybus consortium, led by traction drive specialist Torotrak plc, is one of six winners in this year’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Technology Challenge.  The other winners are: Hardstaff Group, Somi Trailers, Mira, Zeta Automotive and RDS Europe.  The Flybus system uses a low-cost, flywheel-based system to capture braking energy and release up to 100Kw to help the vehicle accelerate.  This can cut fuel use and emissions by some 20% in stop-start work.  Torotrak says there are more than 100,000 buses and over 600,000 medium and heavy trucks that could be retrofitted to gain big fuel and emission savings.  The unit is also smaller, lighter and cheaper than battery-based hybrids.  The other consortium members are Allison, Optare, Mira and Ricardo.
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Ceva UK launches an Automotive Forum

Ceva Logistics will sponsor an Automotive Forum to “stimulate informed debate” about the challenges to the automotive industry and its aftermarket, after the recession.  The Centre for Automotive Management at the University of Buckingham will run the independent forum.  “We wanted to develop a forum that focused specifically on the aftermarket sector,” explains David Jackman, Ceva’s vice automotive president in the UK and Ireland.  Jackman says that most of the conferences he’s been to looked at factory supply and car transport with little on the aftermarket, in spite of its importance to the bottom line.  “We wanted informed debate, backed by research and I think we’ve found that by working with Professor Peter Cooke and the University of Buckingham.”
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Fleets should lead EV adoption

North America’s Fleet Owner magazine reports that FedEx chairman Fredrick Smith thinks fleets could have 200,000 electric vehicles in service by 2015.  This would give the volume to bring down prices and make electric vehicles “broadly practical,” according to a new report from US Electrification Coalition, a group started in 2009 to promote development of electric vehicles.  “With advances in battery technology promising to cut initial capital costs for EVs, fleet operating characteristics could offer “per-mile costs that are 70% to 80% less than current [internal combustion vehicle] costs,” said Smith.
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Wilcox wins Logistics and Transport Journalist of the Year

David Wilcox has won the title Logistics and Transport Journalist of the Year in the annual awards scheme run by the UK’s 20,000-member Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.  HRH The Princess Royal presented the award to Wilcox at the CILT (UK) 2010 awards ceremony in London in October.  He is editor of Commercial Vehicle Engineer, the online monthly for transport engineers and fleet managers, available at  Wilcox’s winning entry included incisive coverage of Vosa’s controversial creation of “authorised testing facilities” and a piece showing how van buyers can be misled by the load volumes quoted by manufacturers.
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