Duke's truck-stop electrification project could mean big fuel savings
- Duke Energy's plan to provide 24 "truck electrification stations" could help save 25,000 gallons of fuel each year, the utility said last week.
- The project stems from a 2015 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups in which Duke agreed to pay an almost $1 million fine and spend spend more than $4 million on environmental projects.
- The plug-in stations would allow long-haul truckers to run heat or air conditioning at night when many sleep in their trucks, typically idling the engine for climate control for the driver and cargo.
Duke's announcement last week—that it will provide plug-in locations at the Big Boy's Truck Stop in Johnston County, North Carolina — is a reminder of how much energy a stand-alone project can help save (and how freight moves around the country).
More than 2 billion gallons of diesel fuel are wasted each year by overnight idling, according to a study from Argonne National Labs. Idling is the "industry standard method," Duke explained, of providing overnight comfort to more than 1 million drivers.
In addition to providing electricity for hot or cold air overnight, the project will provide standby power for refrigerated cargo to avoid the need to run diesel compressors. Tennessee-based IdleAir will install and maintain the stations, which are expected to be complete before this summer.
"The economic and environmental aspects of the projects are terrific. It allows drivers to use technology to lower their own carbon footprint in the course of their daily work that benefits our environment," Duke Vice President Melisa Johns said in a statement.
The utility estimates that the project should reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by almost 500 tons and reduce volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 2 tons.
The News & Observer points out that the project is a part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, related to coal-fired power plant pollution violations.
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