Richmond, CA – With funding provided by the California Energy Commission, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has demonstrated a hybrid wheel loader, a piece of equipment widely used in the construction,refuse, and agricultural industries, that achieved a 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. The announcement was made at the Redwood Landfill in Novato, California, where the prototype had been operated and tested by Waste Management Inc.
In contrast to a standard wheel loader which uses a 13 liter engine,comparable to one used to power a big rig truck, the Volvo CE prototype was powered by a combination of a much smaller 3 liter engine, batteries, and an electric motor. CALSTART, a non-profit clean transportation technology industry organization, conducted independent testing of the prototype and confirmed the 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency on average.
This advanced technology development and testing program was funded by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC’s) Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The CEC program provides funding to help both develop next generation transportation technology components and vehicles, as well as speed the deployment of lower carbon transportation product available today. Volvo provided matching funds for this technology demonstration project.
“It’s impressive that Volvo CE was able to demonstrate a 50 percent improvement with this hybrid wheel loader prototype. This project is a major step toward the use of hybrid systems in the non-road vehicle sector,” said CALSTART President and CEO, John Boesel.
Waste Management Inc. was an integral partner in the project, operating the advanced prototype at landfills both in Northern and Southern California.The feedback provided by the Waste Management Inc. operators will help Volvo CE improve the product and develop a second generation version.
The engine in the prototype hybrid wheel loader used 100 percent renewable diesel which was supplied by Golden Gate Petroleum. Renewable diesel uses organic feed stock and has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil diesel.
“One of the things we learned from this project is that a hybrid wheel loader can run on a fuel that is 100 percent renewable. When you combine the increased efficiency with the lower carbon fuel, it’s quite possible than in the future we could see such equipment that cut greenhouse gas emissions in half” said Boesel.
“California Energy Commission funding was critical to this project’s success. The funding provided by this agency is helping to put California on a path toward a sustainable transportation future,” said Boesel.