Truckstop open house touts plug-in advantages

Truckstop open house touts plug-in advantages

Trucking and clean air aren’t usually associated, but plug-in power brought them together recently at Sapp Bros Travel Plaza in Omaha NE.

Truckers and the public saw how truckstop electrification contributes to a healthier environment at a two-day open house recently at the Sapp Bros location on Interstate 80 at Exit 440. Representatives from Shorepower Technologies, which installed 24 plug-in power pedestals at the site; Cascade Sierra Solutions (CSS), the non-profit administering the US Department of Energy grant; and industry vendors attended.

At Sapp Bros and a growing number of truckstops around the nation, truckers can plug into power connections similar to those available at RV parks and marinas.

By using 120- or 208-volt electricity, truckers can heat or cool their cabs and run appliances such as TV, microwave, and refrigerator at a fraction of the cost of idling their vehicles during mandatory rest stops. Sapp Bros is one of two truckstops in Nebraska to offer plug-in power.

When idling, truckers can burn up to a gallon of diesel fuel an hour. At recent prices of $4 a gallon, idling overnight can cost around $40 and is harder on the engine than when the truck is running on the road. By comparison, plugging in at a Shorepower power station costs $1 an hour.

Alan Bates, Shorepower vice-president of marketing, said, “By using shore power at truckstops to reduce idling, among other steps, trucking fleets can save 60% or more on energy costs.”

By reducing idling, truckers are helping improve air quality by decreasing emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter. By eliminating 1,600 hours of idling annually, a trucker prevents 9.7 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The Omaha truckstop is Sapp Bros’ first location to offer electrification. This site is one of 50 truckstops planned nationwide to get power pedestals in 2012 through the Shorepower Truckstop Electrification Project, a US Department of Energy program partnering Shorepower Technologies with CSS.

The Sapp Bros site also offers six 480-volt power pedestals for refrigerated trailer units.

“This is the first time an operator can take advantage of plugging in a refrigerated trailer away from their home terminal,” said Bates.

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