E-commerce fueling pollution, but hybrid trucks could cut emissions

November 9, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – E-commerce holiday shopping might contribute to air pollution due to increased trucking, but perfecting hybrid trucks could help control emissions and cut fuel consumption in half.

"Buses and trucks, particularly vehicles used to transport goods, represent a huge percentage of global fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions," said Gregory Shaver, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. "Growth in e-commerce is one phenomenon leading to significant increases in the number of trucks needed to transport goods."

The U.S. annual e-commerce spending grew dramatically in 2010, adding to increasing fuel consumption for commercial vehicles, he said.

The United States is the world's largest oil user, consuming nearly 20.7 million barrels per day. U.S. consumption is expected to grow moderately, but consumption in developing countries is expected to skyrocket in coming years. China consumes about 7.6 million barrels per day, and the rate is expected to grow at 9 percent annually.

"This trend in China is due in large part to the increased use of commercial vehicles," said Shaver, principal investigator of a new center aimed at reducing fuel consumption for commercial vehicles by perfecting hybrid technologies for the world's burgeoning bus and truck fleets.

The new Hoosier Heavy Hybrid Center of Excellence (H3CoE) is funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Graduate Automotive Technology Education initiative. Shaver co-directs the center with Maryam Saeedifard, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

A news release about the research is available at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/111017ShaverHybrids.html

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Source: Gregory M. Shaver, (765) 494-9342, gshaver@ecn.purdue.edu

                Maryam Saeedifard, 765-49-44272, maryam@ecn.purdue.edu