Super-sized wood chip vehicle reduces transports by 30 %
29 SEPTEMBER 2021
The longest and heaviest truck combination for regular delivery on European roads today is 34 meters long, with a total gross-weight (TGW) of 98 tons. This 12-axle combination sports a rigid Scania R 770, 8x4, and side-ways tipper bodies from OP Höglunds, moving wood chips from a train terminal, 20 km via the E20 highway to a power plant in Södertälje, Sweden.
In 2013 the local energy supplier in the Stockholm region, Söderenergi and transport company Foria started a development project to optimise transport efficiency and reduce CO2. Scania was invited as a trusted partner and supplier of high capacity vehicles and logistics know-how. They jointly designed this x-large truck and trailer combination. Invited was also Skogforsk, the central research body for the Swedish forestry sector, to have this operation scientifically documented.
“To constantly develop efficient and environmentally friendly transport, it is necessary to be at the forefront and strengthen our sustainability profile,” says Olle Ankarling, Logistics Manager at Söderenergi.
Growing step by step
And a bold idea it was, as the Swedish road authorities were not prepared to give a dispensation from the regulations, which at the time permitted 60 tons on public roads. In 2014 the project moved half a step towards the desired specification as a permit for a 25.25-meter combination with 9 axles and 74 tonnes was given, with a Scania R 730 at the front. This led to a 30 % improvement of transport capacity as well as 10% fuel reduction. Since it was fuelled with FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) and later with HVO (Hydro-treated vegetable oil) CO2 reductions were even larger. But the desired 98 tonner was yet out of reach.
In February 2020, after six years of transport, without any accidents or incidents, time was finally ripe for the 34 m. and 98 tons to hit the road. The new combination, extended with a link and a dolly between the R 730 truck and the trailer, were to follow the same route, with round-abouts and all. And it worked just as well – only with an additional 30 % capacity increase.
Smoother with new truck
In the spring of 2021, a new improvement step was taken, when a new truck with the even more efficient 770 was delivered. Power went up and fuel consumption dropped with the new V8.
Owe Lindkvist is sub-contractor to Foria and the owner of the new vehicle, running the daily wood waste route through sometimes dense traffic. He is really enthusiastic about the new truck:
“The new truck runs ridiculously smooth! I am not easily impressed, but this time the engineers at Scania deserves a real pat on the shoulder. It is so powerful, more stable with better traction and the driveability is amazing.”
Although this is a single-route study in Sweden the research results will be shared among scientists in an international context, comparing many variables impacting operations like this. Besides fuel consumption and vehicle size many other factors matter and are thoroughly measured, especially by Henrik von Hofsten, researcher at the Swedish forestry sector, Skogforsk. Among other tools he uses Scania’s Fleet Management System to follow vehicle performance and traffic behaviour. His measurements shows also that loading capacity is affected by factors, like the quality and humidity of the wood chips an shavings transported.
“The 98-tonner have performed flawlessly in traffic, which is crucial. But to optimise transport efficiency you also want to reach maximum filling rate as often as possible, which is not always the case. But taking all into account we still see better numbers with the 770 than the 730, both in performance and fuel consumption.”
Happily moving forward
The project participants are happy with the big improvements reached since the start, but not yet content. New plans are being drawn at Söderenergi. Ankarling again:
“Going from 60 tons to 98 we increased capacity with 70 % – and fossil free at that. Next step is to become emission free, with electric trucks. Negotiations with authorities and partners have already been initiated.”
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