In 2016, more than 493,600 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) were registered with the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport Great Britain (CSRGT GB), the body that measures the activity of GB-registered HGVs operating in the UK1. From October 2015 to September 20162, UK HGVs travelled more than 19 billion kilometres, which equates to more than 6.7 billion litres of diesel consumed, and more than 18 billion kgCO2e emitted3. Considering these figures, it is not surprising that this sector of transport has a significant impact on global warming in the UK, alongside the domestic, industrial and services sectors.
Understanding the theoretical energy balance and overall engine efficiency of an HGV can help to identify areas for improvement. For example, heat transfer modelling can be used to demonstrate the possible fuel savings and CO2 reductions as a result of improving aerodynamics. This data – often visually represented in a Sankey diagram – can form the basis of an evidence-based project plan to deliver improved efficiency and reduce energy loss.
Figure 1: The data-based energy balance for a specific, diesel HGV (left), with a breakdown of engine losses (right) 4.
(3) from GHG conversion factors 2016 report
(4) M.J. Abedin, H.H. Masjuki, M.A.Kalam, A.Sanjid, S.M.Ashrafur Rahman, B.M.Masum, Energy balance of internal combustion engines using alternative fuels. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2013, 26:20-33.