Designing green fire apparatus
Rosenbauer America seems to be the front runner in this new area, with the introduction of their Green Star Idle Reduction Technology
The term "green" is becoming more and more a buzzword around our environment these days. With oil and gas prices soaring around us and the United States trying to get away from dependence on foreign oil, it is no wonder that the apparatus industry has begun to realize the cost savings by designing greener fire trucks.
Rosenbauer America seems to be the front runner in this new area, with the introduction of their Green Star Idle Reduction Technology that seems to have been taking off in the past two years. Just what exactly does this new technology do for the fire apparatus industry and at what cost savings?
Rosenbauer's IRS (Idle Reduction System) uses electronic controls to shut down the chassis engine on scene when the fire pump is not engaged.
These electronic controls then start the diesel driven Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), which supports the 12-volt electrical system and provides a minimum of 8kw of 120/240 volt power.
The APU is also capable of maintaining the heating and air conditioning in the cab. The APU uses approximately one-fourth the fuel compared to the engine.
So what are the cost savings? You do the math: A normal diesel engine uses about 1.25 gallons of diesel fuel per hour by idling. Green Star uses 1 quart. It also reduces diesel exhaust bypassing the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), reducing service costs and replacement costs of the DPF itself.
What is also nice is that Green Star has fully integrated engine controls with hands-free operation. As the main chassis shuts down, the APU unit is remotely started. If needed, the controls will restart the main chassis engine to prevent low voltage problems.
In addition, Green Star can be retrofitted to most existing apparatus to make them green, but with certain restrictions regarding space and electrical requirements.
It seems to be a great idea and is sure to be an ever-growing trend within the fire service. Just think about how many times you may have one or more of your apparatus sitting idling on the fireground, doing nothing but wasting fuel. With this new technology you can definitely achieve cost savings with fuel consumption alone.
When beginning the spec writing process for a new piece of apparatus for your department, it's worth considering looking into this Green Star Technology and see if you save on fuel costs.