Supply Chain Technology Doesn’t Always Mean TMS Software

The Supply Chain Collaborator blog habitually points out examples of how technology is used to improve the transportation portion of the supply chain.  Typically, we like to focus on automation software technologies like TMS and freight/route optimizer software as prime examples of transformative transportation technology (try saying that 5 times, fast).  Today’s post though shines a light on another innovative technology promoting more highly efficient utilization of transportation resources.

Did you know that the auxiliary power units or APUs used to cool or heat the cabins of long-haul semi truckers burn more than a billion gallons of diesel fuel each year?  Simply running the climate controlling APU while they sleep adds billions of dollars a year to the cost of shipping; not to mention additional pollutants to the atmosphere.

Enter engineers/inventors from a company called EnerMotion who determined that the energy from the nearly 700°F exhaust produced by a semi tractors’ engines could be captured and used to run APUs without using any fuel at all.  Their project, still under development has shown promising results.  Their prototype APU stores between 6 and 10 hours worth of energy for cabin heating or cooling each hour the truck is driving.  EnerMotion projects their APU could cut truck fuel consumption by nearly 10 percent and reduce carbon emissions by 20 tons a year.

This month’s issue of Popular Science has the details on how this amazing new technology works.  Just goes to show that using technology to foster collaboration throughout the supply chain improves the efficiency of transportation at every level – from the routing and rate efficiency provided by TMS and related software, to the systems being developed to use less and cleaner fuels.