Seattle firm helps truckers burn less fuel
If it's permeating even old-school industries like trucking, the clean-energy movement must be gaining steam.
A Seattle firm zoomed past $6 million in sales this year by fitting plastic panels under big trucks to make them more aerodynamic. With new federal fuel-efficiency regulations barreling down the road, big growth seems likely for the firm.
The panels, known as fairings, were invented by Sean Graham, president of Freight Wing Inc. The retrofit boosts trucks' fuel efficiency by up to 7.45 percent as measured by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has kicked in $875,000 to prove the concept.
"As an aerodynamics engineer, you’re looking at these giant boxes rolling down the highway," Graham said. "It's just natural to think that there must be a better way."
Freight Wing’s growth also provides a good example of how energy innovations can spread up and down the local economy. The six-person Seattle firm recently hooked up with Tacoma trucking giant Interstate Distributor Co. and the Pacific NW Pollution Prevention Center to install the panels into more than 2,000 of Interstate’s trucks.
"We knew the product and we knew that there were advantages, both environmental and financial," said Lee Owens, senior vice president of maintenance and facilities for Interstate Distributor.
The project is partially funded by the EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant under a cost-sharing program to help fleets cut emissions.
Read the full story in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
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