Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just in Time for Earth Day

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced today another step toward environmentally-friendly shipping with the delivery of one of the first-ever Peterbilt Hybrid tractors. Traditionally, ground-based shipping is one of the least environmentally friendly aspects of operation in the brewing industry. The shipping trucks use enormous amounts of fossil fuels and have historically contributed high emissions output. This step into hybrid trucking should reduce consumption of petroleum-based fuel as well as slashing the emission footprint.

The Peterbilt Model 330 Hybrid Tractor is the ideal vehicle for short-haul pickup and delivery. When the diesel engine is combined with the Hybrid drive unit, the power is increased to 320 HP and a torque limited to 860 ft-lbs torque. The engine features a regenerative braking system, similar to that in popular hybrid passenger car designs. During braking, the driveline turns the motor/generator, which slows the vehicle to produce electricity and charge the hybrid system batteries.

The central feature of the Hybrid electric technology is an energy storage device—The Power Electric Carrier (or PEC), which includes a pair of lithium ion batteries. The batteries and related controls are efficiently housed in an enclosure that is roughly the size of two small suitcases. The batteries, compared to other battery technology, feature high-energy density, small size, and light weight. The lithium ion batteries used for this system weigh approximately 110 lbs and are equivalent to the energy produced with 1,900 lbs of conventional lead acid batteries. The complete PEC package includes two lithium ion batteries, electronics, and the housing—weighing approximately 220 lbs.

In 2008, the California Air resources Board required heavy-duty diesel trucks to have added controls or auxiliary equipment to reduce emissions during idling. The Peterbilt 330 Hybrid tractor complies with any and all of the stringent emissions requirements and is certified as a “Clean Idle” vehicle.

In addition to the new hybrid tractor, Sierra Nevada is focusing on making all areas of their shipping more sustainable. The brewery is using intermodal transportation, rail delivery of raw material, on-site manufacture of bio-diesel, and exploring efficiency upgrades in our existing fleet of trucks.

Cheers to Earth Day!

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