There’ll be no idle work for this fire truck.
The Kelowna Fire Department is the first in Canada to use a new fire engine that saves hundreds of litres of diesel fuel a year and reduces air pollution.
The new Rosenbauer fire truck was ordered with a system that allows fire crews to operate equipment powered by their truck, without needing to keep the truck idling to generate electricity.
This anti-idling technology uses a built-in 15-horsepower generator to run emergency lights and other electrical tools at non-fire emergencies without having to run the engine’s 485 horsepower motor.
“A fire engine can burn about four litres of fuel after an hour of idling,” said assistant fire chief Lou Wilde.
“The Green Star truck will use one litre of fuel while idling at non-fire emergencies, saving money and producing fewer harmful emissions.”
The truck’s main engine must run to pump water if it’s dousing a fire.
The installation of the anti-idling technology cost $7,000, which will be recovered in fuel savings within the first five to seven years. A typical fire engine will last 15 years.
“In addition to the fuel cost savings and the environmental advantages, the anti-idling technology reduces maintenance costs over the service life of the truck,” said Wilde.
“Because the engine is idling less often, the engine life is extended and things like the diesel particulate filter or air filters don’t need to be replaced as often.”
Some fire departments in the United States have started using Rosenbauer’s Green Star anti-idling technology. Wild says data and experience from those users convinced the KFD the $7,000 investment was worthwhile for economic and environmental reasons.
The fire department in Casper, Wyoming, has been measuring the anti-idling technology for more than a year. The department responded to 1,253 non-fire calls for service in 2010—slightly fewer than a typical year in Kelowna—and recorded a fuel savings of just under $2,000.
“This anti-idling technology is used on airplanes, ships and trains and it just made sense to adapt this for fire trucks, too,” said Darren Daviduck, of Rocky Mountain Phoenix, the Western Canada representative for Rosenbauer.
The City of Kelowna has an anti-idling policy for city vehicles, except for emergency vehicles.