At the 2010 Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis this week, two manufacturers will introduce emergency apparatus with technology designed to help keep the atmosphere clean and save fuel.
HME Ahrens-Fox will introduce the nation’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) powered emergency response vehicle, and Rosenbauer America will introduce its Green Star idle reduction technology, designed to reduce diesel emissions by shutting off the engines of apparatus at idle.
HME’s new apparatus is powered by a proven Cummins Westport engine, a power source found in more than 20,000 heavy-duty service vehicles worldwide.
The engine, which is installed in HME Ahrens-Fox’s so-called Rapid Attack Truck “RAT” apparatus, is an 8.9 liter, 320-hp unit producing 1,000-foot torque. That is sufficient to power up to a 1,500-gpm fire pump.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2010 emission requirements can be met by the CNG engine without Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems that are required on diesel engines. Its exhaust system is comprised of a simple, three-way catalyst that meets the EPA useful-life requirement and is maintenance-free.
“Not only are we introducing a vehicle specifically tailored for the high-frequency EMS, rescue and fire runs that dominate the fire service today, but now we can fulfill our mission in a highly environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner,” said Dave Fornell, HME’s director of marketing.
Fornell also commented that the new apparatus has “great acceleration” and is extremely quiet compared to a diesel engine.
The uniquely decorated “green” apparatus to be unveiled at FDIC this week has a 500-gallon tank, a 750-gpm pump, hydraulic generator and a foam system, with a stainless steel high-cubic footage rescue-style body, mounted on a HME SFO compact chassis.
Also on the floor will be an apparatus from Rosenbauer America that has a small generator-style diesel engine, designed to fire when the apparatus is at idle, and shut off the apparatus’ engine thereby significantly reducing diesel emissions.
Called Green Star, the Rosenbauer apparatus is equipped with an auxiliary power unit (APU) and is designed to save thousands in fuel costs and reduce emissions.
According to Rosenbauer, the fire service in the United States has significantly changed over the years and fire departments now respond to fewer fires, but more medical calls, hazmat calls, and other emergencies where the apparatus idle from 10 to 40 minutes on average.
During that time, the engines are consuming fuel and producing more emissions than required to keep lights, communications and other NFPA-required components functioning.
So, Rosenbauer came up with a way to have the apparatus automatically switch to the APU system and shut off the diesel guzzling, emission belching apparatus power plant.
A big-block diesel-powered engine found in many apparatus consumes fuel at the rate of 1 gallon per hour at idle, while the APU system burns fuel at the rate of one quart per hour, a savings of up to 75 percent, Rosenbauer said.
By shutting off the main engine, fire departments can not only save fuel, but can save on diesel particulate filters and components and emission system maintenance, according to the manufacturer.
The company has built in overrides which prevent the APU system from activating until the apparatus is parked with the parking brake set. Also, the APU cannot shut off the main apparatus engine while the fire pump is engaged.
Rosenbauer says its APU system can also work as a gen-set to power scene lighting and all other electrical components required at a typical fire scene. There is no need for a secondary generator for those components and the APU gen-set can be started from inside the cabin or at the pump control, as customarily found on apparatus equipped with generators. Therefore, the APU Green Star adds very little cost to apparatus that have generators specified.