Volvo Trucks North America received a contract from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to conduct full-scale over-the-road evaluations of a new technology designed to enhance trailer aerodynamics.

The project, sponsored by the Office of Heavy Vehicle Technologies of the U.S. Department of Energy, will help ORNL of Oak Ridge, Tenn., meet goals established by the DOE to increase the fuel efficiency of heavy vehicles while simultaneously reducing highway emissions.
In partnership with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and Great Dane Trailers, Volvo will use aerodynamic surfaces and a blower to create positive air pressure at the back of the trailer.
Testing is taking place at Volvo Trucks' Technical Center in Greensboro, N.C., and is scheduled to conclude by the summer of 2002.
"The new technology could certainly have a major impact on heavy-duty, over-the-road commercial vehicle fuel efficiency if it proves to be as successful as initial results have shown in small-scale wind tunnel R&D conducted to date by GTRI," said Skip Yeakel of Volvo Trucks' advanced engineering department.