Electric garbage truck is powered by garbage
February 5, 2009 Mr. Fusion it ain't, but in what is believed to be a world first, a small town in the UK has debuted an electric municipal garbage truck that's powered by the garbage it collects. Kirklees council has deployed a modified Ford Transit with a 40kWh lithium-ion battery pack as its first silent garbage truck - and the trash it collects is burned back at the Energy from Waste center, generating enough energy to recharge the truck's batteries and pump another ten megawatts back into the power grid.
The British town of Huddersfield may be the first in the world to have a fully electric garbage truck, let alone one that is powered by its own garbage. The truck is a 3.5-tonne Ford Transit that has been retro-fitted with a 40kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving it a top speed of 50mph and a range of around 100 miles, which is more than enough to make the rounds of the 25 new "split bins" around town.
Back at the plant, much of the garbage is burned in an electricity generator. Around 10 megawatts per day is returned to the national power grid, and the council have installed a charging station for the van to hook up with overnight for a full 6-8 hour charge. Sensible thinking!
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While I am a big fan of using garbage for electricity, I am a bigger fan of hydraulic hybrids for large vehicles. The hydraulic system is the store of energy, instead of batteries. In the life cycle of the vehicle, its a lot easier, cleaner, and cheaper to dispose of hydraulic fluid than Li-ion battery.
I read a great article about this titled "Big Green Trucks" found at http://economicefficiency.blogspot.com/2008/12/big-green-trucks.html
In either case, improving the efficiency of large vehicles is going to make a significant improvement in air quality.