Ontario County’s Leonard’s Express has adopted a new green technology for its diesel trucks.
The SPI Exhaust Reaction System, or SPIER, was developed by Rochester native and retired General Motors Corp. engineering executive Jack Schickler. Schickler partnered with Leonard’s express and Regional International Truck and Trailer to invent the system that is based on altering the chemistry of combustion through the reuse of exhaust gases.
The system’s sustainability comes from reducing waste while cutting emissions and boosting fuel economy.
“The chemical engineering has created an energy release in the engine that has a potential 300-times that of normal combustion, and it’s all free and has always been there for us to employ,” said Schickler, of SPI.Systems.
Schickler also partnered with the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology for engineering trials. Leonard’s loaned trucks for testing at Regional International in Henrietta.
“Expanding the evaluation makes a lot of sense to us. We have been very impressed with the results in our initial pilot evaluation. Between the fuel savings and the maintenance reduction from the significant reduction in emissions, we fully expect to see the product pay for itself in under 18 months, and possibly under a year,” said Leonard’s CEO Ken Johnson.
Leonard’s operates more than 650 long-haul trucks nationwide and in Canada. Johnson also is very active in several state and national industry groups.
Jim Carello is a co-inventor of SPIER and is chairman of the Dealer Council for Navistar Inc.
“It’s been rewarding to see our joint testing efforts over the last two years result in such a great win for Rochester, with benefits to both the U.S. economy and the environment,” Carello said.
Testing and analysis at RIT showed an 18 percent fuel economy gain in highway testing of Class 8 trucks with the SPIER System installed, versus the baseline system, said Dan Smith, senior program manager at the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at RIT.
The New York State Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing at RIT is working with SPI to develop a lab-based “virtual truck” test system for optimizing the SPIER application to specific truck configurations.
In North America, diesel-powered trucks deliver more than 80 percent of commercial freight. More than 90 percent of the diesel fuel that is burned in the U.S. is done by truck and bus transportation.
“SPI.Systems foresees reducing that usage by over 15-20 percent, depending upon the application,” Schickler said.