More than 40 representatives from transit agencies across the state toured the Environmental and Emissions Research Facility (EERF) on Friday, December 16. For many of the transit agency representatives, it was an introduction to TTI’s one-year-old facility.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Maintenance Vice President Michael Hubble said the EERF could help his agency accurately determine what impact electrically driven air conditioners and cooling fans for radiators have on bus emissions. In an effort to save on fuel costs, DART recently purchased a fleet of 459 busses with air conditioners that aren’t tied to the bus engine; instead, they’re powered by a separate on-board electrical system.
“What emissions benefit there is for the new busses we don’t know for sure,” Hubble said. “A lab like this one has not been available in Texas before.”
After fielding numerous questions from transit agencies about the lab’s testing capabilities, Associate Research Specialist Jeremy Johnson and Assistant Research Scientist Doh-Won Lee answered many detailed questions and assured the group that “anything you can measure on the bus, we can build into a testing plan. Whether it’s for an A/C test or idling emissions analysis, we can incorporate that into the test.”
The EERF is designed for a wide range of testing, including engine emissions and fuel consumption, the infiltration of pollutants into vehicles, onboard technologies — even the absorption of emissions by plant materials.
Head of the Environment and Air Quality Division Joe Zietsman told the group, “The plan is to add a movable heavy-duty chassis dynamometer for the EERF. This will make it possible for a large vehicle like a bus to be driven inside the chamber, significantly expanding the testing capabilities of the facility.”
The group was also able to view a crash test and had lunch at the Gibb Gilchrest Research Building. Executive Agency Director Katie Turnbullprovided an overview of TTI, and Associate Research Scientist John Overman and Assistant Transportation Researcher Matt Sandidge provided an over of a research project, conducted by TTI for Houston Metro and Capital Metro, examining life-cycle costs for CNG transit fleets. Also,Transit Mobility Program Manager Linda Cherrington moderated a discussion of transit maintenance research needs. Participants agreed they would like to meet on a regular basis at TTI to share ideas.
For more information, visit the EERF website.