Space age road tankers to lighten the load on emissions

A “game-changing” road train with tanks made from aerospace material will be deployed in Queensland in what creators say could significantly cut emissions.

Sydney-based Omni Tanker revealed it had teamed with a Queensland welding company to build a triple-tank road train that will be used by Townsville Logistics.

The company said the development of the lighter vehicle could pave the way for similar technology to be deployed in other countries.

The launch follows a push for more action to reduce emissions from heavy vehicles in Australia, including a review of electric and hydrogen truck size and weight limits in the country.

Omni Tanker chief executive Daniel Rodgers said it partnered with Mick Murray Welding in Townsville to create the three-tank road train capable of moving 98 tonnes of liquid in a single haul.

The company was able to achieve “game-changing liquid payloads” by cutting the weight of the tanks, he said, replacing steel with a carbon fibre composite.

“The tanks are fundamentally lighter than steel-based equivalents,” Mr Rodgers said.

“Greater payload in the tank means less overall trips and when you need less overall trips you use less overall fuel, you need less drivers.”

The company’s chief technical officer Luke Djukic said using aerospace materials boosted the new road train’s capacity by 15 per cent, while mould-in baffles were created to limit movement in the tanks for greater road safety.

“We’re talking about a payload uplift of 15 per cent which is really huge for the transport logistics sector,” he said.

“Typically, if you can get two or three per cent that’s a very big outcome but this has been significantly larger.”

The lighter tanks, Mr Djukic said, could be deployed in industries including mining, water treatment and chemical transport.

The first road tanker will be used by Townsville Logistics to transport sulphuric acid across northern Australia and the company’s baffle technology would be exported to North America and Europe, he said.

It comes as automotive groups push for changes to heavy vehicle transport in Australia.

A study by Adiona Tech found replacing 10 diesel delivery trucks with electric models equates to putting 56 electric cars on the road, and the logistics firm has called for the government to add provisions for freight vehicles to its National Electric Vehicle Strategy.

The Electric Vehicle Council, Australian Trucking Association, Heavy Vehicle Industry Association and Australian Hydrogen Council also joined to call for government to create a national truck strategy for low and zero-emission trucks.

The strategy should, they said, review maximum width and axle mass limits on trucks in Australia that prevented the use of many freight vehicles used in Europe and the US, and address refuelling and recharging infrastructure.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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