Long-Haul Truck Sleeper Heating Load Reduction Package for Rest Period Idling: Preprint

Jason Lustbader, Bidzina Kekelia, Jeff Tomerlin, Cory Kreutzer, Steve Adelman, Skip Yeakel, Zhiming Luo, John Zehme

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Annual fuel use for sleeper cab truck rest period idling is estimated at 667 million gallons in the United States, or 6.8% of long-haul truck fuel use. Truck idling during a rest period represents zero freight efficiency and is largely done to supply accessory power for climate conditioning of the cab. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's CoolCab project aims to reduce heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) loads and resulting fuel use from rest period idling by working closely with industry to design efficient long-haul truck thermal management systems while maintaining occupant comfort. Enhancing the thermal performance of cab/sleepers will enable smaller, lighter, and more cost-effective idle reduction solutions. In addition, if the fuel savings provide a one- to three-year payback period, fleet owners will be economically motivated to incorporate them. For candidate idle reduction technologies to be implemented by original equipment manufacturers and fleets, their effectiveness must be quantified. To address this need, several promising candidate technologies were evaluated through experimentation and modeling to determine their effectiveness in reducing rest period HVAC loads. Load reduction strategies were grouped into the focus areas of solar envelope, occupant environment, conductive pathways, and efficient equipment. Technologies in each of these focus areas were investigated in collaboration with industry partners. The most promising of these technologies were then combined with the goal of exceeding a 30% reduction in HVAC loads. These technologies included 'ultra-white' paint, advanced insulation, and advanced curtain design. Previous testing showed more than a 35.7% reduction in air conditioning loads. This paper describes the overall heat transfer coefficient testing of this advanced load reduction technology package that showed more than a 43% reduction in heating load. Adding an additional layer of advanced insulation with a reflective barrier to the thermal load reduction package resulted in a 53.3% reduction in the overall heat transfer coefficient.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2016
EventSAE 2016 World Congress & Exhibition - Detroit, Michigan
Duration: 12 Apr 201614 Apr 2016


ConferenceSAE 2016 World Congress & Exhibition
CityDetroit, Michigan

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-65442


  • CoolCab
  • fuel efficiency
  • load reduction
  • rest period idling
  • thermal load
  • thermal management
  • truck idling


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