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Truck Stop Electrification

Carbon markets provide the framework to accelerate real-world reductions in greenhouse gases (GHG) from a critical segment of U.S. freight transportation - long-haul trucking.

Drivers of long-haul trucks are required by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration to park and rest after a certain amount of over-the-road drive time. These layovers and rest periods typically occur at truck stops and rest areas, and increasingly at distributions centers, parking lots, interstate roadways, and onramps. During the time when drivers rest, they often idle their engines in order to maintain a comfortable temperature and to sustain vehicle battery charge and power electronics and appliances such as televisions, laptops and microwaves. Although idling occurs year-round, it peaks in extreme temperatures when air conditioning and heating are more critical.

Truck idling produces harmful emissions that potentially affect the health of people in adjacent areas, as truck stops are often located nearby neighborhoods and congested areas. These emissions include criterion emissions (NOx, VOC, PM, & CO) monitored and regulated by the EPA because of the hazards they present to human health. In addition, over 90% of the emissions from idling trucks is carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas (GHG) that contributes to climate change.

Argonne National Laboratory estimates that U.S. drivers idle for approximately 2,100 hours per year on average. Applied to the estimated 680,000 long-haul drivers nationwide, idling accounts for nearly 11.5 million tons of GHG emitted annually. Based upon a 2011 analysis by ICF International, the potential GHG reductions by expanding TSE infrastructure and reducing idling presents a significant opportunity for CO2 abatement in the U.S., which could amount to nearly 4.1 million tons of reductions annually.

Truck Stop Electrification Technology – How it works

Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) technology, such as offered by IdleAir, enables drivers to be more mindful of the environment while enjoying better sleep without the noise, vibration, and exhaust fumes from idling. Using IdleAir is simple. First, a driver finds an IdleAir location, pulls into a parking space, and installs the reusable plastic window adapter -- which is the only retrofit necessary. This adaptor easily accepts the IdleAir unit that includes a HVAC air vent, TV, power outlets, internet and credit card reader. At this point, the driver can shut off his engine and begin using IdleAir's services.

The Benefits

TSE such as IdleAir enables American energy independence by using homegrown electric power from domestic resources. IdleAir recently began integrating renewable energy into facilities by installing solar PV panels on the overhead trusses. Solar panels will not only provide zero emission electricity to replace idling, they also shade the trucks which further reduces the total cooling energy needed.

In addition to the immediate and direct GHG emission reductions, TSE provides other social, environmental and health benefits for customers and the local community. With IdleAir, truck stop communities enjoy cleaner air with the reduction of black carbon and soot that emit from diesel engines, reduced noise pollution, local job creation, and an increased tax base for the local economy. And drivers benefit from improved sleeping conditions and are better rested and safer on the road.

Carbon Market and TSE

Despite the numerous benefits of using TSE technology, the up-front installation costs have hindered widespread expansion. Currently, less than 1% of all extended truck parking spaces are equipped with TSE.

Carbon markets provide the opportunity to incentivize the TSE technology and fund new sites by providing a path to monetization of these environmental benefits. To date, IdleAir has registered over 600,000 tons of verified GHG emissions reductions and avoided the use of 60 million gallons of diesel fuel.

Organizations that have supported IdleAir through offset retirements include on behalf of Virgin America and The Clinton Global Initiative.

For more information, contact IdleAir CEO Ethan Garber at