Making Driving Less of a Drag
Computation excels at building effective multidisciplinary teams that connect our own skilled researchers with experts in government, academia, and private industry to perform compelling applied research. For one recent effort, aimed at reducing our nation’s dependency on fossil fuels, LLNL computational experts teamed with Navistar, Inc., NASA’s Ames Research Center, and the U.S. Air Force to develop and test devices for reducing the aerodynamic drag of semitrucks. The devices were designed by considering the tractor and trailer as an integrated system and taking into account operational requirements. If these straightforward devices were applied across the U.S. trucking fleet, they would increase fuel efficiency by as much as 12 percent and could prevent 36 million tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere annually—approximately the same amount of CO2 that is emitted from four gigawatt-scale power plants every year.