Collaboration aids Surrey’s environmental goals
Erik Kjeang, 778.782.8791; firstname.lastname@example.org (best reached via email)
Syed Ahmed, email@example.com
Rob Costanzo, 604.590.7287; RACostanzo@surrey.ca
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017/4323; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
A new waste disposal program launched today by the city of Surrey is
designed to improve environmental responsibility – that also applies to
the fleet of trucks that will carry out the program, thanks in part to
Simon Fraser University researchers.
City staff and SFU Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) researchers
collaborated on a study in 2009 of the environmental impact of the
city’s fleet of diesel waste disposal trucks, comparing them with
alternative CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles. The researchers used
real-time operational data provided by the city and an established
Canadian life cycle analysis tool called GHGenius.
The measurements consider everything from a vehicle’s production and operation to its disposal and recycling.
The SFU researchers, led by professors Erik Kjeang and Kourosh Malek,
found while there was no net energy savings in replacing the fleet,
improved cost effectiveness could be factored into a 24 per cent
reduction in greenhouse gas and further reductions in CAC (Criteria Air
Contaminants) emissions, which include a variety of pollutants that
could affect health, leading to associated costs.
A manuscript based on the study has recently been accepted for publication in the international journal Energy Policy.
Having used the SFU findings to aid their decision to replace the
waste disposal diesel fleet, city staff members are continuing
collaborations with SFU to analyse their full fleet. This time they are
using a customized life cycle analysis (LCA) tool produced by the SFU
researchers, including MSE post-doc fellows Syed Ahmed and Mehdi
Shahraeeni and undergraduate student Peter Johnston.
“After the initial study we wanted to create a model that would tell
us as widely as possible the impact of all of the city’s vehicles, to
produce a comprehensive understanding of how they could best meet the
city’s needs and environmental goals,” says Kjeang.
The team is working on an “alpha” version of the online tool, with
funding from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), MITACS
and the City of Surrey. They hope to enable it to solve more
sophisticated algorithms related to emission effects and lifecycle cost.
The tool specializes in assessment of alternative, low-carbon emission
vehicles such as CNG, electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
“The new tool will combine a diverse set of operational and
techno-economic attributes for fleet management that none of the
existing LCA tools can provide alone,” says Malek.
Adds Kjeang: “The goal is to provide the City of Surrey staff with
the underlying scientific knowledge and numerical algorithms so they can
plug in their own data and determine their own results.”
The SFU team is collaborating with the city on other longer-term
projects, including the potential development of alternative fuel
sources such as biomethane. Their tool is expected to play a role in
predicting the benefits of such fuel options.
Rob Costanzo, deputy manager of operations for the city’s engineering
department, says the researchers’ input has helped city engineers
substantively in their decision-making.
“It has been extremely beneficial to involve academia as we address
issues of environmental responsibility,” says Costanzo. “The SFU
researchers are a natural fit to join forces with our engineering
department and we anticipate much more to come from our collaborative
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