South Carolina-based BMI Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a simple set of aerodynamic fairings that reduce fuel consumption of long-haul semi trucks by up to 12 percent. The aerospace-inspired add-ons, which BMI calls the SmartTruck UnderTray System, include five individual components that work in harmony to reduce the drag coefficient of tractor trailers. Specifically, the aero add-ons reduce the low pressure area that forms behind a truck.

What's the point of all this? Well, BMI claims its SmartTruck UnderTray System could lower a truck's drag coefficient from 0.6 down to 0.35, reducing diesel fuel consumption by 1.5 billion gallons annually – if all 1.3 million (Class 8) long-haul semi trucks on U.S. roads were outfitted with BMI's drag-reducing setup.

BMI's fuel-saving SmartTruck UnderTray components can either be applied at the OEM level or retrofitted to existing semi trucks and BMI says the aero system saves so much fuel that it pays for itself in less than 18 months.

[Source: TreeHugger, BMI Corporation]

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