Transport & Energy

2016-2017 Projects

Click on each title below for project details

Forest Operations Energy Intensity Reduction

Given the instability in fuel prices, FPAC’s “30 by 30 Climate Change Challenge”, and the Vision 2020 goal to minimize the industry’s carbon footprint, forest companies must reduce their consumption of diesel fuel during logging operations and during the delivery of fibre to mills. This is an important objective for all forest operations and it applies equally to off-road machines and trucks. Forest companies require a program of targeted fuel studies to identify operating techniques and technology that can reduce fuel consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), and increase overall productivity. The goal is to lower the overall energy intensity or litres of fuel burned to deliver raw products to mills (L/m³ or L/t). As well, contractors and operators want to confirm that the technologies being proposed actually do offer fuel savings, and to know which operating techniques can achieve efficiency improvements. The results from these studies will be disseminated to members through reports, online multimedia newsletters, and Forest Operations and Trucking Efficiency workshops. Technologies and techniques that are applicable to the widest ranges of operations across Canada will be prioritized. An issue that has surfaced in the last year from industry and the provinces is how to properly evaluate and/or account for the GHG or carbon footprint of operations. With renewed commitments to reduction of GHG emissions, provinces want to be able to judge the effectiveness of programs and incentives that they will be putting forward. With the requirements in some provinces for companies to report on their carbon footprint or carbon credits, members are looking for tools and guidance. As such, FPI will be using the information collected over the years on energy intensities of forest operations (which can be directly linked to GHG per tonne delivered to the mill) as well as the impact of fuel reduction strategies to develop such tools.

  • To study and identify techniques and technology that can reduce energy used per unit of production, which is also known as energy intensity (L/t, L/m3). Techniques that reduce fuel at the expense of productivity or vice versa are not the objective.
  • To effectively transfer the knowledge gained in EI reduction activities through workshops, electronic multimedia tools, and implementation activities so our members and their contractors can improve their energy intensity and reduce their GHG emissions.
  • To develop tools that can industry properly account for and report on their GHG reduction efforts and carbon footprint, and that can help governments judge the effectiveness of their programs.

Forestry Transportation Safety

The level of hazards associated with forestry transportation is extremely high. The FPI T&E group is focused on ensuring the safety and reducing the hazards faced by truck drivers and the public travelling on Canada’s highways and resource roads. Over the past two years, FPI has focused its transportation safety research in two areas: improving the reliability of anti-lock braking systems (ABS); and evaluating & implementing driver assist safety systems (previously referred to as advanced in-vehicle intelligent transportation technologies). The benefits of Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) are well documented; resulting in reduced stopping distances without the loss of control. Trailer ABS has been mandated on all new trailers for well over 10 years. However, off-highway users have reported that these systems seldom work in this environment with the systems being disabled after a relatively short time. FPInnovations is studying this issue cooperatively with manufacturers and users to determine appropriate measures that will allow ABS systems to function properly in off-highway applications. Driver Assist Safety Systems are technologies mounted on or used in vehicles that assist the driver and the truck owner maintain safe truck operation. These technologies can help operate vehicles more safely, help the driver avoid driving incidents, improve safety, and reduce risk of accident. Telemetry systems, such as FPDat Transport, can also be seen as an effective driver assist safety system; since they are tools that managers can use to spot unsafe driver behaviour.

  • Evaluate and when appropriate, modify and/or improve, driver assist safety systems for use in a forest environment.

Improving Driver Safety and Working Conditions

Almost all of our members have indicated that one of their top priorities is recruiting and retaining operators especially log truck drivers. Keeping drivers healthy and injury free is an important strategy in retaining a viable truck driver pool. Making driving jobs easier and less stressful by simplifying or eliminating some of the driver’s tasks can also help retain older drivers and attract newer drivers. This year there are several options that we will be looking at; which, or how many, we choose to evaluate will depend on the availability of additional funds:

  • Evaluation of advanced truck seats. Injuries from whole body vibration and seat “bottoming out” still occur with many log truck drivers even with air suspended seats. FPInnovations proposes to look at two seat designs that may possibly reduce this injury risk. One is the Bose Ride System ( and the other is a prototype seat designed by a former truck driver from BC which uses a dual suspension system. We have applied for funding for this project to WorkSafeBC. However, these funds will not be sufficient to cover the whole activity. If the funding is secured, we would use funds from this activity and possibly member money to conduct the project.
  • We will also complete our development of a log truck roll mitigation system;
  • We are in the process of completing an evaluation of an automated automatic load tensioning system (ExTe Luftman). Preliminary indications are that the system does not provide sufficient tension but that may be due to the installation. If the product is deemed inadequate, we will consider testing another automated tensioning system;
  • Evaluation of an automatic tarping system for chip trailers. Putting a chip tarp across the top of a trailer can be very hazardous since at times the driver may have to climb to the top of the load to do so. It can also lead to injuries to shoulders and backs because of the effort required. As well, it is a time-consuming task. El-Cargo ( has developed a new mechanical tarping system specifically for chip vans that automatically deploys the tarp.
  • Evaluate and, when required, develop equipment and systems that can reduce injuries to drivers, ease some of the arduous task that they undertake, and reduce the difficulties of the job.

Development of Advanced Vehicles for Rural Road Networks

With the current rapid development of advanced vehicles for North American highways there are questions about the applicability of new and developing vehicle technologies to rural roads. For example, can autonomous vehicles run on the more rudimentary infrastructure that characterizes rural road networks? Further, if these technologies are not directly applicable to rural roads then what modifications or new developments are required to enable their adoption and enable conformity with developments in the highway sector? There is a gradient of technologies that need to be investigated. These are classified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) into six levels of driving automation starting at 0 which is no automation to level 5 which is full automation. There are technologies at level 1 (driver assistance) or 2 (partial automation) that are on the market now, or soon will be, which need to be tested for their applicability to rural roads. There is also a need to investigate the application of more advanced levels of automation. For example, level 3 (conditional automation), 4 (high automation) and 5 (full automation) can be implemented without the restrictions that apply to highway transportation. As well, there are opportunities to deploy partial or fully automated vehicles in areas of operations where traffic and interaction with vehicles are controlled or limited such as log or mill yards.

  • Initiate the integration of autonomous transport systems in a controlled and segregated area such as a product transfer yard.

Operational Energy Intensity Benchmarking for Off-Road Forestry Equipment

Off-road equipment operators and their managers who have attended FPI’s energy efficiency workshops have expressed a strong desire for sound machine operating practices that reduce fuel consumption and increase productivity. There is a need to quantify the energy intensity and carbon footprint of the various tasks and working conditions for commonly used harvesting machines in Canada. Quantifying this energy intensity is the first step in the development of an accurate carbon footprint model for Canadian forest harvesting operations

  • Utilize the Engine’s ECU/ECM, FPI’s fuel management system or tank fills to provide instantaneous fuel consumption data in combination with productivity data to develop a fuel utilization profile for the various work phases in forest operations.
  • Use these values to model fuel consumption for a given harvesting system in given conditions, providing an opportunity to evaluate the energy intensity and carbon footprint of each harvesting option.
  • Develop database tools that members can refer to so as to benchmark their operations.

Electronic (Web) Technology Transfer

  • To transfer information on subjects that are in a continuous flux to our members and their contractors in a timely fashion using a multi-media approach.
  • To permit easier access to the various tools developed by the Transport & Energy program such as our Truck Costing spreadsheet and truck fuel consumption database.
  • To expand our tech transfer efforts into mobile applications.