Today’s Trucking – The Lockwood Report
August 12, 2015

Like almost all of you probably, I’m a total sceptic when it comes to fuel additives, and I can tell you that I’ve opted not to publish information about pretty much any of them over the course of my long tenure in this role. So when PE Fuels Solutions, based in Calgary with offices in Houston, sent me some promotional material about its FCS-27 bio-based additive a while ago, the earth didn’t move for me.

Then I realized that it had actually been tested to proper SAE/TMC standards by Quebec’s much respected Performance Innovation Transport (PIT) and came out awfully well. I’ve since had contact with PE Fuels president Christine Teschl — no shyster, a very down-to-earth sort who was remarkably patient with my scepticism — and I have to say that the more I learn, the more impressed I get.

The FCS-27 fuel additive from PE Fuels: 5.2% fuel saving
The FCS-27 fuel additive from PE Fuels: 5.2% fuel saving

PIT had a reaction somewhat similar to mine when Teschl approached them to get its fuel additive included in the popular Energotest trials of fuel-saving products last year.

Fuel additives don’t have a good track record at achieving positive results using the organization’s stringent test procedures, she was warned.

“PIT said save your money, we don’t see many that work,” Teschl recalls.

But PE Fuels Solutions can now boast a ‘PIT Power 5’ rating for its FCS-27  additive, after achieving a fuel economy improvement of 5.2%. PIT’s testing is highly regarded in the industry, as it adheres strictly to the SAE J1321 Joint TMC/SAE Fuel Consumption Test Procedure — Type II protocol. A positive verification from PIT earns a product instant credibility among the many fleets that look to the organization for validation of potential fuel-saving products and techniques. And with that report now in hand, PE Fuels is looking to make itself known to the industry.

The company has quietly been setting up a distribution network for its FCS-27 fuel additive, which it says works by boosting cetane, increasing lubricity, and generally improving the combustion process.

“Our technology is based on compound catalysis derived from bio-based ingredients and specialty improvers, leading to the highest fuel saving and GHG emission reductions confirmed by SAE J1321 test protocol performed by PIT,” Teschl explains.

In its report, PIT granted the prestigious PIT Power 5 designation. This represented a surprisingly strong result, given the performance of other additives in the past.

“Fuel consumption tests conducted by FPInnovations in previous Energotest campaigns with other fuel additives, or special formulated fuel, showed up to 2.86% improvement in fuel economy…However, the result obtained by the FCS-27 additive… is superior to the performances shown by the tested fuel additives,” PIT concluded. (Different formulas are used to calculate fuel savings and fuel improvement. The PIT Power score is awarded based on fuel economy improvement).

The tests were conducted in 2014, using 2012 Peterbilt 388 tractors powered by 450-hp Cummins ISX engines. Teschl says the two-year-old engines are a good representation of the current vehicle population in use today.

The trucks in use were owned by Smartway-partner fleet Groupe TransWest, otherwise known as TransWest Logistics, and one of those was driven by fleet director Michel Morin. He reports seeing fuel consumption continuously improve from 5.91 mpg to 6.44 mpg over the course of six runs of 13 laps each around the 2-mile test circuit.

“Exceptional results,” he said.

While thrilled with the validation earned through PIT’s Energotest, Teschl said the results didn’t come as a surprise to her, and were actually short in comparison to on-road tests conducted with Canadian fleets.

“What we have found is, on average transport companies are seeing a 9% reduction in fuel consumption, even in newer vehicles,” she explains.

In fact Trans-West’s own results show exactly that, an average fuel economy improvement of 9% over 95,000 km/59,000 miles of testing.

Teschl says FCS-27 includes a cold-flow improver, which also has improved reliability in extreme winter weather. Fleets using the additive in winter experienced no stalling or starting issues in extreme cold, she claims. Teschl also said FCS-27 has extended DPF life by up to 80,000 km/50,000 miles and reduces emissions.

TransWest tried a DPF test, driving more than 100,000 km beyond their normal maintenance schedule to see what the DPF could endure. When they looked at it, Teschl tells me, they determined it was good another 200,000 km. Cost savings? You know well, that’s going to be $2500-3000 per truck.

In fact, she says all of PE’s clients have reported the DPF regeneration process has been reduced by 25-30%, which means a big saving in fuel and less driver downtime.

I’m starting to sound like promotional material myself here, so I’ll stop. Remember, I’m just reporting, not endorsing.

But I should note that FCS-27 isn’t just for trucks. It also works in other vehicles, ships, trains, machinery, and generators across all industries — agriculture, construction, oil and gas. Refineries are showing interest, Teschl says, adding that the company is currently finalizing the product specifically for bunker fuel.

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