Measuring wind from a moving platform is an important part of more effectively measuring and accurately quantifying emissions. This has proven to be a difficult task given the aerodynamic effects of the vehicle on the anemometer measurements. Tara Hanlon’s MSc thesis she demonstrated that CFD (computational fluid dynamics) can be used as a substitute to find the corrections based on vehicle speed and yaw angle to help deduce the proper measurements.

My research has involved applying this technique to transport trucks to explore the potential of reducing drag effects to increase fuel efficiency. At highway speeds, 2/3 of a transport truck fuel efficiency can be attributed to aerodynamic drag. By measuring and accounting for high wind gusts, the power output spent on pushing through the air can be significantly reduced, and if this can be done, a necessary parameter will be to properly measure wind speed from the moving truck.

To gain an understanding of the proper wind measurements, a CAD model of a transport truck was created in ANSYS SpaceClaim. The CAD model was used in the Fluent solver to find an appropriate location to mount an anemometer and the corresponding factors of correction. Similar to Tara’s research, it was found that anemometer placement further from the boundary layer proved more accurate. Transport trucks, however, limit placement due to height restrictions and the inability to attach instruments to trailers. Using the model it was discovered that due to the roof geometry, there is a small area on the transport truck where the correction factors would be minimal. Field testing occurred with the placement of an anemometer in this location. After weeks of the truck in the field trial travelling its usual routes, less data came back than expected, but some important findings were made. This included a greater understanding of the acceleration behaviour of a transport truck at cruising speed. This information is crucial to having a better control to compare with.

As part of my Engineering Co-Op placement in the lab this summer, I hope to continue the work related to finding potential ways of reducing emissions in the transportation sector. Creating a system that uses vehicle dynamic information to measure the wind speed will be attempted. This information could be used to further develop an algorithm that controls vehicle speed. Due to the nuanced nature of this work, completing this system will potentially allow for the pursuance of intellectual property protection. This will be an important next step toward the development of a marketable product that sees its way in cutting costs and emissions in the transportation industry.