U of W gets a new green fleet thanks to energy conservation device

The Center for Sustainable Transportation (CST) at the University of Winnipeg is upgrading the U of W’s transportation services with the addition of OttoView devices.

CST is a non-profit organization that is helping to craft transportation that is benefiting the society and the environment, while enhancing mobility. OttoView is a hand held electronic device installed in vehicles that monitor cars’ performance.

The device reads and filters information regarding the vehicles emissions. The device calculated the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, as well as calculating the fuelling cost and emissions output. In return, the device will deliver a diagnostic report on the vehicle’s emissions to its user.

“We connect it up to the vehicle’s diagnostic port,” explains Frank Franczyk, president of PERSENTECH Inc., OttoView’s manufacturer.

“We basically ask questions about the fuel, the temperature and the Rotations Per Minute. We ask all of these questions and we bring back all the information for the sensors that provide the information [to the driver],” Franczyk said.

OttoView is the successor of OttoLink, a similar device developed by PERSENTECH Inc.. Early research on the OttoView device was conducted at the University of Manitoba. The company worked with Dr. Eric Bibeau, an assistant professor in the department of engineering.

The major difference between OttoLink and OttoView is the increasing number of information that OttoView devices can receive.

“The main attempt is to raise awareness and to first of all understand what is happening with these various vehicles. Before people didn’t care, now people are thinking more about it. [ . . . ] If you think of the number of vehicles that are on the road you can imagine the impact if you raise awareness” said Franczyk

“If you teach them about this and also reinforce it by having something inside the vehicle that would give them that immediate feedback. There are benefits associated with that to the environment,” explained Franczyk.

“We want to reduce green house gas emissions,” adds Terry Zdan, CST research director.

While using the devices, the driver is able to see where they can improve when it comes to gas consumption said Zdan, hoping to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

He continued, “The other thing we would want to chance is if we want to change the vehicle, what do we replace it with, and if there is a better vehicle out there that provides a better fuel economy for conventional vehicles.”

“The other accomplishment is a sustainable development plan for the university. There’s a corporate action being taken that demonstrates we can quantify everything with this information were gathering that demonstrates the university has reduces admissions by this amount,” Zdan explained.

CST has been functioning with the help of the Center for Applied Training in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI) at Red River College. Zdan highlights CARSI’s innovative facilities.

According to Zdan, CARSI is breaking ground in the research of fully understanding the capacities of the technology. The center is researching the different infrastructures that best help Winnipeg’s climate.

“Working with Red River College in this area is very important because it also shows how Manitoba as a province has this capability to compete in the worldwide market that develop these innovative technologies” explains Zdan

“We are establishing ATEC (Advanced Transportation and Energy Center) and its focus is more on vehicle technology using alternative and renewal fuels. We’re working on increasing the fuel efficiency of fleets,” said Ray Roemsen, CARSI’s director of applied research and commercialization.

The OttoView display is being programmed inside security vehicles, one of the many functions of the SafeWalk program. The program’s goal is to keep the U of W campus safe for students who are on campus during the evening hours. The statistics provided by OttoView are meant to be analyzed in March of 2010 and to take effect the following year.