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October 01, 2009  |   Comments (6)   |   Post a comment

Heating Systems Help Reduce Emissions, Costs

By allowing engines to rapidly heat without idling, modern heating systems make schools eligible for idle-reduction grants and funding opportunities.

by Claire Atkinson, Senior Editor

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Ventech’s Liquid Heat Generator system uses hydraulic friction to create heat.

Ventech LLC
Ventech’s rapid heating system, known as the Liquid Heat Generator (LHG), provides a heating capacity of 75,000 BTU to the compartment — 65,000 of which is created in the first five minutes, according to the company.

The elements that make up the system include the heat transfer chamber; the housing and working chamber of the LHG, where heat is generated through hydraulic friction; the manifold, which controls coolant flow and modulation; and the clutch, which is used to disengage the system based on system warmth or driving needs.

“The LHG 513 heats the engine’s coolant without a flame, fuel lines or exhaust,” says Reid Landis, director of sales and marketing. “Our device preconditions the interior of a bus and defrosts windshields, defogs windows and heats the interior.”

LHG serves as the primary heating source for the interior of the bus when the engine is cold or below optimum temperatures, reducing cabin and engine warm-up and idling time, and decreasing emissions by 50 to 70 percent, Landis says. “The heat our device generates goes directly into the heat exchangers on the bus, offering incredible heat even at idle,” Landis explains. “Producing 45,000 BTU of heat to the interior brings school districts and contractors in compliance with any state mandates on idle times and interior temperature minimums — the bus interior must be at least 45 degrees before the first student is picked up in Alaska.”

The heater has an estimated in-service life of up to 3,000 hours and a zero-maintenance feature that eliminates the need for weekly programming, according to the company.

Ventech has established a dealer network throughout North America and will soon be EPA certified, Landis says. The company’s placement on the Idle-Reduction Technology list will qualify its products for grants and funding opportunities. In addition, all LHG 513 manufacturing is done at Ventech’s plant in Wixom, Mich.

Webasto’s larger Scholastic heater model reduces fuel consumption and emissions; the smaller TSL 17 warms the vehicle without having to start the engine.

Webasto Product North America
The Webasto Scholastic and TSL 17 fuel-operated heaters preheat school bus engines to eliminate cold starts and extend engine life. The Scholastic heater reduces fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions, accelerates window defrosting, provides in-duty supplemental heat, stops white smoke at engine start-up, and is EPA verified, according to the company.

When Webasto began developing the Scholastic model, this type of heating system originating in Europe had not been engineered specifically for school buses, says National Sales Manager Paul Baczewski. “Because of some of the fuel regulations, they had to have external parts [to make them compatible],” he explains. “The Scholastic unit is the only product of its type that is fully built for a North American school bus.”

The Scholastic maximizes the heating capacity of the bus’ engine system. “That’s important when you’re transporting students with special needs, where you might have a handicap door that’s open for four or five minutes,” Baczewski says. “You have a massive heat loss. With the Scholastic unit, you’ll have virtually instantaneous heat recovery.”

Baczewski says the Scholastic heater is available through all the major school bus manufacturers and is entirely manufactured in the U.S., in Fenton, Mich.

The Webasto TSL 17 eliminates unnecessary engine idling, which results in reduced emissions by up to 90 percent, according to the company. The TSL 17 is CARB approved and EPA verified. Also known as the Thermo Top, the TSL 17 is a scaled-down version of the Scholastic that is used solely as an idle reduction product, warming the vehicle without having to start the engine, Baczewski says.

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Joe, you are correct, Webasto has bio capability. The comment should have been ESPAR E Guardian 8 KW has 100% BIO Fuel capability. I am not aware that Webasto has one rated at 100%. Do you?

John    |    Feb 26, 2010 07:32 PM

The atatement about the Espar heater being the only biodiesel operational heater is false. Webasto is capable of biodiesel operation as well.

Joe Grycko    |    Jan 27, 2010 10:36 AM

As a European heating system supplier and now USA supply operation, Grayson Thermal Systems offered the Webasto water heater and Blown air heater as part of their original equipment heating system on transit bus and school buses. We found that the Webasto became the industry standard and customers would always say "my vehicle has a WEBASTO" even if it was the ESPAR (Eberspacher in Europe). Grayson Thermal systems have also used the Webasto as additional heating for low temperature operations, it maintains the heater system temperature even on a light load on the latest EPA (or Euro 4-5) rated engines giving fantastic performance, far more cost effective that running the engine whilst stationary. A real saving in fuel cost. David, Heating system design engineer.

David Wright    |    Jan 20, 2010 11:31 AM

It appears that if you are talking about reduced idling technology, then the only two that should be compared in this article are the Espar and Webasto heaters. The third heater has to have the engine of the bus running in order for it to produce any heat, thus not qualifying as an anti idling device. Thus it would not assist the engine with pre-heat to assist cold weather starts, like the others mentioned would.

Steve    |    Jan 08, 2010 12:29 PM

This all sounds great but if the school bus operators refuse to take advantage of the new technologies available to them then we the drivers in the G.T.A of Toronto will never get to drive a warm bus in the winter without idling for hours throughout the day. How do you think a driver is going to keep the bus warm when it is -10c up at the ski slopes in Barrie,Ontaro or in Toronto waiting at the R.O.M. where there is a 3 min. idling law. These are the frustrations some Ontario School bus drivers are going through. We need some outside help.

Ivan    |    Dec 29, 2009 09:22 PM

This kind of heating system sounds like it could become standard equipment in multi-climate area's. Is it possible this may become standard equipment on all manufactured yellow buses. Joe, School bus driver of 24 years in Menomonee Falls Wisconsin.

Joe    |    Nov 22, 2009 06:04 PM

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