On this episode of Net-Zero Carbon, Tyler Cole was joined by Matt Byrd, director of sales at InRange Technologies, to discuss everything from cost and environmental savings related to trailer skirts to a new initiative to help the people of Zambia.
Founded in 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina, InRange, under parent company Inventure, looks to solve transportation challenges through innovation and engineered systems.
“At our core, we are a transportation technology company,” said Byrd, regarding his experience with Inventure. “We’ve introduced several engineered systems over the years, always in the transportation space. We identify a need in some market space. We innovate a new way to do things in a new engineering system and then we execute like crazy to bring it to market.”
When starting out, InRange connected with a local carrier in Raleigh, where it was given access to equipment in order to test out its new skirt systems.
The material used for the skirt system is a PVC-coated reinforced vinyl that’s put under tension for durability and flexibility. InRange is also able to print custom advertisements on the skirts to generate additional revenue — and we’ll get into where that revenue goes in a minute.
“Leading to InRange Technologies, we started R&D about three years ago with a goal to create a superior performing trailer skirt in a new approach to the way that skirts are installed,” Byrd said.
For those not familiar with the problem that skirts help to solve, as a tractor pulls a trailer on the highway, air flows underneath the trailer, swirls around and creates drag. The aerodynamics of that drag cause the tractor to work harder to pull the trailer, increasing emissions. Skirts mount to each side of the trailer in order to convert the air to the back to help the tractor become more fuel efficient and help carriers save up to 4 cents per mile on fuel.
Skirts are required by law in California.
Reaching the rest of the world
InRange developed a partnership with World Vision in Zambia, an African country in the southern part of the continent that is experiencing deforestation at an alarming rate.
According to its National Strategy to Reduce Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Zambia has an estimated deforestation rate of 250,000 to 300,000 hectares per year.
So where does deforestation come into play for InRange’s business model? Well, the company takes some of the revenue generated from the advertisements on the trailer skirts and gives it straight to World Vision to help fund its Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) program. This program generates verified carbon offsets that can then be used by InRange customers to help meet corporate sustainability goals.