Los Angeles based Capstone Turbine Corporation, a manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, has successfully completed track testing of a Kenworth Class 7 hybrid electric work truck using its 65kW microturbine as an on board range extender. The successful track testing confirmed both high-speed performance as well as operation on 20% grades.
“This is a very significant milestone in our joint development program with Kenworth Truck Company, which is funded in part by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District,” said Darren Jamison, Capstone’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“The objective of this program is to demonstrate the considerable fuel economy benefits, lower emissions and significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of a microturbine-powered delivery or work vehicle,” added Mr. Jamison.
The Kenworth Class 7 work truck features a Capstone C65 microturbine installed onboard. The microturbine operates on compressed natural gas and acts as a range extender to charge an onboard 47 kWh Li-Ion battery pack, which in turn provides power to the electric traction motors that propel the truck. The truck’s refrigerated box body uses electric power to provide payload cooling while on the road, eliminating the need for a separate diesel engine generator set. The drivetrain is sized for urban delivery cycles but is capable of achieving significant highway speeds as well.
Capstone has developed simulations to compare a microturbine-powered hybrid electric vehicle’s fuel economy, NOx and CO2 emissions to a conventional diesel-powered truck drivetrain operating on city and rural delivery cycles. Simulated results for low-mileage urban delivery routes indicate diesel equivalent truck miles-per-gallon could be as much as three times higher for the microturbine hybrid, with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas of 65% and a reduction of NOx by more than 90%.
“Electric vehicles are gaining market traction in buses, automobiles and heavy duty trucks, and programs like this allow Capstone to maintain its leadership position in the application of microturbines in the growing electric vehicle industry,” said Jim Crouse, Capstone’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Capstone is a leading producer of low-emission microturbine systems and was the first to market commercially viable microturbine energy products. The company has shipped over 9,000 Capstone Microturbine systems to customers worldwide.