Capstone Turbine, a clean-technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, has said that it is working with trucking company US 1 Industries and CalMotors to install a Capstone C65 HEV microturbine system in a Class 8 tractor-trailer truck.

US 1 Industries plans to install the microturbine powered electric drive system in a US 1 Class 8 truck that will serve the Port of Los Angeles and areas within 30 to 50 miles of the port.

The US 1 truck initially will operate on battery power in zero-emissions mode. Then, when the batteries reach a pre-determined state of discharge, the Capstone microturbine will recharge the batteries on the fly to extend the driving range.

US 1 and Capstone will gather data from the prototype truck for several months, and then plan to install similar systems in additional US 1 trucks.

Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) offer low emissions when driving in electric mode. However, their range is extremely short between battery charges. A microturbine extends the driving range of an HEV vehicle, Capstone said.

Capstone claimed that its microturbines, which can run on diesel, bio-diesel, propane and natural gas, produce low emissions and require less maintenance than traditional combustion engines found in today’s vehicles.

Jim Crouse, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Capstone, said: ”Capstone already has a strong track record in installing microturbines in buses, and that they have initiated a similar program for cars, trucks and boats.

”The large number of trucks operating around the world, combined with trucking executives’ desire to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, and government programs to limit vehicle emissions, make Capstone microturbines the ideal technology for vehicles.”