ACT Expo 2018


Capstone Kenworth: CNG Drives a Turbine

September 7, 2017 in CNG, delivery vehicles, Electric Drive, EVs, Hybrids by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

TransPower Integration of a Corvus Battery Pack
Driving JJE Motors in Reefer Vehicle for Deliveries,
Agility CNG Tanks Fuel Electricity-Generating Turbine 

Capstone has released details about a CNG microturbine-powered Class 7 Kenworth T370 configured for battery-electric or series hybrid electric operation, intended as a delivery vehicle. Recently completed track testing has confirmed both high-speed performance as well as operation on 20% grades, the company says. updated September 12

Capstone has outfitted this Class & Kenworth T370 tractor with a C65 microturbine and Corvus-Xalt battery pack driving twin JJE motors for series plug-in hybrid electric vehicle operation. The vehicle has also been fitted with a 60-DGE/diesel gallon equivalent back-of-cab CNG fuel system from Agility Fuel Solutions.



The truck has a 65-kilowatt, compressed natural gas-fueled Capstone C65 turbine configured to charge an onboard 47-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack which in turn drives a pair of motors from JJE, Jing-Jin Electric Technologies.

All-electric range is estimated at 20 miles.

The battery pack by Corvus Energy uses lithium cells from Xalt Energy (Dow Kokam), says Capstone product manager Steve Gillette.

“This truck has a pack of seven of our AT6700-100-LQ modules, 6.7kWh each with liquid-cooling system,” says Sean Puchalski of Corvus.

295 Horsepower

The JJE motors produce a combined 220 kilowatts (295 horsepower), says Gillette, via a conventional Eaton transmission, and differential.

“TransPower is the system integrator,” he told F&F.

“This is a very significant milestone in our joint development program with Kenworth Truck,” Capstone president and CEO Darren Jamison said in a release, noting that the project has been funded in part by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

‘Considerable Fuel Economy Benefits’

“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,” Jamison said.

“Electric vehicles are excellent for the environment, but the ability to save money from improvements in fuel economy is critical to making these vehicles both sustainable and cost-effective.

“Working with Kenworth has been very beneficial for Capstone to further develop our technical and market expertise in applying our technology to hybrid electric vehicles,” Jamison said.

A Reefer Box Too

The truck is fitted with a refrigerated box body that uses electric power to provide payload cooling while on the road, thereby eliminating the need to operate a separate diesel engine generator set with its associated fuel consumption and additional emissions, Capstone says.

“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,” Capstone executive VP for sales and marketing Jim Crouse says in the company release.

“With recent announcements from major manufacturers such as Tesla and Cummins that underscore the industry’s growing acceptance of heavy-duty electric drivetrains, Capstone intends to be an active participant in this emerging technology shift,” he said.

Cummins unveiled its electric drive Class 7 truck just last week (F&F, August 29).

Cutaway view of a 65-kilowatt Capstone C65 microturbine

Can Charge Between Delivery Stops

“This truck is aimed at delivery cycles,” product manager Gillette told F&F. It is designed to operate with zero-emissions on batteries charged either from the grid or by running the turbine. The battery can be charged from the onboard turbine while parked, or when driving between delivery stops.

The vehicle will be service-tested first on an urban delivery route in Los Angeles, and then on a rural route in the San Joaquin Valley, Gillette says.

Near Zero?

“Our C65 CNG microturbine is CARB certified,” he adds, with certified emissions levels were “well below the standard.

“We expect ‘near zero’ levels,” he says. “Achieving low emissions levels is the reason the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air districts are funding demonstration projects like this.”


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Source: Capstone Turbine with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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