Automotive

Mack showcases turbine-powered electric garbage truck

Mack showcases turbine-powered...
The truck is a Mack LR model refuse collection truck (aka “garbage truck”) chassis that’s been retrofitted with Wrightspeed’s Route 1000 turbine and electric powertrain
The truck is a Mack LR model refuse collection truck (aka “garbage truck”) chassis that’s been retrofitted with Wrightspeed’s Route 1000 turbine and electric powertrain
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The truck is a Mack LR model refuse collection truck (aka “garbage truck”) chassis that’s been retrofitted with Wrightspeed’s Route 1000 turbine and electric powertrain
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The truck is a Mack LR model refuse collection truck (aka “garbage truck”) chassis that’s been retrofitted with Wrightspeed’s Route 1000 turbine and electric powertrain
The Fulcrum turbine generator was introduced by Wrightspeed last year as a power generator specifically designed for use in heavy-duty vehicles up to Class 7-8 trucks
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The Fulcrum turbine generator was introduced by Wrightspeed last year as a power generator specifically designed for use in heavy-duty vehicles up to Class 7-8 trucks
The Route 1000 system utilizes an intercooler, turbine generator, batteries, gearboxes, and electric motors with regenerative braking
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The Route 1000 system utilizes an intercooler, turbine generator, batteries, gearboxes, and electric motors with regenerative braking
The GTD used in the Mack on display is Wrightspeed’s two-speed gearbox with integrated motor, designed specifically for heavy use. There are two on each axle
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The GTD used in the Mack on display is Wrightspeed’s two-speed gearbox with integrated motor, designed specifically for heavy use. There are two on each axle

Mack Trucks has shown a refuse truck featuring Wrightspeed's turbine-powered electric "Route" powertrain. Designed to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, the retrofitted Mack LR was shown at the WasteExpo2016 (yes, that's a thing) in Las Vegas this week.

The Mack LR refuse collection truck (aka "garbage truck") chassis has been retrofitted with Wrightspeed's Route 1000 turbine and electric powertrain, replacing its conventional combustion engine. The showcase builds on Wrightspeed's earlier work with other truck users such as FedEx and New Zealand Bus.

The Route 1000 system is designed to power vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 66,000 pounds up grades as steep was 40 percent. The total system utilizes an 80 kW Fulcrum Turbine Generator as its hub, which is capable of burning a number of combustible fuels. To augment this, there's also a 730 kW regenerative braking system.

A geared traction drive (GTD) powers each of the two rear axles on the Mack, providing both slip control and motive power. Batteries supplied by A123 Systems are installed in a modular fashion to increase or decrease on-board storage according to specification, and a plug-in charging system is also included so that those batteries can be fully charged during the truck's down time. No battery capacity was specified for the retrofitted Mack LR shown in Vegas.

The Fulcrum turbine generator was introduced by Wrightspeed last year as a power generator specifically designed for use in heavy-duty vehicles up to Class 7-8 trucks
The Fulcrum turbine generator was introduced by Wrightspeed last year as a power generator specifically designed for use in heavy-duty vehicles up to Class 7-8 trucks

The Fulcrum turbine generator was introduced by Wrightspeed last year as a power generator specifically designed for use in heavy-duty vehicles up to Class 7-8 trucks. The Fulcrum is a radial inflow, axial turbine, intercooled and recuperated design that uses a two-stage compression process. The generator is about 1/10th the size of a similarly-capable combustion engine in a traditional piston design, weighing only 250 pounds (113 kg) and with a 10,000 hour expected running lifetime. This makes the Fulcrum lighter weight than a similar, competing turbine from Capstone, which weighs about 300 pounds (136 kg).

The Fulcrum is capable of running on diesel/biodiesel, compressed and liquid natural gas (CNG/LNG), landfill gases, kerosene, propane, heating oil, and more. It also features very low noise and vibration characteristics. Because of its high-temperature, clean burn, the Fulcrum does not require emissions equipment for the exhaust. In the Wrightspeed design, an intercooler feeds air to the combustor, which is injected with fuel. The combustion process pushes the exhaust out in a funnel, turning the turbine. As it spins the turbine, the hot air escapes through a port and is sent back to the intercooler. The spinning turbine's shaft turns a generator which produces power to be sent to the drivetrain.

The GTD used in the Mack on display is Wrightspeed’s two-speed gearbox with integrated motor, designed specifically for heavy use. There are two on each axle
The GTD used in the Mack on display is Wrightspeed’s two-speed gearbox with integrated motor, designed specifically for heavy use. There are two on each axle

The GTD used in the Mack on display is Wrightspeed's two-speed gearbox with integrated motor, designed specifically for heavy use. No clutch is required as the speed of the motors can be controlled and changed on the fly, allowing for gear mesh without heavy clutch and synchros. Each drive axle has two GTD units attached, one for each side, allowing for full traction control through control of the motors' speed to each wheel. Thus a truck with two drive axles (such as this Mack LR) can use four motors, each delivering about 200 horsepower (186 kW) continuously and 10,600 pound-feet (14,372 Nm) of torque to the axle as a whole. Braking power in regeneration is similarly over the top, combining on the Mack LR to become about 730 kW in all. The entire system also eliminates the need for gear-up units such as differentials.

Source: Wrightspeed, Mack Trucks

9 comments
Chizzy
awesome, and amazingly quiet. i'd love if my neighborhood garbage truck didn't wake me up every time it comes by.
riczero-b
Has obvious military vehicle implications, multi fuel, quiet ,no bulky driveshafts, off the shelf so presumably cheaper. M 113 upgrade?
Dziks
honestly I am surprised that these kind of hybrids are not spread across various services. Transport or delivery services, collecting or patrolling can all make use of it...
Mzungu_Mkubwa
This is awesome tech. Yes, this should be in use in a LOT more places. It will prove to be a "disruptive" technology across many transportation sectors. Primarily (big picture) this will serve as the ideal transition technology to serve until (and even far into) the time when battery/electrical storage tech becomes viable and stable. (We are yet a long way from that despite continual news stories of breakthroughs.)
Robt
Very nice, but missing some vital information. How much does this drivetrain cost vs an ic engine?
VincentWolf
Nice but this makes more sense for the environment: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/16/first-electric-garbage-truck-in-us-hauls-9-tons-of-chicago-trash/
VincentWolf
And this also makes more sense: http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2015/03/04/electric-garbage-trucks-huge-energy-savings-and-they-wont-wake-you-up-in-the-morning/#4346f82a4123
David A Galler
Given the terrible fuel efficiency of most garbage trucks an extreme concept may be worthwhile .
RobertGlidewell
IMHO, Wrightspeed is going to regret their decision to switch from the CPST turbine to one they developed themselves. Wrightspeed is NOT a turbine company, they have no experience creating them or manufacturing them. They have one shot to get it right with their prototypes testing in the various pilot programs with other companies. If the prototypes aren't ready for prime time, this company will go under. The one thing you don't want as transportation company is a reputation for selling lemons. My theory as to why it was done was because the CEO didn't want to have to pay Capstone for a turbine that last at least 40,000 hours when he could make them in house and have them break after 10,000 hours and sell replacement turbines over and over to the suckers, er... I mean customers that will never know that a better solution is out there. Great business decision, yes. But its hardly the right thing to do. Would you be happy if you found out that your car could last 1 million miles, but the car companies didn't do it because they wanted to sell you more cars, more frequently. But as for the application itself, I agree with the excitement of many in the comment section. The technology is very intriguing.