Very quietly, Cummins Turbo Technologies offered a glimpse of its advanced waste-heat expander prototype at the Mid-America Trucking Show recently.
Part of the Cummins Components Group, it was previously the Cummins Holset division, a brand that's been known for turbocharging expertise for over 50 years.

The system, which includes the Holset waste-heat expander, can reduce fuel consumption by up to 6%, the company says, delivering annual fuel savings of between $4,000 (typical heavy-duty cycle) and $40,000 (typical high-horsepower cycle), depending on the application and engine power.

"Our waste-heat expander captures what would otherwise be lost energy - in the form of heat - from a number of sources onboard the vehicle and turns it into useful mechanical or electrical power," says the division's Adrian Tipling. "The net result is lower levels of environmental pollution and lower bills at the pump."

The principles of waste heat recovery, which uses organic fluids to draw energy from available and waste heat, have been proven in applications such as electricity generation and very large marine diesel engines, says Cummins, since engine power output determines the scale of fuel, emissions and dollars saved.

We'll likely be seeing this in a couple of years' time as engine and truck makers struggle to meet EPA fuel-economy mandates.

Rolf Lockwood is VP of editorial at Newcom Business Media (publishers of Today's Trucking), and HDT contributing editor. You can read more of his product- and equipment-related commentary every other week in the e-mail newsletter, "Lockwood's Product Watch" from HDT. Click here to subscribe to HDT's e-newsletters.