The rumble of diesel-powered trucks idling through the night — and spewing unwanted emissions in the process — soon may be a distant memory thanks, in part, to developments at Tenneco Inc.

Tim Jackson, chief technology officer, and Patrick Garcia, director-acoustics and advanced engineering, at the company's European OEM emission-control unit, say they have an advanced auxiliary power unit (APU) that eliminates the need for truck operators to keep their engines idling while parked.

Truckers customarily run their engines to keep accessories, such as heaters, air conditioners, lights and sound systems, operating without drawing down their batteries. Diesel-powered trucks also typically are difficult to start in cold weather.

Garcia says Tenneco's APU, which is nearing the full prototype stage, is targeted for installation on heavy-duty Class 8 trucks in the 2011-2012 timeframe. Renault SA, Fiat SpA and Daimler AG are testing the device. No production orders have been placed, but Tenneco is working with truck manufacturers on development contracts.

Jackson says Class 8 trucks burn an average of 3,000 gallons (11,356 L) of diesel fuel yearly due to idling.