By Jeff Brown, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – Many of the winners in this week’s annual startup accelerator MassChallenge Awards are businesses born and raised in Massachusetts. One of the local businesses, a company called Hyliion, took home a top prize of $100,000.

“Back in January of this year, it was just an idea. It was something we were just jotting down on paper,” says CEO Thomas Healy.

Now the idea is attracting attention from venture firms. The goal is simple: bring hybrid technology to tractor trailers.

“So we take that Toyota Prius concept and put it on 18 wheelers,” Healy says. “So what we’re able to do is reduce the amount of fuel they use by 31%.”

After first driving a hybrid when he turned 16, Healy wanted to see how the technology could be applied in different ways.

“I wanted to see how could we apply hybrid technology to 18 wheelers because the amount of fuel 18 wheelers consume is enormous,” he says.

And he’s right. According to Healy, the United States spends over $150 billion a year to power these trucks.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jeff Brown reports

What started with a few scribbles on paper in January is now getting him attention from a lot of investors. Healy has been able to put a prototype on the road and is starting to see true, field tested data.

“What we plan to do is launch a pilot program at the end of this year. We’ve already partnered with five trucking companies who are going to be testing our product,” he says.

If tractor trailers adopt this technology Healy believes it will have the ability to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by a full 2%. He hopes to release the product to the trucking industry by 2017.

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