Cummins, Inc. (NYSE:CUM) of Columbus, Indiana and Westport Innovations Inc. (TSE:WPT)
of Vancouver, B.C., today announced that they have been awarded funding for a
joint natural gas heavy-duty engine project. The goal of the two-year project
is to develop a concept that could enable a natural gas powered 400 horsepower
heavy-duty truck engine to achieve emissions far below the 2002 U.S. and California
requirement for oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
The funding, totaling US$1 million, is to be provided by the National Renewable
Energy Laboratory, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, South Coast Air
Quality Management District and the California Energy Commission. The award,
subject to contract agreement, will be administered by the National Renewable
Energy Laboratory. Cummins, the world’s largest producer of diesel engines above
50 horsepower, is project manager. Westport, which develops alternative fueled
systems for diesel engines, will perform most of the development work. Transient
calibration and testing will be performed at an outside laboratory under Cummins
The Cummins-Westport project will use Westport’s high pressure direct injection
(HPDI) natural gas technology, combined with exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR)
technology. The objective is to achieve the lowest possible NOx levels with
technology expected to be available during the next five years.
“This work complements the current development of HPDI on the technically
advanced ISX engine to explore the lower practical limits of NOx reduction using
hardware which we expect to be available during the next few years,” explained
Tom Kieffer – Executive Director – Marketing of Cummins Inc.
“We are interested in providing our customers with the most cost-effective
and reliable source of power available, and believe this technology may have
potential for several heavy-duty truck market segments,” Kieffer said.
Cummins and Westport jointly applied for funding of a research project for
HPDI/EGR in March 2000 in response to a Request for Proposals issued by the
South Coast Air Quality Management District for development of a low-NOx, heavy-duty
natural gas engine. The three funding agencies reviewed five applications but
selected only the Cummins/Westport project and one other for funding. The research
project is intended to produce a natural gas fuel system that maintains the
performance of a conventional Cummins ISX diesel engine but reduces NOx to 0.5
grams per brake horsepower-hour or below.
Cummins and Westport have worked together since 1998 to develop and demonstrate
HPDI for Cummins engines. HPDI technology significantly reduces emissions while
retaining the diesel cycle and its efficient performance. Westport is currently
road testing a truck equipped with a prototype HPDI fuel system in a 400 horsepower
ISX truck engine without exhaust gas re-circulation. Field trials with customers
are scheduled to begin in December.