Westport Innovations Inc. says it is working with Caterpillar Inc. to co-develop natural gas engine technology for off-road applications, with an initial focus on locomotives and mining trucks.
‘This is a significant opportunity that has the potential to transform important segments of the global off-road equipment industries,’ says David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations. ‘The substantial price difference between natural gas and diesel fuel is resulting in a strong financial incentive to enable off-road applications to take advantage of low natural gas energy costs without sacrificing operational performance.’
The natural gas fuel systems that the companies create will apply Westport's high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology to Caterpillar's off-road engines platform. Caterpillar is funding the development of the new technologies, and Westport says it expects to ‘participate in the supply of key components’ once the products are commercialized.
The development programs will start immediately for both new and existing engines, combustion technology and fuel systems, the companies say. Commercial production is expected to begin in about five years.