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Westport and Cummins launch dual fuel project for heavy-duty trucks

17 November 1999

Westport Innovations Inc. of Vancouver, BC, announced a $10 million (Cdn), two-year natural gas truck project with Cummins Engine Company Inc., headquartered in Columbus, IN. The project calls for Westport to adapt three heavy-duty diesel trucks to liquefied natural gas - diesel, dual fuel configuration. Westport will keep the first prototype in Vancouver for demonstration purposes and deliver the other two to fleet operators for commercial hauling before the end of the year 2000.

Westport will modify Cummins' ISX 400 engines to work with Westport's High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) technology for natural gas. Westport shall also install the modified engine, along with a liquefied natural gas fuel tank and fuel compressor, in each of the three trucks. Cummins will supply the engines for the project and will undertake a market study and preliminary business plan for diesel truck engines fueled with natural gas.

A two-year Memorandum of Understanding between Westport and Cummins governs the project. If the trucks perform as expected, the Memorandum calls for Cummins and Westport to develop a business plan to commercialize Westport's technology. Westport expects, based on its laboratory tests, that natural gas fueled diesel trucks using the HPDI technology will produce significantly lower emissions than regular diesel trucks while retaining diesel's power, performance and fuel economy characteristics.

Westport's High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) is a patented dual fuel compression ignition technology originally developed at the University of British Columbia. HPDI is based on late-cycle, high-pressure injection of a gaseous fuel (such as natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or hydrogen) into a diesel engine combustion chamber in exactly the same manner as diesel fuel. A pilot stream of diesel fuel, representing about 10% of the total fuel consumption, is injected to facilitate the ignition of natural gas.

Source: Westport Innovations