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Westport and Caterpillar to develop natural gas engines for off-road equipment

5 June 2012

Westport Innovations has signed agreements with Caterpillar to co-develop natural gas technology for off-road equipment, including mining trucks and locomotives. Caterpillar and Westport will combine technologies and expertise, including Westport™ High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) technology and Caterpillar’s off-road engine and machine product technology, to develop the natural gas fuel system. Caterpillar will fund the development program. When the products go to market, Westport expects to participate in the supply of key components.

The agreements initially focus on engines used in mining trucks and locomotives. Later, the companies plan to also develop natural gas technology for Caterpillar’s off-road engines used in electric power, industrial, machine, marine and petroleum applications worldwide. The agreement is an expansion of the Caterpillar-Westport cooperation on natural gas fuel systems that was started in May 2011. The Westport HPDI technology utilizes a diesel pilot to ignite the natural gas mixture.

Development programs will start immediately for both new and existing engines, combustion technology and fuel systems. Commercial production is expected to begin in about five years.

The natural gas locomotives will be developed by Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), one of the two major manufacturers of diesel locomotives and locomotive engines. Caterpillar acquired EMD via its subsidiary Progress Rail in 2010.

Source: Westport