Westport Gets DOE Natural-Gas Contract

Canadian engine maker Westport Innovations Inc. has secured a $1.5-million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as part of a larger $1.9-million effort to develop and deploy heavy-duty natural gas trucks in California.

The trucks will be powered by Cummins ISX engines using Westport’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel system. They are expected to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2007 emissions levels for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).

Under the new program, Westport and NREL will evaluate fleet economics, improved fuel economy, reliability, life-cycle and maintenance costs, and environmental performance, said Michael Gallagher, Westport’s COO.

“The diesel engine industry is under increasing pressure from regulators and leading customers to reduce emissions,” Gallagher said. “As new regulations force lower emissions, total life-cycle costs for diesel trucks will rise and improve the market competitiveness of cleaner natural gas trucks.”

He added that heavy-duty trucks in the U.S. consume over 18-billion gallons of fuel every year and account for 22% of total truck fuel use.

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