Westport Innovations Inc. has signed agreements with Caterpillar Inc. 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.
While the agreements initially focus on engines used in mining trucks and locomotives, the companies will also develop natural gas technology for Caterpillar’s off-road engines, which are used in a variety of electric power, industrial, machine, marine and petroleum applications worldwide.
“This agreement does more than pair two leaders in their respective industries,” said Steve Fisher, vice president of Caterpillar’s Large Power Systems Division. “Many of our customers are asking for natural-gas powered equipment in order to reap the financial and environmental benefits. The program positions Caterpillar to become the first manufacturer to bring Westport HPDI technology to the high horsepower off-road market, offer the broadest product line of natural gas-fueled machines and equipment, and capitalize on the attractiveness of natural gas as an alternate mobile fuel – all within the shortest time frame for our customers.”
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.
Comments about the agreement can be heard in this video.