Westport Innovations Inc., developer of natural gas engines, has entered into an agreement with Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of diesel-electric locomotives, to integrate Westport’s high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology and natural gas fuel system technologies into an EMD locomotive provided by Canadian National Railways (CN). The consortium is expecting to demonstrate the natural gas locomotive as part of the previously announced Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) project with CN and Gaz Metro.
As per the consortium agreement, Westport will provide its core technologies for the engine and fuel system, and intellectual property. EMD will contribute its expertise to integrate the natural-gas engine, related components and controls to create a working locomotive platform. EMD is one of the world’s largest builders of diesel-electric locomotives for all commercial railroad applications including intercity passenger, commuter, freight, switching, industrial and mining.
“EMD brings a great deal of experience and engineering know-how in locomotive applications,” said Paul Blomerus, Senior Director, High Horsepower of Westport Innovations. “Westport’s HPDI technology is ideally suited to high-horsepower applications such as locomotives as it retains the diesel engine’s favourable operating characteristics of high torque and power, transient response and efficiency, while reducing carbon emissions. We are looking forward to a successful demonstration program with our partners that will potentially transform the rail industry.”
According to the United Nations Statistics Division, railroads around the world burn 9 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually, largely in the transportation of freight. The development of natural gas fuelled locomotives will dramatically reduce the cost of transporting the world’s primary resources and manufactured goods because of the low cost of LNG compared with diesel fuel. Furthermore, the use of natural gas reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 27%.
In February, Westport secured a funding commitment of CAD 2.3 million (USD 2.26 million) to develop Westport HPDI technology for high-horsepower applications from SDTC, a not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada to help commercialize emerging clean technologies. Westport is proposing to significantly improve the cost structure for operators of high-horsepower equipment while achieving compliance with increasingly stringent emission regulations and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 27%. The collaboration of Westport, EMD, Canadian National Railway (CN), and Gaz Metro bring together the key elements required to achieve this goal, through developing, testing, and demonstrating a natural gas locomotive in service.
(This article compiled using information from a Westport Innovations Inc. press release)