Funding Launches Development Program with CN Rail and Gaz Métro
Westport Innovations Inc., an alternative fuel, low-emissions transportation technologies provider, has secured a funding commitment of CAD 2.3 million (USD 2.36m) from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to develop Westport HD technology for high-horsepower applications. 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 25%. Consortium members in the SDTC project are Canadian National Railways Company and Gaz Métro Transportation Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gaz Métro, the main distributor of natural gas in Quebec.
Details of the program include:
* Investigate the design and feasibility of high performance natural gas technology for high-horsepower applications such as mining, rail, and marine
* Design, build, and test prototype hardware suitable for a high-horsepower application
* Performance and durability testing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel system with both fuel and test facility provided by Gaz Métro Transportation Solutions
* Install prototype fuel system, test, and demonstrate in service using a Canadian National Railways locomotive
“This initiative is a significant opportunity for Westport to further demonstrate the benefit of utilizing Westport HD technologies on large engine applications,” said Bruce Hodgins, Vice President, Market Development of Westport Innovations. “High-horsepower engines consume large amounts of fuel and LNG can provide a significant cost advantage over diesel while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Roughly one fifth of Canada’s energy related GHG emissions result from industrial freight transportation and emissions from this sector are increasing by approximately 13% per year. In the railway industry, fuel accounts for approximately 20% of the operating expenses. LNG can already be delivered at a cost significantly less than diesel which, in high fuel use applications such as locomotives and off-road vehicles, could deliver substantial economic benefits over the life of the vehicle.
The STDC project description says, “Such a decrease in cost would significantly enhance margins and cost structures for rail operators while offering greenhouse gas reductions of up to 500 tonnes per year for each natural gas locomotive relative to diesel locomotives.”
Natural Resources Canada’s recently released “Natural Gas Use in the Canadian Transportation Sector Deployment Roadmap” identified that, in addition to off-road vehicles, for-hire and private trucking fleets that operate along regional corridors and in urban areas can help improve their competitiveness and reduce their environmental impacts by using natural gas.
The funding commitment from SDTC will be completed pursuant to an agreement containing terms and conditions customary for transactions of this nature. The project, entitled Natural Gas Locomotive Demonstration, was approved as offering “Clean Air / Climate Change” environmental benefits under the Transportation category.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is an arm’s-length foundation which has received $1.05 billion from the Government of Canada as part of its commitment to create a healthy environment and a high quality of life for all Canadians. Funding support requires that every project involves representatives of each part of the supply chain: researchers, product developers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and end customers.
Item primarily compiled using information from a Westport Innovations Inc. press release.