Westport’s New VP Will Focus on Natural Gas for Mining and Rail

| Canada, Vancouver BC

CAT 795FWestport Innovations Inc. has strengthened its focus on heavy duty applications for natural gas engines with the appointment of Thomas Rippon, formerly holding executive roles with General Motors and CODA Automotive, as Vice President, Mining and Rail.

“Thomas brings excellent credentials in implementing operations in geographic markets that are key for Westport’s off-road application programs,” said Nancy Gougarty, President and COO of Westport. “His experience as a senior executive at a global original equipment manufacturer will support our priority to commercialize products that drive us toward profitability.”

Thomas will be assuming some of the responsibilities of Nick Sonntag, Executive Vice President of Westport and President, Westport Asia, who retired as of September 13, 2013.

Westport says it is fundamentally changing the way the world travels. Rippon, as VP for Mining and Rail, will be promoting natural gas and Westport technology as solutions for these two areas of high diesel consumption.


The rail industry consumes over nine billion gallons of diesel fuel annually—half of which is in North America. Fuel consumption represents approximately 24% of the operating costs of railroads. Rail operators are now using natural gas to improve emissions and reduce costs.

In 2011, Westport secured a funding commitment of C$2.3 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada in 2011 to develop Westport technology for high-horsepower locomotives in collaboration with its consortium members: Canadian National Railways, Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) and Gaz Métro Solutions Transport. Westport has designed its new HPDI fuel system hardware to be used for the 16-cylinder EMD 710 engine, in preparation for engine testing.

Westport also launched a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) solution with an order for four LNG tenders from Canadian National Railway in June.


Over two billion gallons (8 billion litres) of diesel fuel are consumed annually by the top ten mining companies alone. With more than 28,000 large mine trucks (>100 ton capacity) operating around the world, typically burning 150,000 to 450,000 gallons (600,000 to 1,800,000 litres) of diesel per year and operating in a confined return-to-base location, the mining industry is an excellent application for converting to natural gas.

Westport and Caterpillar are co-developing Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport™ HPDI) technologies for off-road engines, including large mine trucks, with 95% substitution of diesel with natural gas.

(Source: Westport Innovations Inc.)

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