March 5, 2001

Field trial starts with low-emission, LNG-fuelled heavy-duty truck

The first customer field trial of a low-emission, heavy-duty truck using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel began last week in British Columbia. Fleet operator Bobell Group, of Aldergrove, is using a truck equipped with Vancouver-based Westport Innovations' proprietary natural gas fuel system, to haul wood chips from Aldergrove to Bellingham, Washington.

"Bobell is very keen to use this technology because no other low-emissions technology has ever been able to deliver the performance of diesel fuel engines," said manager Greg Mulvihill. His company, he said, is looking forward to verifying the Westport technology under commercial hauling conditions.

Two other companies are participating in the field test, providing infrastructure backup. An Ohio company, Chart Industries, has provided its newly-developed Orca refuelling station. The Orca, a portable trailer, is the smallest in a range of LNG truck refuelling stations manufactured by the company. Chart, a manufacturer of cryogenic equipment, also provided the two on-board storage tanks for the Bobell truck.

LNG for the truck is being supplied by eFuels, a company 32%-owned by Westport and 68%-owned by BC Gas, based in Vancouver. BC Gas produces the LNG at its Tilbury plant in Delta and delivers it to the Orca refuelling station. The Bobell truck uses a Cummins ISX 400-hp engine which has been adapted to use the Westport technology, under a development agreement between the two firms.

More information is available from Alan Bayless at Westport, 604/718-2016, E-mail abeyless@westport.com.

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