Earlier this month, I posted about how some big businesses are getting into natural gas vehicles in a big way after Chevrolet and Ram announced that they will build natural gas pickups and GE and Chesapeake Energy announceda project to develop fueling technologies for NGVs.
On Wednesday, Cummins Inc, which designs, manufactures, distributes and services engines, announced that it has begun development of a 15-liter Heavy-Duty, spark-ignited natural gas engine to meet demand for on-highway applications. Their statement says that Cummins believes that there is a strong market for engines powered by an alternative to diesel fuel.
Their press release states, “The ISX15 G will be based on the industry-leading ISX15 diesel engine and will build on Cummins technology leadership with spark-ignited, Stoichiometric cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (SEGR) technology. A simple, maintenance-free Three-Way Catalyst will be the only required exhaust after treatment. The engine will run on compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas or biomethane. Cummins ISX15 G is expected to be in limited production by 2014.”
Cummins has been investing significantly in the development of natural gas engines and is already producing on-highway spark-ignited natural gas engines for Cummins Westport, its joint venture with Westport Innovations in Vancouver, British Columbia. Engines offered by Cummins Westport range in size from 5.9 liters to the recently announced 12-liter ISX12 G, which will begin production in 2013.
America’s natural gas utilities encouraged these manufacturers to make these investments.
Several AGA member companies, including AGL Resources, SoCal Gas, and Questar Gas, are investing their own resources in systems to refuel natural gas vehicles and plan to support these manufacturers by purchasing the NGVs they are making for their own fleets.
Our nation’s business leaders are investing capital in these projects because they understand the tremendous market potential for natural gas vehicles. This flurry of activity should send a message to other potential actors that there is a market is for transportation that runs on clean, domestic, abundant natural gas.