A couple of weeks ago, the High Horsepower (HHP) team from Westport attended the first-ever HHP Summit in Houston, which brought together delegates from key industries (rail, mining, marine, drilling, agriculture, construction, and on-site power generation) to discuss the use of natural gas for high horsepower applications. Over three days, 60 keynote speakers and 800 delegates from around the world shared their visions and ideas for the future of natural gas, including its economic and environmental benefits.
As part of his keynote speech at the conference, Joel Feucht, Caterpillar’s Director of Gas Engine Strategy, underlined the economic incentives of moving to natural gas and confirmed Caterpillar’s intentions to go “all-in on natural gas”. Feucht confirmed that Caterpillar is committed to a long-term investment to provide natural gas fueled equipment and engines across its product lines. This signals that the industry recognizes Westport as a key partner in developing natural gas transportation solutions - and that the time for natural gas is now.
This statement comes shortly after Westport and Caterpillar announced their agreement to develop natural gas technology for the HHP off-road market. (Read original announcement). As you can imagine, Feucht’s remarks created a stir about what’s in store for the future of natural gas for high horsepower applications. Listen to the full speech here. As a principal sponsor of the event, we had our Westport WiNG™ Ford F-250 on display at the summit and Westporters on-site. With all of this activity, there was a sense of excitement surrounding all-things-Westport and we were happy to be a part of the summit.
In another key announcement last week, Canadian National Railways (CN) stated that it is exploring ways to make the switch from diesel to natural gas in powering its trains. CN is presently running two of its diesel-fired locomotives on natural gas as part of an evaluation program. This test also involves a longer term demonstration project with Westport, Electro-Motive Diesel (a Caterpillar subsidiary), and Quebec gas distributor Gaz Metro, with funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to develop a natural gas locomotive engine and tank car to carry the fuel. Westport eagerly anticipates the first results from the test engine in Q2 of 2013. Check back for future updates on the progress of natural gas for high horsepower applications and updates from our participation at the LNG 17 Conference in April.