Truck, Engine Makers See Natural Gas as Practical Alternative to Diesel Fuel
By Frederick Kiel, Staff Reporter
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LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Truck and engine manufacturers at the Mid-America Trucking Show here declared natural gas the victor in the industry’s search for a practical alternative fuel to diesel, saying they could have three different types of natural-gas engines by 2013 and a nationwide network of 100 fueling stations that offer it by 2014.
“Natural gas will be the star of this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show,” Ed Pence, general manager of independent engine maker Cummins Inc.’s heavy-duty engine business, told reporters here March 20.
Navistar Inc., which builds International trucks, announced at MATS that it would begin offering the 8.9-liter Cummins Westport ISL G engine this year. It added that next year it would begin to offer “dual use” MaxxForce 13, engines developed with Clean Air Power, which burn 85% natural gas and 15% diesel.
Navistar’s decision meant that all North American heavy-duty truck brands except Western Star would offer the 8.9-liter ISL G.
Cummins Westport, a 50-50 joint venture between Cummins and Westport Innovations Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia, also unveiled at MATS the Cummins Westport ISX12 G, a 12-liter natural gas engine for regional-haul, truck/tractor, vocational and refuse applications.
Cummins’ Pence said that he believed the federal government will certify the ISX12 G in 2013, and it will go into full production next year.
Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co., both part of Paccar Inc.; Freightliner trucks, a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America; and Volvo Trucks North America all announced at MATS that they would offer the larger Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine.
Westport Innovations also builds its own Westport HD, a 15-liter engine that runs on liquefied natural gas (LNG). It purchases Cummins ISX 15-liter engine blocks, adding components so that it runs on LNG. Cummins does not have a financial stake in that business.
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