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Caterpillar Embraces Natural Gas

September 27, 2012 in Companies, HHP, LNG, Marine, Mining, Rail by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

‘New Energy Reality’ – Will Provide Engines for All Its Markets

Caterpillar will provide natural gas fuel as an option for engines across its many high horsepower lines, gas engines strategy director Joel Feucht said at the HHP Summit in Houston today.

Series 793, 795 and 797 mine haul trucks, and locomotives produced by Electro-Motive Diesel, are to be among the first LNG-fueled products offered by Caterpillar — ‘with commercial launch expected within five years.’

Dedicated natural gas and natural gas-diesel dual-fuel options will be available from Caterpillar engines for marine, diesel, rail, mining, construction, E&P operations and remote power.

“We’ve decided, in Texas hold ’em language, to go all-in on natural gas,” Feucht said.

“Natural gas for large engines is going to happen.”

What’s not to love? Joel Feucht makes the case for natural gas –€“ and Caterpillar’s global commitment ot the technology –€“ at HHP Summit 2012 in Houston.

‘Large Engines Are Going Gas’

“Caterpillar is betting on it,” Feucht said, calling on partners and suppliers and customers to join in.

“In large engines, we have the opportunity as an industry to concentrate the infrastructure,” Feucht said, “to really focus the infrastructure investment.”

“What we see in North America today is going to over the long run become a global phenomenon,” Feucht said. “We’re going to invest because we see a global market long term.”

“We’re into full-scale execution.”

Caterpillar believes that the price disconnect between petroleum and natural gas is here for the foreseeable future. So Caterpillar, Feucht said, sees natural gas as the future for high horsepower applications – the higher the power, the faster the adoption – and is betting that its commitment will pull the market along.

“Caterpillar can, and is, going to put product into this marketplace.”

But, he said, “We can’t do it by ourselves.”

“It takes a village,” Feucht said, calling on suppliers of engine components, onboard storage equipment, fueling specialists, field gas processors, LNG vendors, Caterpillar dealers, E&P companies, compressor manufacturers and pipeline people to get on board.

Mining Trucks, and Trains

“Large engines are going gas,” he said. “It becomes economically suicidal not to do anything else.”

Caterpillar has already this year launched a line of fully integrated, ‘Dynamic Gas Blending’ systems and kits for E&P engines, allowing for money-saving natural gas-diesel operation. Now it’s moving to engines that move, with HPDI for even higher rates of diesel displacement.

Feucht’s HHP Summit keynote talk was titled, The New Energy Reality – A Transition to the Natural Gas Economy.

Caterpillar introduced the Dynamic Gas Blending line of retrofit kits for energy exploration and production (E&P) engines earlier this year. New this week, mining trucks and locomotives are expected to be the first to incorporate high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology, as Caterpillar makes a far-reaching commitment to natural gas across its high horsepower product lines.

The firm has pledged to lead the industry to an LNG future with its first commercial products available in about five years.

The company said earlier this week at the MINExpo show in Las Vegas that its first LNG-powered products are likely to include large Cat 793, 795 and 797 mining trucks, and locomotives produced by EMD – Electro-Motive Diesel, a unit of Caterpillar’s Progress Rail Services.

Caterpillar and EMD have partnered with Westport Innovations (NASDAQ:WPRT) to apply high-pressure direct injection technology, “complementing Caterpillar’s strengths in engine and off-road equipment development and EMD’s locomotive expertise.”

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