Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) reported that South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and Cummins have signed an agreement to develop key technology that could allow CWI's mid-range natural-gas engines to meet US EPA 2010 emissions standards years ahead of the regulatory schedule. The project team will develop and demonstrate a prototype engine based on the application of cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) in conjunction with a simple after-treatment system to its current line of lean- burn, spark-ignited natural gas engines. The US$2 Million project will be equally funded by Cummins and SCAQMD. The program is in cooperation with the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory under the Next Generation Natural Gas Vehicle program.Program work will be conducted in Columbus, Indiana, at the Cummins Technical Center and in Vancouver at Westport's engine development facility. If successful, the program could see demonstration engines in 2005-06. By 2010, engines in this heavy-duty classification must see reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) to 0.2 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp- hr) and particulate matter to 0.01 g/bhp-hr. These are reductions of approximately 90% from current standards."Successful development of this technology could dramatically improve the cost effectiveness of natural gas engines compared to diesels operating in compliance with 2010 emissions levels," said Hugh Foden, CWI's President and CEO, "Natural gas vehicles are providing clear emissions benefits and we are pleased to have the support of SCAQMD."