Hydrogen/natural gas engine ready for duty

Westport Innovations Inc of Vancouver, British Columbia, has developed a transit bus engine fueled by a blend of hydrogen and natural gas and delivered it to SunLine Transit Agency of Thousand Palms CA.

Tests carried out in Vancouver on a Cummins Westport engine calibrated to run on a blend of 20% hydrogen and 80% natural gas indicate a reduction in nitrogen oxide of more than 60% compared with the newest diesel engines. This is more than 80% cleaner than the average transit bus in North America. Each hydrogen/natural gas-fueled bus also can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 tonnes per year. The engine's original torque and fuel efficiency remain unchanged.

The tests were carried out by Westport as part of a project with SunLine Transit Agency. Westport engineers upgraded the 230-horsepower, spark-ignited natural gas engine to run on a blend of hydrogen and natural gas. The 5.9-liter B Gas Plus engine has been delivered to SunLine and will be put into revenue service in summer 2003.

Westport also upgraded an 8.3-liter C Gas Plus engine installed in a 40-foot transit bus to run on a hydrogen-natural gas blend. The bus is the only transit bus in Canada running on a hydrogen-natural blended fuel, the company says.

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