Canada Bets on Natural Gas for Clean Stationary Power

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada, January 8, 2002 (ENS) - The Canadian government is betting a million dollars that a low emissions natural gas engine can generate the fuel economy and performance of a diesel engine for stationary electric power generation.

Westport Innovations Inc. of Vancouver will receive a C$1 million repayable contribution from the government of Canada to demonstrate the power of its natural gas generator.

Westport, through its joint venture Cummins Westport Inc., will install a 1.6 megawatt power generator, equipped with Westport's patented natural gas fuel system, at a water/wastewater treatment facility in Grande Prairie, Alberta early this year


Grande Prairie, Alberta (Photo courtesy City of Grande Prairie)
The new system operates at 40 percent thermal efficiency, which is comparable to diesel fuel generators, but reduces nitrogen oxides by 85 percent and carbon dioxide by up to 20 percent compared with diesel system levels.

The city of Grande Prairie has agreed to run the generator for a minimum of 6,000 hours during its first year. The generator will be connected to the provincial electricity grid, and any excess power capacity will be exported to the Alberta Power Pool, the operator of the provincial electricity market.

"The project represents an ideal match with the Government of Canada's goal of increasing energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions," said Ralph Goodale, minister of natural resources.

"It illustrates that we can develop and implement the kind of innovative solutions needed to deliver environmental benefits, while continuing to improve our economic performance," Goodale said.

"Canadians want government and industry to work together towards a cleaner and healthy environment," said Environment Minister David Anderson. "Dynamic partnerships such as this are leading the way in our common battle with climate change and air pollution."

Guff Muench, president of Cummins Westport Inc., said the Grande Prairie project represents an important milestone for the company and sends a signal to other jurisdictions in Canada that are placing greater emphasis on emissions reduction and distributed generation.


Minister of Natural Resources Ralph Goodale (Photo courtesy Office of the Minister)
"Opportunities are increasing to take advantage of clean, cost effective power generation technologies such as ours. Cummins Westport will be ready to meet the demand," he said.

Grande Prairie Mayor Wayne Ayling is looking forward to the test. "Westport's technology provides us with a means to meet Grande Prairie's long term strategy for self reliance in power generation and environmental stewardship," he said.

Cummins Inc. of Columbus, Indiana is the world's largest producer of commercial diesel engines of more than 50 horsepower. Westport is a developer of natural gas fuel systems for diesel engines. The two companies established Vancouver based Cummins Westport Inc. in March 2001 to advance alternative fuel engine technology.

The government of Canada's $1 million contribution is repayable over 10 years. The repayment is based on one percent of Westport's share of revenue from engines for power generators.

Part of the funding for the Westport test came from the Technology Early Action Measures component of the government's Climate Change Action Fund which supports investments in the development and deployment of technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.