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Orbital and Sygma Motors in Ethanol and CNG FlexDI Initiatives in Brazil

Orbital Corporation Ltd. and Sygma Motors - Engenharia, Indústria E Comércio de Motores Ltda of Brazil are collaborating on two engineering programs in Brazil, with Vale Solutions in Energy (VSE) as the end customer. VSE is Sygma’s exclusive partner for engine development.

Orbital’s FlexDI (earlier post) technology has been selected for a new family of high efficiency heavy duty Flex Fuel engines currently being developed by Sygma for VSE. The application will commence with an engine test and development program supported by Orbital with a total value of $A1.6 million (US$1.1 million). Also included in the scope is co-development of a spark-ignited ethanol combustion system to be used in a demonstration program, and targeted for retrofit of existing diesel engine applications.

Applications include ethanol and CNG flex-fuelled internal combustion engines initially, but not limited to the 80 to 1500 hp power generation class in Brazil, and subsequently in other markets and sectors. VSE intends to utilize these engines, primarily in the resources sector, in support of a clean energy strategy.

“We believe that we will be able to achieve spark ignited operation with ethanol that matches or exceeds that obtained with advanced high efficiency natural gas reciprocating engines of equivalent size.”
—Marcos Langeani, Sygma Motors co-founder and Managing Director

The companies will also cooperate on possible flex-fuel OE and retrofit applications for transportation, either with spark-ignition FlexDI or diesel-pilot ignition for ethanol and CNG fuelling of heavy duty engines and for the light duty commercial vehicle sector.

Orbital’s FlexDI system enables engine manufactures to develop one spark-ignited engine family capable of handling different fuel types through changes to the fuel system. This opens up the potential for manufacturers to offer customers gasoline, ethanol, CNG, hydrogen and SI heavy-fuelled engine variants utilizing the same base engine design. FlexDI can also be configured for Bi-Fuel or Tri-Fuel operation.

The partners say the primary market drivers for uptake of flex-fuel ethanol-CNG engines will include environmental benefits for local air quality together with greenhouse gas abatement, operational cost savings, and the market appeal of clean energy solutions.

Our new alliance with Sygma Motors is in line with Orbital’s strategy to expand into alternative fuels. We are very pleased to continue our initiatives with Sygma Motors in Brazil. Brazil is recognized as the leading country in the use of renewable fuels and provides an excellent foundation for the expansion of FlexDI ethanol - CNG engine applications.

—Terry Stinson, Orbital CEO

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