At MINExpo, Caterpillar is previewing its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) product initiative for mining equipment and locomotives. The company’s first LNG-powered products are expected to include three large mining trucks—the Cat 793, 795 and 797—as well as locomotives produced by Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), a subsidiary of Progress Rail Services, a Caterpillar company.
Chris Curfman, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Mining Sales and Support Division, said demand for natural-gas powered equipment is growing worldwide due to the ability to reduce fuel costs.
According to Luis De Leon, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Mining Products Division, the large trucks are in the early stages of development with commercial launch expected within five years.
Development of the new locomotives is also underway and should be completed in the same timeframe said Billy Ainsworth, a vice president of Caterpillar and president and CEO of Progress Rail and its subsidiaries.
To accelerate the product development process, Caterpillar and EMD are partnering with Westport Innovations, Inc., a global leader in natural gas engines. The company brings its Westport high pressure direct injection (HDPI) technology, proven in on-highway applications, to the relationship, complementing Caterpillar’s strengths in engine and off-road equipment development and EMD’s locomotive expertise.
In addition to offering new LNG products, Caterpillar and EMD are developing retrofit solutions for those who opt to convert existing mining trucks and locomotives to natural gas. Longer term, the company expects to use natural gas technologies in other mining products as well as off-road engines for a variety of electric power, industrial, machine, marine and petroleum applications.