Clean Air Power (CAP) of Aston Way, Leyland, Lancs., UK, is hoping that by teaming with Ricardo the two companies can develop new products to serve the growing market for dual-fuel powered commercial vehicles.
CAP, a global leader in dual-fuel technology, has signed up with Ricardo Inc. in the US to further develop the dual-fuel engine technology business.
The agreement aims to bring together CAP's dual-fuel technology of compression ignited diesel engines that use natural gas with diesel pilot ignition and Ricardo’s systems integration expertise. Ricardo is headquartered at Shoreham, UK.
Natural gas powered vehicles (using CNG or LNG) are seen as a potential growth market in North America. CAP already has an operation in the US in Poway, California.
In August, CAP’s UK business proved successful in securing an additional £5 million in capital funding through a share placement. The same month it disclosed a deal with United Parcels Service (UPS) in the US which agreed to “in-use operation” of CAP’s Genesis technology on Volvo D13 and Mack MP8 engines.
CAP's dual-fuel system enables heavy duty vehicles to operate primarily on natural gas, with diesel fuel acting as a 'liquid spark plug'. The diesel engine is basically unchanged, and retains its high performance and high efficiency four-stroke diesel cycle. If the natural gas runs out, the system changes seamlessly to operate on 100 per cent diesel, providing complete diesel operational backup.
The aim is to reduce the diesel percentage of the gas-diesel mixture, from somewhere in the region of 12 or 15 per cent to a level closer ideally to five per cent.
As system integrator, Ricardo will use its full-vehicle knowledge, engine design and controls experience, and system modelling capabilities to ensure that CAP's dual fuel system meets the fit, form and function requirements of complete vehicles.
"Natural gas in a dual-fuel application offers both fuel economy and cost savings to the large and heavy duty engine industry," claimed Tom Apostolos, president of Ricardo’s US business Ricardo Inc. "This agreement will help our global clients to achieve those savings more quickly, with reduced development time and robust system integration. We are pleased to be working with CAP as a system integrator for their patented dual-fuel technology."
John Pettitt, chief executive of Clean Air Power, noted that “Ricardo is a world renowned engineering company and this co-operation agreement offers further validation of the quality and reliability of our dual fuel technology. Our medium term strategy is to develop further OEM relationships. Through this agreement we have access to the resources and engineering expertise needed to develop additional new OEM products, based on our dual fuel technology, to meet the growing interest in natural gas vehicles amongst manufacturers.
CAP hopes that by teaming up with Ricardo in the US it will be able to place its dual-fuel system at the forefront of the growing trend to adopting natural gas as a road fuel. ∎
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