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Caterpillar Technology Strategy: Energy and Power Systems

At a press event earlier this year, Caterpillar expounded on its future energy and power strategy. – Ed.

What are some of the challenges to gas engine development?
The best combustion system solution to match diesel engine performance could vary with engine size. This requires the development of multiple combustion system solutions to meet Tier 4 Final emissions regulations when operating on gas. Examples of combustion system solutions are high-pressure direct-injection(HDPI) and stoichiometric combustion with EGR dilution. These technologies drive dramatically different system requirements for successful implementation.

Why is Cat partnering with Westport to develop natural gas technology for high-horsepower applications?
To accelerate the product development process, Caterpillar and Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) are partnering with Westport Innovations, Inc., a global leader in natural gas engines. The company brings its Westport 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.

What are the plans to introduce gas engine technologies as retrofit options?
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.

What are the Caterpillar plans for introduction/usage of new liquid alternative fuels?
We are positioning ourselves to meet the needs of our customers to use evolving second generation biofuels. We have evaluated several second generation bio-derived diesel fuels that are becoming commercially available to identify any combustion system and materials compatibility issues that might exist. If customers ask to use these fuels we will be in a position to advise and support them to ensure their success.

Will Cat engines be able to run on these alternative fuels?
Preliminary indications are that many of these fuels will be compatible with our products. There are others that will require more in-depth evaluation and engine modifications if the market demand develops. Critical to the ability to assure effective performance on alternative fuels is the development and implementation of effective fuel standards to assure consistency of fuel quality and performance.

What are Caterpillar’s CO2 reduction targets?
As discussed in our Sustainability Report, we have targets to reduce the fuel consumption (and hence CO2) from our machines and power systems by 20 percent. This will be accomplished by a comprehensive systems approach including reductions at the engine, machine and site levels.

What is Caterpillar’s position on GHG controls?
We believe any legislative approach needs to be purpose designed at economy-wide and national levels. International GHG policy alignment is also necessary to achieve the optimum benefits. In addition, any national climate and energy policies must align, and economic action at the highest practical level will drive innovation and optimal solutions. Sound science, consistency, transparency, robust stakeholder input, lead-time and stability are all required for successful GHG control. Finally, clear government agency boundaries are needed to avoid duplication and conflicting regulations.

What is Caterpillar’s position on GHG reductions for your non-road products?
We believe that fuel efficiency and hence GHG improvements are best managed at the job site levels, utilizing the optimal combination of fuels, site management, operator training, system integration, machine attributes and engine systems.

Cat Tier 4 Final Technology Selection Certified by EPA
The Cat C18 ACERT <560 bkW / 750 hp Tier4 Final Technology engine configuration, equipped with selective catalytic reduction technology, has been certified for sale in North America.

The engine meets the more stringent Tier 4 Final emissions requirements while offering improved customer value over previous generations of the C18 ACERT engine. The certification comes one full year before the implementation of Tier 4 Final emissions requirements in this size class.

Caterpillar is ready to provide machine and industrial customers with the broadest product range, the most extensive technology expertise, collaborative design processes, demonstrated system integration experience and unequaled product support.