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California Funds Development of Natural Gas Engines and Infrastructure

The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a $1 million grant to develop a 12L natural gas engine that produces near-zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) tailpipe emissions that would be suitable for heavy-duty vehicles.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will work with Cummins Westport to develop the engine. Cummins has a history of developing natural gas engines for heavy-duty application, and its engines are being used globally in a variety of commercial vehicles.

The grant focuses on existing engine research and consists of engine development and on-road vehicle demonstration. The engine will offer fleets an option for larger vehicles, such as drayage trucks equipped with natural gas near zero technology. Drayage trucks are used to haul cargo containers from ocean ports to distribution centers and rail yards.

The development of the natural gas engine will help meet California Air Resources Board 2010 emissions standards and support efforts to improve air quality in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air basins.

According to the Air Resources Board’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan, transportation—and heavy-duty vehicles in particular—play an important role in achieving California’s emission reduction goals. Additionally, these near-zero engines, when fueled with California-produced renewable natural gas (RNG), become a near-term and viable solution for greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts.

The Energy Commission also approved a $500,000 grant for the Fullerton Joint Union High School District to upgrade its existing CNG fueling infrastructure in La Habra, California. The upgrade includes improvements and expansion to a fleet refueling system and the addition of a fast-fill dispenser for public use.

The upgrades will allow the Fullerton school district to retire older diesel and gasoline burning vehicles in their bus and service vehicle fleet. The upgrades will allow the district to meet its projected CNG needs over the next 10 years.