ALTERNATIVE fuel technology has stepped up a gear with the unveiling of the Cursor 13 NG engine this month.
FPT Powertrain technologies, one of the worlds leading engine manufacturers, is an arm of CNH Industrial, parent company of well known agricultural and trucking brands Case, New Holland and Iveco.
In Turin, Italy this month, FPT unveiled to journalists an engine capable of running on liquid natural gas (LNG), compressed natural gas (CNG) or methane, while promising a ten per cent efficiency increase on comparable diesel engines.
FPT head of product engineering, Pierpaolo Biffali said the 345 kilowatt (460 horsepower), six cylinder engine, was designed and benchmarked against the diesel engine.
“To make natural gas appealing we needed to provide performance, ability and total cost of ownership equivalent or better than diesel,” he said.
Mr Biffali said the spark ignition engine relied on single fuel technology, reducing the number of tanks required and relied on only one emission technology, a three way catalyst.
“One emission technology is better then four in diesel, and translates to compactness, lightness and reduced complexity of the engine,” he said.
Temperature maintenance, being important for long-haul engines, was a priority in the engineering, Mr Biffali said.
A nickel-resist cast-iron exhaust manifold along with water cooled wastegate turbocharger and compacted graphite iron cylinder heads have been used to manage heat from the combustion chamber.
The combustion of the Cursor 13 relies on a patent pending stoichiometric ratio controlled method which maximises natural gas engine performance with AMT transmission, he said.
Innovative technological improvements also include new injectors and coupling the engine with the transmission.
“These features all provide very high performance as well as optimising fuel consumption,” he said.
The specification listing claims the torque measures up to 2,000 newton metres at 1,100 revolutions per minute, offering up to 15pc more power and 18pc more torque than the FPT 8.7 litre natural gas engine.
The Cursor 13 will be initially marketed in European truck models, where natural gas refuelling stations are becoming more common.
Australian market response is likely to depend on the economics of run-cost compared to diesel, given the price of natural gas in Australia, as well as the practicalities of natural gas refuelling for long-haul.
- Sharon O’Keeffe travelled to and attended the FPT technology day as a guest of FPT Powertrain Technologies