Advanced Engine Components Limited (AEC) has commenced a development and promotion strategy for Isuzu trucks, fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), for the Australian market.
This initiative will benefit significantly from the new LNG capacity and infrastructure becoming available in Western Australia (previous post). The first LNG refueling station, for the heavy duty vehicle market, is planned to be operational in Perth, Western Australia by the last quarter of 2007. ACE understands this site to be the first of a planned refueling infrastructure, for heavy duty vehicles, throughout WA and into the Eastern States.
AEC has developed, commissioned and tested 190hp, 200hp and 250hp compressed natural gas (CNG) versions of the 7.8 litre Isuzu engine. The first of the ACE/Isuzu CNG production vehicles has traveled more than 65,000 kilometers in active service. As a result, development of LNG versions of these engines will be completed relatively quickly.
In the next stage, AEC plans to develop LNG versions of the Isuzu (Euro 4) 275hp and 425hp engines. LNG versions of these engines should be available to the market by early 2008.
The AEC Natural Gas Vehicle System (NGVS) has already been developed for operation on LNG powered engines. These LNG engines were developed under existing contracts with Weichai Peterson Gas Engine Company and Wuxi Xilian Diesel Limited Company in China. The Weichai/ACE LNG engine is currently being trialed in trucks for the Shaanxi Province and the Xilian/ACE LNG engine is being trialed in trucks for the Beijing Olympics.
AEC has also entered a joint venture with Thailand-based Monika Motors Ltd to build new natural gas powered vehicles and repower existing diesel vehicles with new natural gas engines. ACE has a 21 per cent interest in the venture. The initial sales target is of a minimum 600 engines per year and 62 new natural gas engines have already been ordered.