Out with the old and in with the new-ish

VANCOUVER — Field tests in the near future will determine if a retrofit system for diesel trucks will reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.

NxtGen Emission Controls recently received funding from EnCana and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to the tune of $5.5 million for the project.

NxtGen’s syngas technology aims to assist diesel trucks in complying with stringent global emission reduction regulations and has the potential to enable manufacturers to increase fuel economy. When retrofitted onto existing trucks, NxtGen’s system is expected to reduce particulate emissions by 85 percent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 65 percent.

The new technology for diesel trucks is similar to catalytic converters for gasoline vehicles. The systems are being retrofitted onto 12 trucks in three fleets across
Canada, including three heavy-duty trucks owned by Mullen Trucking – one of EnCana’s key transportation providers in Alberta.

“NxtGen looks forward to working with EnCana and SDTC as we put our diesel emission control technology to the test in real world operations,” says Jeremy Holt, NxtGen president and CEO. “The support provided by EnCana and SDTC comes at a pivotal time for NxtGen. The field trials will enable us to demonstrate the effectiveness and reliability of NxtGen’s syngas emission reduction system for diesel trucks.”

NxtGen is a supplier of syngas emission control systems to the diesel engine industry for both retrofit and original equipment applications. The Burnaby, B.C.-based company was founded in 2004 and is privately held by its employees, management and institutional investors.

The NxtGen system is being developed during a two-year, $12.4 million program. SDTC is contributing $2.5 million to the project through its SD Tech Fund. The $550 million fund supports the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions that address climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil.

“Emissions from the transportation sector are major contributors to climate change and poor air quality,” says Vicky J. Sharpe, president and CEO of SDTC. “Should the NxtGen project be successful, it will be an important step forward for the transportation sector in Canada and around the world.”

B.C.’s provincial government moved forward with retrofit plans of its own last summer becoming the first province in Canada to make clean technology mandatory in older commercial trucks.

The regulation requires the mandatory installation of Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) filters, or an equally effective technology, by 2009. Installation of the DOC units will cost approximately $1,200 to $2,500 each and is estimated to affect 7,500 vehicles.

The regulation will affect only heavy-duty diesel vehicles 5,000 kilograms or more, including on-road commercially licensed diesel vehicles and government-owned fleet vehicles. Recreational vehicles, motor coaches, pickup trucks, construction equipment and unlicensed non-road vehicles will not be affected.

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