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Mining Vehicles
The huge vehicles that haul ore from mines are strong candidates for natural gas, commercialization held up by a lack of fueling infrastructure and available product.
That scenario is beginning to change, however, as suppliers are beginning to promote equipment for engine conversions, and demonstration projects are increasing. Most notable are Caterpillar 793D coal trucks in Wyoming which entered service this year following trials of Cat 777C vehicles in Kentucky. Florida-based GFS Corp has since commercialized kits for conversion of the two types.
Separately, Westport Innovations and Caterpillar have disclosed an agreement to apply Westport’s high-pressure direct injection technology to offroad engines, allowing a higher displacement of diesel.
Engineering challenges include fitting natural gas fuel tanks onboard the vehicles, and – especially in the case of dedicated-natural gas and high-pressure designs, devising pumps that can deliver fuel fast enough for the mining trucks’ high-displacement engines.

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