The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Omnitek Engineering Corp.’s application for diesel-to-natural gas conversion technology for Navistar’s heavy-duty DT466E and DT530E engines.

“Approval of our technology by the EPA represents a significant milestone for the company and we anticipate tremendous domestic demand to convert diesel truck and bus engines to operate on liquified natural gas (LNG), compressed natural (CNG) or renewable biogas,” said Omnitek CEO Werner Funk. “During the 20-year life span of diesel engines, routine overhauls are required and service budgets established in advance. By converting these diesel engines to operate on natural gas during a routine engine overhaul, truck operators can realize a significant return on investment, with much lower fuel costs and cleaner combustion.”

The approval adds 1.5 million potential conversions to the marketplace, he noted. According to the company, the technology has been used on more than 5,000 engines outside the United States since 2001. Funk said he expects to obtain approval from the EPA to use the technology on other diesel engine models.

Omnitek’s website claims it can convert five to seven diesel engines a week for $7,000-12,000 per engine. It also manufactures natural gas engines for $17,000-20,000.

Navistar is looking to expand its natural gas offerings. Last year it announced plans to offer the broadest range of Class 6-8 CNG/LNG-powered vehicles for medium and heavy-duty vehicles (see Daily GPI, Feb. 2, 2012).

Globally there are an estimated 117 LNG stations, while CNG stations number an estimated 20,000 or more. Pike Research has estimated that there may be 930,000 additional natural gas vehicles in the fleet space worldwide by 2019 (see Daily GPI, Jan. 21). At current prices the accumulated cost savings of CNG over diesel are said to exceed the premium of industrial natural gas vehicles over their diesel-powered counterparts in about two years (see Daily GPI, April 9, 2012).

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