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A first in Canada: Gaz Métro Transportation Solutions participates in a demonstration project for natural gas-powered locomotives


Montreal, April 12, 2011 – Gaz Métro Transportation Solutions (GMTS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaz Métro whose mandate is to develop the market for natural gas as a fuel in Quebec, is proud to be taking part in developing a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine technology for locomotives, a first in Canada with two innovative partners: Westport Innovations and the Canadian National Railways Company (CN). This project, which aims to demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental viability of this technology, from design to supply, will receive $2.3-million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), an arm's-length, not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada.

Rail transportation: A new application for liquefied natural gas

A new LNG system for locomotives is to be developed by the Westport Innovations-CN-GMTS consortium. The initial stages of the project will consist in designing and testing, both in the plant and in the field, an LNG system for powering a locomotive.

GMTS will provide its LNG expertise during the tests and will be responsible for the logistics of fuel supply. “This demonstration project is important for developing the natural gas market, a cleaner and less expensive fuel. We salute the initiative of our partners, which will ultimately lead to locomotives running on LNG, as well as the vision and confidence shown by SDTC in developing this technology,” asserted Jean-Pierre Noël, General Manager of GMTS.

If all goes according to plan, the Consortium expects the prototype of an LNG-powered locomotive to be in operation in 2013.

Advantage of natural gas as a fuel

The interest in natural gas for use in transportation is not surprising. More economical than diesel, it also helps reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 25% as well as cut most of the atmospheric contaminants responsible for acid rain and smog.

The Canadian transportation sector is a significant source of GHG emissions. According to Environment Canada, the transportation sector was the source of 27% of total GHG emissions in Canada in 2007. Given that fuel accounts for one-fifth of the railway industry's expenses, the potential advent of a cleaner and less expensive technology is very promising for reducing GHG production in Canada.

Overview of Gaz Métro

With over $3.6 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is Quebec's leading natural gas distributor. Operating in this regulated industry for over 50 years, Gaz Métro has become the trusted energy provider to more than 180,000 customers in Quebec and 135,000 customers in Vermont while developing the skills and expertise needed to diversify beyond natural gas. In line with its prudent growth strategy, Gaz Métro is present in the electricity distribution market in Vermont and in the development of wind power projects in Quebec. Showing a competitive spirit, Gaz Métro is committed to its customers, Partners, employees and the community. www.gazmetro.com/blue.

For more information:
Audrey Giguère
Media and public relations
514-598-3449