NEWS RELEASE, 05/07/98

Media Advisory - New natural-gas powered bus premieres at UC Berkeley

By Janet Gilmore, Public Affairs

WHAT: News conference to debut a University of California, Berkeley, passenger bus recently converted from a diesel fuel engine to a new technology powered by natural gas. It is the first passenger bus in the world to use this technology, which is from Westport Innovations Inc. of British Columbia.

Following the press conference, the bus will begin its first route, picking up and dropping off passengers around the campus's perimeter.

WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: UC Berkeley, west side of Campanile.

WHO: Horace Mitchell, Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services, UC Berkeley

Nadesan Permaul, Director of Transportation, UC Berkeley

David Demers, President, Westport Innovations Inc.

Ellen Garvey, Executive Officer, Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Mark DeSaulnier, Board Member, California Air Resources Board


Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board listed diesel exhaust particulates as "toxic air contaminants." Studies have linked these particulates to cancer in humans.

Westport Innovations has developed a new technology that can quickly convert diesel engines to natural gas. Called High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI), the technology drastically reduces pollutant emissions while maintaining engine performance and efficiency.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District provided major funding to cover the cost of demonstrating this new technology on UC Berkeley's passenger buses. The regional agency's Transportation Fund for Clean Air specifically funds projects that reduce emissions from motor vehicles.

The UC Berkeley bus will begin its route after the press conference. Two more of the campus's buses will be converted and placed on the road in early 1999.

NOTE: At 1 p.m., an hour before the press conference, the newly converted bus will be on display along with actual displays of the engine components. Westport engineers will be on hand to answer technical questions.

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