Cummins Inc is opening a new Powertrain Test Facility on its Darlington campus, aiming to accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies.
The facility is designed to be fuel independent and will enable Cummins to develop and test a range of energy technologies, including the latest universal engine platforms with variants that can run on green hydrogen, renewable natural gas or sustainable diesel. Installation and testing capabilities will also be extended to hydrogen fuel cell and battery-electric powertrains.
Land preparation for the facility is now underway and the first phase of the £14 million investment is expected to be operational in May 2023.
According to Cummins, highly sophisticated dynamometers will test not only powertrains, but also chassis-installed powertrains and vehicles ranging in size from a compact SUV to heavy trucks over 44 tons or a double-decker bus. Off-road equipment, including construction equipment and farm tractors, is also dyno tested.
Jonathan Atkinson, executive director of Cummins On-highway Business in Europe, said the facility will be an important part of the company’s Destination Zero strategy to address sustainability challenges.
“The new facility will further enhance Cummins European Technical Operations’ ability to introduce low-to-zero low-carbon energy solutions and meet the upcoming Euro VII regulations for very low emissions, which are likely to come into effect around 2025,” he noted.
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The establishment of the new Powertrain test facility promises to provide opportunities for upskilling current employees at the Cummins Darlington campus as well as recruitment and training of new employees.
With an area of 738 m², the two-storey facility will also generate its own sustainable power. The heavy-duty dynamometers and test cells will contain energy recovery systems to generate electricity. This will be exported to the Cummins site’s ring main, which will provide more opportunities for on-site self-generation. The water consumption of the cooling towers will also be reduced by collecting rainwater, using a similar system already in place at the factory.
Automotive National Officer for Unite, Steve Bush, welcomed Cummins’ investment in the Darlington plant, commenting: “It is clear that Cummins is at the forefront of the JUST initiative, transitioning to a carbon neutral economy in a fair way that no one is behind. , and I urge the government to support them in their efforts to transition completely.
“Manufacturers like Cummins need to be supported with an industrial strategy that not only enables development, but also demonstrates global leadership in this area.”