BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable was in Peterlee today to launch a massive £40m crackdown on the UK’s carbon emissions.
The town’s giant Caterpillar plant, on the North West Industrial Estate, was today revealed as the base for a new national programme to increase fuel and engine efficiency in heavy duty vehicles by a third.
The exciting new research and development project won’t create jobs immediately, but it will lead to new technology for HGV lorries, coaches, buses and tractors across the country.
Experts say vehicles which incorporate the new technology will be on sale by 2020 and Caterpillar’s Peterlee base was chosen because of the company’s worldwide reputation.
Mr Cable announced an initial £3m investment. Caterpillar is also the preferred supplier of a later £9m demonstration phase, out of the £40m set aside for the project.
The scheme will use a Caterpillar 725 Series articulated truck during the demonstration phase to show how the predicted benefits translate into the real world.
Mr Cable said: “The creation of this new £40m programme is welcome news as we move forward in our transition to a low carbon economy and renewed growth.”
Five other private sector members will play a part, BP, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell.
Caterpillar’s vice president and chief technology officer Tana Utley said the programme would “help us identify the next generation of breakthroughs in vehicle efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction for these trucks and other Caterpillar products”.
The energy efficiency programme has been developed by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).
ETI chief Dr David Clarke said: “It is critical that we develop technologies that are affordable for the vehicles industry as well as accelerating the delivery of clean and secure energy solutions.”