A Lancashire-based company which specialises in green dual fuel engine management technology has signed a trial deal with an unnamed global truck manufacturer.
Clean Air Power, based in Leyland, is seen as global leader in its field.
One of its investors is the Russian billionaire and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.
Now it has signed a deal which could lead to a dual fuel engine for heavy duty vehicles being developed for a market in South East Asia.
This is the first programme to be awarded through its cooperation agreement with international engineering group Ricardo signed in September.
John Pettitt, chief executive officer of Clean Air Power, said: “It is a pleasure to be announcing a concept study so quickly after entering the cooperation agreement with Ricardo.
“This is a very exciting but challenging programme which highlights the interest in our technology in major world markets including Asia.”
Clean Air Power’s dual fuel engine uses a diesel fuel injector like a “liquid spark plug”, using natural gas with diesel pilot ignition.
The firm says natural gas comprises as much as 90 percent of the overall fuel mix, resulting in cleaner and cheaper running costs.
The company said the aim was to use Clean Air Power’s Dual-Fuel combustion technology to “deliver an advanced dual fuel engine that not only achieves its emissions objective but also reduces the extent of emissions after-treatment required by the base diesel engine”. Providing the concept phase is a success, the agreement will then enter a second stage to bring the advanced dual fuel engine to start of production.
Mr Abramovich’s Ervington Investments and Zara Shvidler, who is married to Eugene Shvidler, another ultra-wealthy Russian, were described as “two new strategic investors” by the Leyland-based firm last year, when they bought a stake equivalent to about 1.5 per cent as part of a £5m fundraising.
After “significant institutional interest”, Ervington and Shvidler ended up with a stake in the Leyland firm said to be worth around £350,000 each.