Diesel is not dead; it’s part of the path forward

red X15 natural gas engine on a white background

With all the talk about the realities of climate change and a decarbonised future, you could be forgiven for thinking the end is near for the heavy-duty diesel engine.

So, is diesel dead?

“Diesel’s not dead,” says an emphatic Mike Fowler, director and general manager of on-highway business for Cummins Asia Pacific. “In fact, Cummins is spending more today on diesel engine R&D than at any other time in its 100-year history.”

Discussing the massive investment Cummins is making in new powertrain technologies to reach its net-zero carbon commitment by 2050, Fowler is quick to point out that Cummins’ internal combustion engines will continue to provide increasingly cleaner, more cost-effective power to customers, potentially serving as an important bridge to carbon-free technologies.

“Heavy-duty trucking today requires the power density and operational range that only diesel internal combustion can provide,” he says. 

“This is particularly relevant in Australia with its challenging operating environment. In fact, Australia could well be the last market in the world to move away from diesel in the heavy-duty trucking segment.

“The reality is that over the last 20 years or so, Australia has probably taken more carbon out of its freight task than any other country on a tonne-kilometre basis of freight moved. While most of the improvement has come from a move toward higher productivity vehicles, the fuel efficiency improvements in heavy-duty powertrains have also been significant.” 

Cummins’ strategies for a zero-emissions future are laid out in a technical and policy roadmap, Destination Zero, which also outlines interim goals to be accomplished by 2030, one of which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) from newly-sold products by 25%.

Fowler points out that upcoming diesel technology will focus on improved fuel efficiency to reduce carbon emissions and that a new big bore Cummins truck engine in the pipeline will provide fuel savings of more than 10% compared with the current industry-leading X15 Euro 6 engine.

“As well as the fuel efficiency gains, the new platform will feature higher power and torque – higher than the current top-rated X15 – and up to 200 kg in weight reduction,” he reveals. “When you look at Australia’s high gross weights and PBS combinations, big bore ICE has a long road ahead whether that be clean diesel, lower carbon liquid fuels, natural gas or even hydrogen.”

Cummins’ development work on the internal combustion engine (ICE) is focused on more than just diesel.

The company recently announced a 15-litre hydrogen-fuelled ICE to advance zero-carbon technology. While development is in the early days, the hydrogen engine achieves zero carbon emissions.

Importantly, the hydrogen ICE is seen as a low cost zero-carbon solution for high load factor, high utilisation applications where battery-electric and fuel cell solutions can’t meet operational requirements and aren’t yet economically viable.

An entirely new 500 hp natural gas engine, using the same base 15-litre platform as the hydrogen ICE, has also been announced by Cummins for the heavy-duty truck market. Again, it is part of Cummins’ broad-based strategy to reduce CO2 emissions with an expanded line-up of new fuel agnostic platforms.

Fowler points out that Cummins’ recent acquisition of Jacobs Vehicle Systems – maker of the Jake Brake which Cummins’ founder, Clessie Cummins, invented more than 60 years ago – adds other critical technologies, cylinder deactivation and advanced thermal management, to the company’s armory.

Cylinder deactivation technology shuts down engine cylinders at highway cruising speeds or very low engine loads to improve fuel economy while still keeping exhaust aftertreatment systems hot and operating at optimal temperatures to limit criteria emissions such as NOx and PM.

“Cummins has reinvented itself in recent years to become a genuine powertrain company,” Fowler points out, referring to the company’s acquisition of leading axle and brake supplier Meritor and also its established joint venture with Eaton under the banner Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies.

The Meritor acquisition is a stunning multi-billion-dollar move that will position Cummins as one of the few companies able to provide integrated powertrain solutions across both internal combustion and electric power applications. Meritor’s eAxle, in particular, is seen as a critical integration point within hybrid and electric drivetrains.

Strategic partnerships have also established Cummins as a force in the diesel-powered medium-duty truck segment going forward. Isuzu, Hino and Daimler have all announced plans to use Cummins diesel engines in their medium trucks while Cummins is also working with Isuzu to develop a battery electric powertrain. 

Cummins’ strategy outlined in Destination Zero is to go further, faster to reduce the greenhouse gas and air quality impacts of its products and reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in a way that is best for customers and stakeholders.

The company is committed to investing in an energy diverse future where a broad portfolio of power options will be offered – a future that includes clean diesel and hydrogen internal combustion, natural gas, alternative fuels, hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell electric.

Seven Cummins employees receive prestigious Julius Perr Innovation Award

recipients holding trophies

Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) announced the 2022 recipients of the company’s most prestigious technical award, the Julius Perr Innovation award. Now in its 23rd year, the award recognizes employees who demonstrated excellence in innovation and technology by developing significant intellectual property for our products.

This year’s recipients are Cummins employees Richard Ancimer, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li, Tim Proctor, Michael Wilson, and Aleksey Yezerets. Acknowledgement also goes to Neal Currier, Ed Hodzen, and Vivek Sujan.


The first winning patents relate to the mitigation of sulfur accumulation on a selective reduction catalyst (SCR).

Ancimer, Currier, Kamasamudram, Kumar, and Yezerets developed methodologies to not only monitor this accumulation of sulfur but regenerate the catalysts faster, and at lower temperatures, through the synchronization of engine operating conditions during regeneration. Their work is employed on Cummins products, such as Euro IV/V/VI, EPA 2010, Tier IV, and in regions high sulfur fuel, and will likely continue playing a role in meeting future emission regulations.

Wilson developed a different approach targeted for the service channel in areas with high sulfur fuel, particularly the Euro V products in South America.  A key feature of his invention involves the deactivation of cylinders, and his work has been cited numerous times by non-Cummins patents.

For second winning technology, Hodzen, Li, Proctor, and Sujan invented the SmartTorque2 (ST2) feature, which is part of the award-winning Eaton Cummins SmartAdvantageTM  Powertrain. This feature automatically senses a variety of factors, such as grade and weight, and selects the optimum torque for performance and fuel economy. The invention was first in production in 2013 and has been a standard offering of the X15 product since 2017.


This award was created to honor Dr. Julius Perr, who retired from Cummins in 1997 as Vice President - Fuel Systems.  Dr. Perr, who passed away in 2005, joined Cummins in 1958 after fleeing Communist Hungary.  He made Columbus, Indiana (USA) home and began a 41-year career as a Cummins engineer and leader.  In his lifetime, he was named the inventor or co-inventor of 186 granted patents and remains an inspiration to many in our industry.


The Julius Perr Innovation Awards Ceremony was held in-person with senior Technical Leaders, members of the Perr family, the 2022 Perr Award winners and their guests on October 18, 2022. Four winners, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li and Michael Wilson, were able to attend in person to receive their awards. The other three winners were unable to attend, but their award and special recognition have been provided to them separately.


Members of a selection committee, made up of leaders from across all business units, meet yearly to evaluate patents that have created significant value for our products. In 2022, over 1,100 patents were reviewed for consideration before selecting the final patent award recipients. Since 2000, only 84 patents have been selected for this prestigious award with each invention adding value to our brand promise of innovation and dependability.

Congratulations again to the 2022 recipients on the honor of winning the 2022 Julius Perr Innovation Award.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins Inc. and EDF Renewables enters into a distributed photovoltaic Power Purchase Agreement

contract signing ceremony

Covering seven manufacturing entities with a total installed capacity of 16.5 MWp, reducing carbon emissions in facilities and operations significantly.

Cummins China and EDF Renewables signed a distributed photovoltaic PowerPurchase Agreement in Beijing, aiming to cut down electricity consumption from traditional grids and reduce carbon emissions in Cummins facilities & operations. Cummins will provide the roof & ground space and will consume the generated solar power, EDF Renewables will be responsible for the investment, installation and operation of solar PV generation equipment. WANG Ning, Vice President of Cummins, and Erwann Debos, CEO of EDF Renewables China, completed the signing of the contract on behalf of both parties. 

EDF is a global leader in renewable energy, including wind and solar. EDF Renewables has profound technical capabilities and service experience in the field of photovoltaic power generation. The partnership will install distributed photovoltaic power generation system at 7 manufacturing entities in Beijing, Wuxi, Wuhan, Chongqing and Liuzhou . With a total installed capacity of 16.5 MW, the project can provide about 280 million kWh of power generation in 20 years, saving about 158,000 tons of carbon emissions. 

"We are pleased that Cummins and EDF are working together in the field of distributed photovoltaics to provide new opportunities for Cummins to expand green energy consumption and reduce emissions from plant operations. It will help Cummins achieve renewable electricity use accounting for more than 10% of total electricity consumption by 2023 in China region. This project will further enable our capability in green production and operation, and position us well for sustainable development,” said WANG Ning. 

At present, the use of building roof to install photovoltaic system is a very effective way for corporate customers to reduce their carbon emissions. Cummins and EDF signed a 20-year power purchase contract, which can achieve carbon emission reduction targets and electricity cost savings at the same time. 

Erwann Debos said at the signing ceremony, "We are honored to provide Cummins with distributed photovoltaic Renewables solutions to help Cummins achieve its PLANET 2050 strategic goals. EDF Renewables aims to work hand in hand with customers to provide the most advanced integrated energy management solutions around the low-carbon transformation of enterprises, and to empower the global energy transition."

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins Turbo Technologies gears up to launch the 8th Generation Holset Series 400 Variable Geometry Turbocharger

8th generation HE400VGT

As emission regulations become more stringent, Cummins Turbo Technologies (CTT) is committed to helping customers reduce emissions and advance fuel economy through innovative new air handling technologies.

Built on 70 years of innovation and dependability, CTT and Holset have introduced a wide range of industry leading air handling technologies. In 2021, CTT launched the 7th generation 400 series Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) to help engine manufacturers meet future emission standards and offer best in class fuel economy. At Cummins, innovation never stops as we continue to advance our current technologies, while developing new ones. With this philosophy in mind, CTT is now preparing to introduce the 8th generation HE400VGT. It is specifically engineered to have top of class performance, reliability and durability for the 10-15L heavy-duty truck market.  

CTT has made significant improvements in turbocharger performance with its latest generation of products. The 8th generation turbocharger will have 5 percent improved efficiency over the previous 7th generation turbo.

In addition to offering improved turbocharger efficiency, which helps customers in engine downsizing, the HE400VGT will have a better transient response, enhanced compressor side oil leak robustness and dual sourcing on key components for supply chain flexibility.

Key highlights of the Holset HE400VGT include a new bearing system and near zero clearances to enhance performance and transient response. These enhancements are achieved by tighter clearances on the compressor stage, lower radial movement on the turbine stage, improved surface finish and new aero designs.

Scheduled to be launched in 2024, this turbocharger incorporates a next generation smart electric actuator and speed sensor with the latest chipset to enhance performance and durability. The dual sourcing strategy helps mitigate any unforeseen electronics shortages that have recently plagued the industry.

Along with the performance enhancements, the latest generation turbocharger will offer best-in-class performance for on-highway heavy-duty trucks coupled with improved fuel economy at key vehicle running points.

“CTT has incorporated exciting new technologies in our latest HE400VGT to help engine customers meet strict emissions requirements and reduce their total cost of ownership,” said Matthew Franklin, Director – Product Management & Marketing. As customers establish their strategies for upcoming emission regulations, CTT continues to build on the success of previous turbocharger launches to deliver innovative products that meet the challenges of our customers’ engine development needs without compromising on performance. 

Want to learn more about CTT’s products and technical innovation? Sign up for our quarterly newsletter today.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Pride of the Clyde

Western Ferries’ Sound of Soay powered by twin Cummins 19 litre engines

For almost 50 years Western Ferries has been a lifeline for the west of Scotland, keeping communities connected and helping to relieve congestion on the roads

The cherry red boats of the Western Ferries fleet are a much-loved feature of life on the western outskirts of Glasgow, plying their way back and forth across the Firth of Clyde like clockwork.

The four Cummins-powered boats – Sound of Scarba, Sound of Shuna, Sound of Seil and Sound of Soay – work what over the past 48 years has become Scotland’s busiest ferry route.

Western Ferries is a private company whose story began in the late 1960s when it pioneered high frequency roll-on roll-off (RORO) ferry operations in Scotland’s West Highlands and Islands. Before its arrival on the scene, cars would have to be hoisted on and off.

After helping to transform life on some of the remoter communities, the directors of Western Ferries switched their attention to the Clyde, and with two former Swedish ferries they launched a route between Hunter’s Quay, just outside the town of Dunoon, and McInroy’s Point in Gourock in June 1973 – a crossing which spares a car journey of what would be around 90 minutes.

The route effectively links the busy central belt of Scotland with the region of Argyll and Bute and its many islands, including Bute, Jura, Mull and Islay, via the Cowal Peninsula. It is the only car ferry across the Clyde.

Each crossing – and there are around 32,000 of them each year - burns roughly the same amount of fuel as would be used by three or four cars driving round by road, so with a capacity of 40 cars (and 220 passengers) per crossing, Western Ferries is helping to remove thousands of tonnes of harmful emissions from the atmosphere each year.

The Western Ferries fleet provides a vital personal mobility connection for residents on either side of the Clyde and puts the Glasgow business centre within an hour from Dunoon, a pleasant commute made all the more enjoyable by the friendly crew.

You can get a good idea of the affection in which Western Ferries is held by its patrons by looking at the company’s Facebook page which is full of great pictures and warm comments.

Weather permitting, Western Ferries operates every day of the year, including Christmas Day, and maintains a regular but flexible timetable that allows it to respond quickly to demand. There are no advance bookings – you just turn up and go – and there are sailings from either terminal every 20 minutes throughout most of the day and every 15 minutes at peak times. The first sailing of the day is just after 6am and the last one is at midnight, or 1am at weekends.

“Reliability is everything to us, which is why Cummins Scotland has such an important role to play with our operations,” said technical director Graeme Fletcher. “We aim to have all four of our boats ready to sail for eight months of the year, and for the other four months one of them will be undergoing scheduled service and maintenance.”

Western Ferries likes to pay back into the community it serves and makes its ferries available for free emergency runs outside its normal operating hours.

“We’ve had our fair share of mothers in labour, and quite a few babies born during the crossing, which is why you’ll come across a few Shunas and Sandas in the Dunoon area,” said Graeme. (Sound of Sanda operated until 2013 and is now MV Loch Scavaig, a dive support vessel).

The modern Western Fleet runs entirely on Cummins propulsion power. Scarba and Shuna, both of which were designed and built at the Fergusons shipyard in Port Glasgow, entered service in 2001 and 2003 respectively. They are equipped with twin Cummins KTA19-M3 engines developing 600 hp at 1800 rpm and giving the ferries a top speed of over 12 knots.

Scarba was the first of the two vessels designed and built by the yard specifically for the route. The company ordered two more new ferries in 2012 from Cammell Laird of Birkenhead on Merseyside. Seil and Soay were delivered in October 2013 and are equipped with twin Cummins QSK19-M engines developing 600 hp at 1800 rpm.

They can also reach 12 knots. All four ferries use an azimuth thruster (Rolls-Royce Aquamaster) system for ease of manoeuvrability and time efficiency. It means the vessels can shuttle between terminals without the need to turn around, safely stopping within 25 metres.

“I’ve had a lot of experience in deep sea operations and have always heard good things about Cummins engines, so Cummins was top of our list when we were looking at our propulsion options for our first new-build vessels,” said Graeme, who started his career on oil tankers before switching to ferry operations around the British Isles and joining Western Ferries in 1999.

“Based on a decade of experience with Cummins Scotland, we had no hesitation returning to them when the next two vessels were being considered. We weren’t looking for anything revolutionary: We loved the simplicity and robustness of the engines, the torque profile for our short journeys was ideal, and we were very happy with the fuel efficiency.

“We were very confident that the chosen Cummins propulsion package was efficiently matched with the hull design and that would help us to run as environmentally-friendly as possible. We incorporated LED lighting technology and enhanced heat recovery to further reduce our energy consumption.”

Damien Scudder, technical manager of Western Ferries, said beyond the performance and reliability of the Cummins engines, the company had come to rely on outstanding service support from the Cummins team based in Cumbernauld, about an hour away. “It’s a good, strong working relationship,” said Damien, speaking to us from aboard Sound of Seil in dry dock where Cummins technicians were busy overhauling the vessel’s QSK19 to keep it in optimum condition.

“We understand each other’s business really well and our servicing is always done at the most expedient times. Our route may be short and the waters of the Clyde are pretty sheltered but the duty cycles are intense and it’s vital to maintain a rigorous approach to maintenance.”

This article is our cover story in The Cummins Magazine:

The Cummins Magazine - click here to read online

Cummins Europe

Cummins opened its first site in Europe in 1956. Today it has 8 manufacturing sites and more than 6,700 employees in the region. Cummins works hard to provide advanced technologies supported by a long-established service network across Europe. Cummins is committed to investing in Europe through Research and Technology, ensuring Cummins’ technical experts are developing innovations of the future.

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