OPEN 2015
Columbus, Indiana
Project Term:
02/09/2016 - 08/08/2018

Technology Description:

Cummins Corporate Research & Technology will develop an advanced high efficiency natural gas-fueled internal combustion engine for high-power distributed electricity generation. The team is seeking to achieve 55% brake thermal efficiency while maintaining low exhaust emissions. The enabling technology is wet compression, where fine droplets of water are sprayed directly into the engine cylinders, causing the charge temperature to drop and thereby prevent the onset of damaging engine knock at high compression ratios. Since it takes less energy to compress cooler air, the savings from reduced compression work can be passed on to increase the net engine output. Wet compression is a transformative technology that dramatically improves engine efficiency while still allowing for conventional engine manufacturing methods at existing facilities.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Cummins Corporate Research & Technology will develop a natural gas-fueled internal combustion engine for distributed electricity generation with the goal of achieving 55% efficiency while maintaining low emissions.


Increased distributed generation has the potential to enhance energy security in the U.S. by limiting grid-scale vulnerabilities, and helping large energy consumers to become more energy self-reliant and less susceptible to outages.


High efficiency NG engines for stationary power generation will reduces emissions leading to better air quality.


Developing this technology within a U.S. company will ensure a technological lead in engine design and manufacturing. Cost-effective NG-fueled power plants could offer consumers lower electricity and heating costs.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Christopher Atkinson
Project Contact:
Mr. John Pendray
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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