TWO St Helens firms are celebrating after winning 1998 Queen's Awards.

GEC Alsthom Ruston Diesels Limited, based in Newton-le-Willows, were awarded the Queen's Award for Export Achievement 1998. This is the second Export Award for the company, which manufactures medium speed diesel engines and spare parts,

In the last three years the company has more than doubled its exports and it now sends goods to Europe, the Middle and Far East, North America, Africa and Australasia. Ruston Diesels, which employs nearly 500 people, has also been successful in building up and maintaining a leading position in main propulsion engines for a new generation of high-speed ferries, which demand high power, low weight, high reliability and fuel efficiency.

Pilkington plc, which employees 35,300 people, received the Queen's Award for Environmental Achievement 1998 for the development of its 3RTMdeNO technology to significantly reduce the nitrogen oxide emissions from glass manufacturing furnaces.

The process in which the hydrocarbon fuels are injected in to the waste gas stream only increases production costs by one per cent and it enables nitrogen oxide to be reduced by 80 per cent or more.

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