Westport begins natural gas demonstration vehicle project

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With funding assistance from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), Westport Fuel Systems on Thursday, April 23, began a two-year demonstration vehicle project for a Class 8 truck equipped with its liquefied natural gas (LNG) system. Westport says this project will allow potential customers to experience firsthand the performance of a LNG-fueled truck, which slashes air pollution compared to traditional diesel-powered engines.

MSRC is providing $100,000 in funding to help purchase the Class 8 truck, which is fitted with Westport HD technology: a Westport GX engine and High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) LNG system. “With this demonstration vehicle, we look forward to offering vehicle operators an opportunity to experience the benefits of using the Westport HD technology,” says Dr. Michael Gallagher, president and chief operating officer of Westport, based in Diamond Bar, Calif.

In the last two years, Westport says MSRC has awarded it $3.5 million in funding to provide rebates to buyers that purchase Westport HD technology; however, recognizing that prospective customers want direct validation that the LNG-powered GX engine can haul the same loads as their current diesel trucks, MSRC is supporting Westport’s request to re-assign $100,000 in funding for a demonstration truck.

“Westport HD for Class 8 heavy-duty vehicles utilizes leading-edge technology that significantly reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases while maintaining the power, torque and reliability of the diesel engine,” Gallagher says. “We applaud and appreciate the MSRC’s efforts to support the adoption of this technology and are pleased to be a part of their work to fund local clean transportation projects to improve our air quality.”

Since its introduction two years ago, Westport says it has sold more than 150 Westport HD systems to customers in the United States. As part of Westport HD, HPDI is designed to inject natural gas at high pressure into the engine, which reproduces key assets of diesel engines, such as high efficiency over the speed and torque operating range, high torque capability and robust reliability; furthermore, vehicles employing this technology have their nitrogen oxide emissions reduced by about 40 percent relative to average diesel emission requirements, and greenhouse gas emissions reduced by up to 21 percent relative to comparable diesel trucks.

“Much of our air pollution comes from diesel heavy-duty trucks, and the MSRC strives to develop innovative solutions to help combat tough air pollution problems,” says MSRC Chair Ron Roberts. “With funding from the MSRC, heavy-duty vehicle operators have the opportunity to take advantage of cutting-edge clean air technology, such as Westport HD.”

Over the next two years, Westport will demonstrate the vehicle with prospective customers in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). As part of the agreement with MSRC, the truck must stay within the boundaries of the SCAQMD for 75 percent of its operation. Westport Fuel Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westport Innovations Inc.