|Cross-section through a double-walled LNG tank with integrated pump.|
Westport Innovations has signed a Letter of Intent to form a 50:50 joint venture company with Beijing Tianhai Industry Co. Ltd. (BTIC) of China to market and sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel tanks for the transportation market.
The fuel storage tanks will be produced in BTIC’s new Beijing cryogenic facility, currently under construction. The joint venture will leverage both parent companies resources for sales, engineering, and operational personnel.
The companies anticipate that the availability of joint venture LNG tanks in 2006 will help grow the natural gas vehicle market both in the US and China, with improved performance, reliability, and cost increasing the competitiveness of natural gas vehicles.
Products from the JV will support all LNG vehicles, regardless of engine manufacturer.
LNG is a purified natural gas that has been condensed into a liquid at atmospheric pressure by cooling it to approximately -160º C (-256º F). It provides two-and-a-half times the energy storage as the same volume of compressed natural gas (CNG), which allows for a longer driving range.
On-board a vehicle, the liquefied gas must be stored at that low temperature in a low heat-leak tank with an integrated LNG pump. Westport has been developing on-board LNG storage systems for a number of years, and recently deployed its tank technology on a HPDI-LNG test in Canada. (Earlier post).