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Westport and Isuzu Extend Work on CNG-Direct Injection; Target 25% Better Fuel Economy

23 December 2005

Isuzucngdi1
The ELF CNG-DI, a joint entry between Isuzu and Westport, won two gold medals at the 2003 Michelin Challenge Bibendum.

Westport Innovations and Isuzu have signed a new joint partnership and funding agreement for the application of Westport’s Compressed Natural Gas Direct Injection (CNG-DI) technologies on Isuzu engines and commercial vehicles.

The companies have been working together since 2000 on the technology, which provides up to 20% less greenhouse gas emissions (mainly carbon dioxide) than equivalent diesel engines, and improved fuel efficiency over current spark-ignited natural gas engines. (Earlier post.)

CNG-DI relies on late-cycle high-pressure injection of natural gas into the combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine in much the same fashion as diesel fuel. Just like in the diesel cycle, the natural gas is injected near the end of the compression stroke.

Cngdi

Natural gas has a higher ignition temperature than diesel (1,000° C vs. 500° C) and will not easily ignite at the temperatures and pressures in the combustion chamber of a normal diesel engine. To ignite the natural gas, a hot surface is used in the engine.

The hot surface within the ignition system is a ceramic-tipped glow plug operating between 1,200°C and 1,300°C. This is surrounded by a closed shield to ensure that ignition occurs in a robust manner, and that all the fuel jets are ignited. The ignition system is controlled to ensure that correct glow plug temperature is maintained at all times, providing optimum ignition performance and minimum glow plug temperature.

Use of natural gas reduces emissions, but the diesel-cycle diffusion combustion retains the power, torque, and efficiency of the diesel engine. The Westport catalyst-equipped, dedicated, monofuel natural gas engines have near-zero emissions of particulate matter.

Westport offers another technology approach to natural gas combustion in a diesel-cycle: High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI). This system pre-injects a small amount of diesel that combusts under compression prior to injecting the natural gas—the diesel thus functions as a liquid spark plug. (Earlier post.)

HPDI is a bifuel system, requiring diesel and natural gas ; CNG-DI is a monofuel system.

Under the new agreement, Isuzu will provide Westport with C$1.5 million (US$1.3 million) of new funding through the calendar year 2006 to demonstrate up to 25% improved fuel economy over current spark-ignited CNG engines. Westport’s CNG-DI system on a 5-liter 4-cylinder Isuzu diesel engine will meet Japan’s Post New Long Term Exhaust Emissions standard for 2009. Work will be performed in Isuzu and Westport engine laboratories in Japan and Canada.

Isuzu and Westport have agreed to work towards completing an Intellectual Property Rights agreement (IPR) during the first quarter of 2006. Upon completion of the IPR, Westport and Isuzu engineering teams will work on design for manufacturing and cost optimization.

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) is supporting the move towards CNG use in vehicles and away from diesel vehicles due to the reduction in emissions.

Japan currently has more than 24,000 natural gas vehicles and almost 300 refuelling stations. CNG in Japan currently retails at 63 to 76 yen per cubic meter; compared to gasoline at 124 yen per liter and diesel at 100 yen per liter. At these fuel prices, CNG is up to 54% less than gasoline and up to 38% less than diesel on an energy-equivalent basis.

Isuzu has had its most successful year ever for commercial CNG vehicles (CNGVs) in 2005 in Japan and plans to introduce CNGVs in China and several Southeast Asian countries.

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December 23, 2005 in Canada, Japan, Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Why not used BIODIESEL as the liquid spark plug? It seems like by using Natural Gas as the main fuel, you can obtain even higher compression ratios (higher ignition temperature) which in turn will increase thermal efficiency. As long as the Biodiesel to Natural Gas ratio can be kept very low, we can produce enough Biodiesel to "ignite" the Natural gas in millions of Natural Gas vehicles.

All of these advances in CNG are great. I'm a little woried though. CNG is not limitless, and is hard to transport globaly. I would hope that we (as a whole) would not become overly reliant on it (like California has become).

Over-reliance on any one source of energy=bad.

Methane from biomass can be generated via anaerobic digesters or an F-T process. The question for me is this a more efficient use of biomass than conversion to a liquid fuel?

Venture into CNG is great. For now the greatest thing in CNG is that its a cheap alternative fuel. The 2nd great thing is that it is cleaner(just like gasoline is cleaner then horse manure) and we can make bio-methane.

I think that using a glow plug instead of using biodiesel as ignition source is due the simplicity of the entire system. You know, more fuel to handle, more things to consider. And biodiesel is not suitable to cold country.

Natural Gas source maybe not renewable, but we have a massive amount of untapped natural gas, including those frozen in deep undersea, Methane Hydrates. But if all those resource burnt and become CO2 i cant imagin what will happen our planet. Even just releasing them into atmosphere will cause planetary disaster.

Can we make enough bio-methane to statisfy our thirst for fuel? Bio-methane can be considered because its raw material(manure, biomass) is dirt cheap and ever regenerating. But the cost for a biomethane plant is costly and I doubt that it will ever be cost competitive then their fossil counterpart.

And I really doubt that we can live long enough to ever see natural gas depleted.

"CNG is not limitless, and is hard to transport globaly. I would hope that we (as a whole) would not become overly reliant on it (like California has become)."

LNG (and CNG) is becoming a global business now, because there is a lot of natural gas resources out there that havent been exploited and demand for NG is increasing. The infrastructure is being built.

"Use of natural gas reduces emissions, but the diesel-cycle diffusion combustion retains the power, torque, and efficiency of the diesel engine. The Westport catalyst-equipped, dedicated, monofuel natural gas engines have near-zero emissions of particulate matter."

This is a good reason to move some of our transport fleet (eg buses, taxis) into CNG. This plus plug-in hybrids, where the electricity is generated via nuclear power, would add up to reduced oil dependence.

"Over-reliance on any one source of energy=bad."
Yes. One of many reasons to increase our use of nuclear energy.

Natural Gas source maybe not renewable, but we have a massive amount of untapped natural gas, including those frozen in deep undersea, Methane Hydrates. But if all those resource burnt and become CO2 i cant imagin what will happen our planet. Even just releasing them into atmosphere will cause planetary disaster."

2 points:
1) the energy released versus CO2 generated is better for natural gas than for oil, and better for oil than for coal.
So, by replacing uses of oil with uses of natural gas, we are cutting CO2 emissions.
2) In some areas of the world, they are still 'flaring off' natural gas. A waste than generates CO2! (eg Nigeria) creating LNG transports and moving that gas to markets will help curb CO2 emissions doubly then.

The only way to beat CNG as a low CO2 emissions transport method would be to have nuclear-power or renewables-based electricity feeding into electric cars/busses etc.

I,M looking Diesel to CNG kits for different vehicles

Well, methan is the main gas (40 -60%) in the biogas which should be collected from damp yard's and waste water cleaning system's. It means that there is enough methane easily awailable everywhere. You can also produce methane using pig shit (remember Mad Max III :) and all organic waste. It can be local produced clean energy (no transportation from harbours). There is enough methane for car's and truck's if we want it.

If someone knows manufacturer for those CNG kits for diesel engines I would like to know the manufacturer.

Anyway here in Finland we are already developed cheap citycar using hydrogen. The hydrogen is produced using small wind mill and solar panel. Cheap enough set for normal consumer and he can assembly the hydrogen manufacturing machine to his home. Basicly free miles after that. Unfortunatlu I do not know when we can start to manufacture it (finance ;-( could be better)

get this page about cng

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