Westport Innovations, a global leader in gaseous-fueled engines and fuel systems, and Perseus LLC, a US.-based private equity fund management company, have completed definitive agreements for a strategic investment of approximately C$22.1 million (US$20.1 million) in Westport to be completed in two separate tranches.
The closing of the first tranche of C$13.8 million is committed and will be funded on or before 15 July 2006. The parties also have agreed to a further investment of approximately C$8.3 million to be used to pursue new business opportunities, subject to shareholder approval.
The proceeds will fund the commercial launch of High-Pressure Direct-Injection (HPDI) LNG truck engines in North America and Australia, development of Westport’s international business ventures, and general working capital requirements.
|HPDI: The diesel fuel is delivered just prior to top-dead-center, followed by the main fuel quantity of natural gas.|
High Pressure Direct Injection relies on late-cycle high-pressure injection of a gaseous fuel, such as natural gas, into the combustion chamber of a diesel engine.
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 assist with the ignition of natural gas, a small amount of diesel fuel is injected into the engine cylinder using a dual-concentric needle injector the same injector followed by the main natural gas fuel injection. The diesel fuel is delivered just prior to top-dead-center, followed by the main fuel quantity of natural gas.
The diesel fuel acts as a pilot or “liquid spark plug” which ignites rapidly the hot combustion products then igniting the natural gas.
HPDI gives the engine the efficiency and low-speed torque advantages of compression ignition while using natural gas as the primary fuel. With HPDI engines, approximately 95% of the diesel fuel consumed in a diesel engine is displaced with natural gas.
Perseus also has successful holdings in Clean Energy Fuels Corp., of which both Westport and Perseus are shareholders.