Five heavy-duty trucks equipped with Westport Innovations’ High-Pressure Direct-Injection (HPDI) technology and fueled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) are beginning a one-year demonstration project along Canada’s busy Highway 401.
Challenger Motor Freight will operate five new Volvo trucks equipped with 15-liter, 450-hp Cummins ISX engines equipped with Westport’s HPDI-LNG technology will travel Canada-US routes between Ontario and Michigan, routes dubbed by the project partners as “The Clean Air Corridor”. A new LNG fuel station has been installed at Challenger’s truck terminal in London, Ontario to support fueling of the trucks during the one-year demonstration project.
Westport and Cummins are also working on the HPDI-LNG technology with NREL as part of the Next Generation Natural Gas Vehicle (NGNGV) program. (Earlier post.)
The deployment is part of a development and demonstration project that received funding of $1 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a foundation created by the Government of Canada that operates a $550 million fund to support clean technologies that address issues of climate change, clean air, water and soil quality. In addition, an investment of $2 million has been leveraged by a Westport-led consortium, for a total project value of $3 million. Consortium members include Challenger Motor Freight Inc., Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc., Natural Resources Canada and Transport Canada.
LNG provides two-and-a-half times the energy storage as the same volume of compressed natural gas (CNG), which allows for on-board fuel capacity on the Challenger trucks to achieve 500-mile (800 km) range. LNG imports to the United States made up less than two per cent of the gas consumed in 2004, but analysts predict that LNG imports will account for 15%–20% of US natural gas consumption by 2025.
The Westport HPDI system directly injects a small quantity of pilot diesel fuel into the engine cylinder to provide diesel-like compression ignition for natural gas. This gives the engine the efficiency and low-speed torque advantages of compression ignition while using natural gas as the primary fuel and significantly reducing emissions.
New features in this generation of HPDI-LNG development include the first deployment of Westport’s proprietary low heat-leak LNG tanks with integrated LNG pumps, higher pressure improved common-rail injection system for better combustion and emissions at all operating conditions, and a high reliability integrated fuel conditioning module (FCM) that monitors and regulates fuel flow to the engine.
By coupling these design features with the advanced turbocharger and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) control from the Cummins diesel engine, the next generation HPDI-LNG system delivers 450 horsepower and 1,650 lb-ft of torque with the same or better fuel economy of the latest diesel engines.
The new technology is expected to produce 50% lower emissions of NOx compared to the first generation systems while retaining particulate matter (PM) at approximately 80% lower than today’s standards. In addition to combining low NOx and PM with high fuel efficiency, the HPDI system also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20%–25% compared to equivalent diesel trucks. This emission reduction is due largely to the HPDI technology substituting natural gas for diesel fuel in the combustion process, with a small amount of diesel fuel injected to provide ignition.