|BWI LNG tank.|
Westport Innovations and Beijing Tianhai Industry Co. have formed a 50:50 owned, independent joint venture company—BTIC Westport (BWI)—to market liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel tanks for medium- and heavy-duty transportation applications. (Earlier post.)
BWI combines BTIC’s world-class cryogenic manufacturing expertise with Westport’s LNG tank and natural gas vehicle experience. The LNG tanks will be designed by Westport, and produced in BTIC’s new Beijing cryogenic facility.
The joint venture will sell tanks for installation on any vehicle, regardless of the natural gas engine manufacturer. (Westport is a supplier of natural gas engines and fuel systems.) BTIC and Westport will share equally in the profits on products developed and sold by the JV.
LNG is fast becoming an essential solution to global energy requirements and its use as a vehicle fuel is only just beginning. With the opening of the first LNG terminal in China last month, it is appropriate that our first JV in China will focus on delivering the world’s first LNG tank specifically developed for vehicle use.—David Demers, CEO of Westport
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.
|Cross-section through a double-walled LNG tank with integrated pump.|
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.
BTIC is the largest industrial gas, firefighting and CNG cylinder manufacturer in Asia, with output of more than 1.5 million units annually in facilities in Beijing and Tianjin. BTIC has also become the dominant supplier of CNG products in China with customers including Volkswagen, Citroën, Suzuki, Ford, and Volvo.