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Westport and Delphi sign joint development agreement to commercialize natural gas injector technology for heavy-duty applications

Westport Innovations Inc. and Delphi Automotive have signed a joint development agreement under which the two will combine their intellectual property and engineering strengths to co-develop and manufacture high-pressure natural gas fuel injectors designed for multiple heavy-duty engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The first in a family of injectors to be developed will be one of the core components of Westport’s recently announced HPDI 2.0 fuel system. (Earlier post.)

Westport HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel in a diesel (compression ignition) cycle along with a small amount of diesel fuel as an ignition source. Core to the approach is a patented injector with a dual-concentric needle design. This allows small quantities of diesel fuel and large quantities of natural gas to be delivered at high pressure to the combustion chamber.

Under the agreement, Westport will be investing in critical equipment including but not limited to tooling, manufacturing, assembly, and end of line test equipment within Delphi’s global production footprint. The investment was previously identified in Westport's prospectus in September 2013 for dedicated production equipment of proprietary natural gas engine fuel injection equipment and will enable Westport to deliver high volumes of injectors for multiple OEM applications ranging from trucks to trains.

Delphi will provide injector designers and engineering resources to work with Westport’s experts to optimize design, development, manufacturing, and assembly of the injectors.

Based on current OEM projections, Delphi and Westport are intending to invest in and develop annual production capacity in excess of 100,000 injectors within the next 4 years.

Intellectual property rights arising from the development program will be jointly owned by Delphi and Westport and maintained by Westport.

Key injector features include:

  • Simplified design and smaller footprint. The single actuator design allows for simplified adaptability to multiple engine OEMs for various applications, resulting in lower development and product costs.

  • Higher performance. Superior actuator performance obtained by using Delphi’s high-performance twin valve technology results in increased flow capacity and compatibility with high power and high power density applications.

  • Improved reliability and longer life.

  • Lower cost. Cost of the new injector is expected to be significantly lower than current HPDI injectors, meeting both the commercial and performance demands of diverse markets globally from Europe to North America to China.

Delphi sees natural gas as an important part of mainstream transportation and believes that Westport HPDI will be the industry standard technology for natural gas-powered heavy-duty applications.

—Jeff Owens, chief technology officer of Delphi



This will drive a shift away from petroleum wherever natural gas is available.  By enabling fuel-switching, the price of NG will no longer be so separated from the price of oil.  This will have multiple knock-on effects:

  • The cost of road transport will climb more slowly than otherwise.
  • The cost of gas-fired electric generation will have a much higher floor.
  • Nuclear power plants will effectively print money.

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