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Westport and Weichai launch WP12 engine and begin development of WD10 engine with Westport HPDI 2.0 technology

Westport Innovations Inc. has launched the final customer validation units of the next-generation Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport HPDI 2.0, earlier post) on the Weichai Westport WP12 engine platform. The Weichai Westport WP 12 HPDI is China’s first engine featuring Westport HPDI technology, delivering the power and performance of the base diesel engine, while replacing up to 95% of diesel fuel with cleaner burning, less expensive natural gas. Using Westport HPDI, the WP12 engine is expected to meet China V emission standards (roughly equivalent to Euro V) without a complex after-treatment system.

Weichai Westport plans to release 30 trucks for customer validation through 2014 with factory production expected to start in 2015. Weichai and Westport have also agreed to develop the 10-liter Weichai Westport WD10 engine with Westport HPDI 2.0. Weichai Westport will provide funding for the development with Westport supplying key components and engineering support.

Due to commonality with the WP12, the program is expected to take approximately two years with product availability planned for 2016. The current generation Weichai Westport WD10 and WP12 natural gas engines, using lean burn spark ignited technology, account for about 75% of Weichai Westport’s engine unit sales.

The market for natural gas in transportation in China is bourgeoning. According to the International Energy Agency, natural gas demand in China’s commercial road transport sector will reach around three times higher than today’s levels by 2035.

We are entering the largest market for natural gas trucks demonstrated by our joint venture with over 60,000 natural gas engines sold by Weichai Westport in the last two years, a growth of approximately 100 percent year over year. We have not only found common ground for success in China but are forging ahead with a second program aimed at making the benefits of advanced Westport HPDI 2.0 technology available on the majority of the natural gas engines sold by Weichai Westport.

—David Demers, CEO of Westport

According to NGVA Europe, China has the largest number of natural gas stations in the world, with 880,000 medium and heavy duty natural gas buses and trucks in 2013. In 2013, according to Power Systems Research, China produced 1,352,171 medium and heavy duty trucks and buses, of which 720,955 were Class 8 equivalents. The potential for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel in China continues to increase with the growing amount of LNG imports and terminals. According to Asian NGV Communications, China is expected to have 12 LNG import terminals in operation by the end of 2014.

Weichai is the largest powertrain manufacturer and owns the most integrated heavy-duty vehicle value chain in China, including the manufacturing of the engine, gearbox, axle, vehicle and other vehicle related parts. Weichai has more than 1,000 models of advanced diesel engine products, which are widely used on heavy-duty trucks, large buses, construction machinery, marine vessels and power generation.

Weichai reports a 36% share of Chinese heavy-duty vehicle market and more than 80% share of the above 5-ton construction machinery market. Weichai is one of the top engine suppliers in the world with annual sales of 300,000 engines.

HPDI 2.0. Westport HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel along with a small amount of diesel as an ignition source. The two fuels are not pre-mixed with the intake air before they enter the combustion chamber so there is no risk of engine knock and therefore no need to lower the compression ratio and peak torque output. As compared to diesel fuel, directly injected natural gas burns with a lower adiabatic flame temperature and has a low propensity to the formation of carbon particles and therefore offers inherent NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions benefits that provide more product engineering flexibility to allow powertrain designers to increase potential performance and customer value.

Features of HPDI include:

  • Optimization of combustion and higher efficiency: Provides improved fuel economy, which results in faster payback compared with Westport’s first generation HPDI product and compared to spark-ignited natural gas engines. Westport HPDI engine efficiency under highway operations is approximately 44% compared with spark ignited natural gas engines at approximately 37%. This means approximately 15% to 20% fuel economy improvement compared to spark ignited natural gas engines under typical operating conditions.

  • Proprietary HPDI 2.0 dual common rail fuel injector: Designed for adaptability and multiple OEM engines ranging from 10-liter to 100-liter displacement (typically, over 50 kW per cylinder output) featuring higher performance and controllability, greater reliability, and longer life, and much lower cost. Unique concentric dual-needle design with electro-hydraulic actuation and control.

  • Proprietary on-engine gas fuel conditioning module: Designed for more precise pressure control for even lower engine emissions and better fuel economy. New sealing designed for longer durability. Smaller size for ease of packaging on the engine.

  • Redesigned electronic control systems: Allows full integration with existing engine and vehicle controls.

  • Improved components: Completely reorganized supply chain allows for reduced production costs and increased scalability for manufacturing alongside existing diesel-based components for multiple OEMs. For example, the new gas control module (GCM) has been reduced in cost by approximately 60%.

  • System performance: High transient performance with integrated fuel storage and delivery systems that ensure proper fuel flow under all driving conditions, improving performance, driveability, and safety at lower cost.

  • Braking power. By using the same high compression ratio as diesel engines, Westport HPDI engines deliver engine braking power equivalent to that of diesel engines which is critical in many trucking applications. The reduced compression ratio used in SI engines results in an approximately equivalent reduction in engine braking performance.

  • Improved emissions profile: Westport HPDI 2.0 is designed to meet the latest in stringent emission regulations including Euro VI and EPA 2014 and is the only natural gas technology that can control methane emissions in-cylinder avoiding costly methane aftertreatment, according to the company.

  • Heat rejection: while the higher compression of HPDI 2.0 engines provide the heat necessary to auto-ignite their fuel, combustion in the Diesel thermodynamic cycle is more efficient, with more power and less heat produced than with the Otto thermodynamic cycle prevalent in SI engines. HPDI engines operate at similar engine temperatures as diesel engines, reducing cooling challenges and reducing stress related reliability and durability challenges for other SI-based engine systems including turbochargers and exhaust treatment systems.


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