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Westport updates HPDI 2.0 dual fuel system with new Delphi injectors, upgraded LNG storage and supply

1st-generation Westport HPDI Injector and next-generation injector. (CNW Group/Westport Innovations Inc. Click to enlarge.

Westport Innovations Inc. is updating its second-generation Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport HPDI 2.0) (earlier post) development program with a new family of high-pressure fuel injectors, co-developed with Delphi Automotive PLC. The new injectors are designed to provide lower cost, smaller size and improved packaging compared to prior generation Westport HPDI injector designs.

The new generation injectors are running in engine tests today and are on display at the Delphi booth at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany.

HPDI 2.0
Westport HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel in a diesel cycle along with a small amount of diesel fuel as an ignition source. Core to the approach is an 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.
The natural gas is injected at the end of the compression stroke. Under the pressures found in the combustion chamber of a normal diesel engine, natural gas requires a higher ignition temperature than diesel. To assist with ignition, a small amount of diesel fuel is injected into the engine cylinder followed by the main natural gas fuel injection. The diesel acts as a pilot, rapidly igniting the hot combustion products, and thus the natural gas.
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. The compression ratio of an engine with Westport HPDI is the same as the diesel engine on which it is based, which results in fewer changes to engine components and preservation of the fuel economy benefits associated with high compression.
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 nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions benefits that provide more product engineering flexibility to allow powertrain designers to increase potential performance and customer value.

The other major element of the HPDI 2.0 system is an upgraded liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel storage and supply system, which includes the next generation Westport LNG tank with an integrated second generation cryogenic LNG fuel pump.

Significant reduction in costs combined with major enhancements in reliability, durability, and serviceability deliver substantial improvements in customer operating uptime and return on investment. In addition, with the system’s unique capabilities to exploit cold (unsaturated) LNG, station complexity is reduced and range is improved.

The HPDI 2.0 LNG components will also be incorporated into the Westport iCE PACK LNG Tank System product for spark-ignited engines, including the Cummins Westport ISX12 G.

Westport currently has several engine development programs underway with multiple OEMs using Westport HPDI for the diesel-like power, torque and fuel economy benefits of a compression ignition engine powered by natural gas. Westport expects the introduction of Westport HPDI 2.0 to provide better system costs and better compatibility with advanced diesel engine platforms compared to its earlier generation systems.

Westport thus expects the upgraded HPDI 2.0 fuel system to further increase OEM interest in natural gas products with industry-leading performance, fuel economy and flexibility. It is designed to provide stronger economics to truck customers across a broad range of engine displacements and applications compared to traditional natural gas engine technology.

Westport’s OEM customers are testing trucks with some HPDI 2.0 components in China and Europe. The Weichai Westport HPDI 12-liter engine has recently received China V emissions certification from the National Passenger Car Quality Supervision & Inspection Center (Tianjin Automotive Test Center), opening the door for delivery of the first customer test trucks while OEM customers are testing trucks using Westport HPDI in Europe.

Delphi HPDI Injector Codeveloped With Westport.

Products will be available for controlled customer fleet deployment in 2015 in pre-production volumes. However, Westport is working with OEMs to incorporate of the next generation injector to take advantage of the new performance and cost benefits. Westport has calculated that heavy-duty trucks in China incorporating the full HPDI 2.0 system could be delivered with a typical 18-month payback.

Market development in both regions requires alignment with infrastructure investment, experience and training with these new high performance vehicles. Shifting its focus to the new injector and related fuel system may delay volume launch in the short term, but should result in materially better component costs, more efficient product investment, and improved customer economics compared to both diesel engines and other natural gas engine technologies in the future, the company said.

In the near term, Westport expects fleets with high performance requirements to see HPDI trucks as offering unique capabilities and be encouraged to commit to adopting LNG with a clear path to upgraded and continued development of this technology.

The needs of customers in the primary markets for natural gas powered trucks—regional haul and dedicated routes—in North America are being met with currently available natural gas engines from Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI), Westport’s joint venture with Cummins, Westport said. Today CWI is supplying virtually all natural gas engines in the US commercial vehicle space.

Financial outlook. Westport is changing its revenue outlook for the year ended December 31, 2014 based on three primary factors.

  1. Continued market uncertainty in Westport’s primary markets—Europe, Russia and China—have impacted revenue in the Applied Technologies business in the second half of 2014.

  2. Key OEM development partners are moving to the newly co-developed Westport HPDI 2.0 injectors, but the revised development schedule will defer related service revenue milestone payments in the near term. Westport will, however, be able to reduce its overall program expenses, offsetting the reduction in service revenue; and synergies across multiple customer programs are expected to allow better long-term returns.

  3. A Westport customer who placed a significant order for Westport iCE PACK LNG Tank Systems has been unable to provide sufficient comfort to Westport that it will be able to meet its obligations and requirements in respect of such orders, and as such Westport does not intend to ship product to this customer until such comfort has been received.

As a result of these factors, Westport has changed its forecasted 2014 revenue outlook to a range of $130 million to $140 million and will not expect its three operating business units combined to be positive Adjusted EBITDA for this year.

Looking ahead, Westport reiterated its stated goal of reporting consolidated positive Adjusted EBITDA by the end of 2015, which will be driven by matching investments and expenses with the pace of market adoption, contributions from Westport’s operating business units, Westport’s share of net income (loss) from the joint ventures, and service revenue earned from Westport’s development partners.



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