July 18, 2016

Welcome the new Volvo V90!

On June 23, Volvo Car announced it will launch a Bi-Fuel version of its new V90 station wagon. The V90 will supersede the V70 and marks a new era of vehicles with Westport technology. Based on the same engine technology as the V60 sports wagon, the V90 will run on compressed natural gas (CNG), biomethane, or petrol and with a 254 horsepower engine, will be the most powerful CNG car on the market. 



The Westport team in Gothenburg, Sweden is pictured here with last V70 Bi-Fuel car delivered by Westport. This high-performance, fuel-efficient vehicle has been a major success story in the European market and since the start of production in 2010, has been our best-selling product with more than 4,500 vehicles delivered.   

Sales of the V70 have also had a significant environmental impact. Based on an average mix of biomethane provided by the Swedish Transport Association, and a well-to-wheels perspective of expected lifetime emissions of the vehicle, a V70 Bi-Fuel emits 50% fewer green house gas (GHG) emissions compared to a petrol fuelled vehicle. This results in a savings of about 8 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle or close to 40,000 tonnes when the entire fleet of vehicles sold is considered.

By collaborating with OEMs like Volvo Car, Westport have been able develop vital technology solutions to reduce GHG emissions and continue to meet demand for premium natural gas vehicles. Great work to the team in Sweden, farewell to the V70, and we look forward to more success with the V90!

April 26, 2016

Driving Down Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On Friday April 22, leaders from 175 countries gathered in New York to sign the Paris Agreement, which was brokered at COP 21 last December. This means that over 85 per cent of the world’s nations have committed to large reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 15 years and to actions to limit any increase in global warming to 2°C.

At the signing ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, pointed directly to the private sector when he discussed the Agreement, saying: “It is the unmistakable signal that innovation, entrepreneurial activity, the allocation of capital, the decisions that governments make, all of this is what we now know definitively is what is going to define the new energy future… The power of this agreement is what it is going to do to unleash the private sector, and it is already doing to set in pace the global economy on a new path for smart, responsible, sustainable development.”

These pledges and comments may be headline grabbing but what does this all mean in real terms for the transportation industry? In this edition of Fuel for Thought, Karen Hamberg, Westport’s Vice President Industry and Government Relations, explains how Westport is leading the transition to a low carbon economy and the environmental benefits we can expect from next generation natural gas engine and vehicle technology. 


Karen Hamberg, VP of Industry and Government Relations

Sustainability and a low carbon economy


Sustainability is at the core of Westport’s business. We are seeing a heightened focus on the environmental performance of the transportation sector on a global scale with these pivotal commitments to the Paris Agreement. As the drive for increased engine efficiency, improved urban air quality and GHG emission reductions increases more pressure is placed on engine and vehicle manufacturers. This, in turn, increases opportunities for us to innovate in order to take a leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy.


Earth Day took place on April 22 and coincided with the signing of the Paris Agreement

So what are we doing to achieve this?


1. Collaborating with key industry partners

We contribute to technical working groups, committees, and advisory panels to learn from other experts, share our expertise and help to build a body of knowledge about the benefits of natural gas vehicles.

A few examples
  • Member of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), a global non-profit organization that works with more than 250 member companies to develop sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration.
  • Founding member of the Future of Fuels working group, which exists to identify and promote transportation fuel pathways that enhance the sustainability and availability of emerging alternative fuel choices
  • A close working relationship with the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF)  and a contributor to their series of studies, which calculates the full climate impact of natural gas to develop  credible and defensible data about natural gas vehicles and fueling stations. This includes a  better understanding the source and quantity of methane emissions along the natural gas supply chain.[1]

2. Innovating to Help OEMs Meet Strict New Targets

To reduce GHG emissions and meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, the commercial vehicle industry faces a steep challenge. Original Equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to find cost-effective ways to reduce both GHG emissions and conventional emissions such as NOx and particulate matter without compromising vehicle performance and utility.

In the United States, the stringent upcoming EPA/NHTSA Phase Two GHG Regulations 
will introduce new targets for fuel efficiency that will shift the burden of compliance on OEMs away from the engine and onto the vehicle as a whole. These regulations aim to cut GHG emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons, which equates to the amount of CO2 produced to power 83.3 million U.S. family homes for a year, and are set to start rolling out in model year (MY) 2021.

Under the draft Phase 2 rule, Westport’s natural gas engine and vehicle technologies are a strong pathway to the long-term reduction of COemissions that will enable OEMs to exceed the stringent new limits set for light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

Matt Godlewski, the President of Natural Gas Vehicles for America, agrees.
“As OEMs strive to create vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the new EPA standards, innovative engineering will be crucial. New natural gas technology, such as the engines Westport’s developing, will provide solutions that reduce emissions, are more cost-effective than electrification, and will stay ahead of the curve with upcoming regulations.”

3. Developing solutions: Westport’s Next Gen Products

Our next-generation natural gas engine and vehicle technologies offer compelling energy, environmental, and sustainability benefits, including GHG emissions reduction. Here is a snap shot of some of the exciting products nearing commercialization.


WestportTM High Pressure Direct Injection Technology (HPDI 2.0)



The new HPDI injector technology which will lower costs, increase performance and offer improved durability

HPDI 2.0 will be optimum for heavy-duty vehicles and has been developed for integration on factory-built original equipment manufacturer (OEM) engines and trucks.

Benefits
  • The only natural gas technology capable of delivering high performance and low fuel consumption equivalent to that of current heavy duty diesel engines
  • Limits unburnt methane emissions to less than 0.2% of total fuel flow via its highly efficient combustion process


ISL G Near Zero NOx 8.9L engine

The 8.9L Near Zero NOx engine, which is a joint venture with Cummins Inc., is currently in the late stages of field testing


This engine from Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI), which is available to order in 2016, removes a significant source of methane emissions via the use of closed crankcase ventilation (CCV) technology.

Benefits

  • A 70% reduction in engine related methane emissions
  • Delivers near-zero NOx emissions performance. NOx emissions from the ISL G Neare Zero are so low that an entire fleet of 1,000 buses equipped with this new engine would have the same NOx emissions as a single 1980s era diesel bus
  • Meets proposed EPA/NHTSA Phase 2 GHG regulations


Enhanced Spark Ignition (ESI) technology



The ESI engine, which utilizes spark ignited architecture, will run on 100% CNG or LNG

In the past, the peak torque output of spark ignited natural gas engines has been 15-25 per cent lower than comparable diesel engines. This is set to change though as Westport’s ESI technology will allow natural gas engines to outperform diesel for the first time.

Benefits
  • Exceeds the power, torque and performance of state-of-the-art diesel engines
  • Improved fuel economy via engine downsizing and other engine efficiency improvements
  • Allows vehicle OEMs to avoid expensive electrification / hybridization needed with conventional fuels (diesel and gasoline) to be compliant with proposed EPA/NHTSA Phase 2 GHG regulations.

Find out more


We continue to strive to create leading edge technology that exceeds the requirements of legislation, industry codes and standards. Working with our partners, we are committed to delivering low-emission natural gas solutions that will meet our customers’ demands for high-efficiency, high-performance, and low-carbon transportation both now and in the future.

For more information, visit the Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Natural Gas Vehicles section on the Westport website or email Karen


We anticipate that the module study covering natural gas vehicle and fuel stations will be published in 2016.


March 10, 2016

Uncertain future for natural gas vehicles? Think again!

The future of the natural gas vehicle market in an era of cheap diesel fuel and gasoline was a headline topic at last week’s 2016 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. A record number of fleet owners and managers, OEM reps, equipment suppliers, government delegates and other industry professionals turned up to learn the latest.

Westport’s Brad Douville, VP of Business Development and a mechanical engineer by trade, spoke at the premier industry event, which incorporated the Green Truck Summit and hailed Jay Leno as a key note speaker. So what’s in store? In this article Brad talks about new tech, GHG wins and the stable customer base that’s not going anywhere.

Brad Douville, Westport VP of Business Development

New natural gas vehicle technology

I had a clear goal for my presentation. For industry professionals to leave knowing that, while the natural gas work trucks that we have on the roads right now are great, next-generation technology will make them even better and deliver more compelling benefits than ever before.

To demonstrate this, I showcased Westport’s advanced powertrain technology, which we call Enhanced Spark Ignition (ESI), as well as the new conformable CNG tank technology from San Francisco start-up company—Volute.

So what’s exciting about Westport’s ESI technology? For the first time we have a spark ignited natural gas engine solution that exceeds the power, torque and performance of state-of-the-art diesel engines and provides substantial fuel economy improvements. Up to this point, the peak torque output of spark ignited natural gas engines has been 15% to 25% lower than the counterpart diesel engines. Through our ESI technology, we have re-imagined the possibilities. By relieving the constraint of retaining the diesel cylinder head and designing an entirely new spark ignited optimized head, natural gas engines are able to outperform diesel for the first time. Plus they can do it in a way that improves the robustness of the combustion and reliability of the engine components.
Demonstration engine featuring Westport’s next-generation Enhanced Spark Ignition (ESI) technology – smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more fuel efficient than today’s natural gas engines

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Volute technology before, it’s new, conformable CNG tank technology that uses standard Type IV CNG cylinder materials (i.e. carbon fibre wrapped polymer liner) in a novel hose-like or sausage-link configuration. This makes it a lighter, lower cost system that can be folded to fit on any vehicle using existing available spaces—a real challenge with today’s bulky, standard CNG cylinders. This exciting new natural gas technology has been developed with funding from the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E MOVE program, combined with investment and expertise from Westport (as an equity owner).

Volute CEO, Dan Recht showing Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, conformable CNG tank technology which was recently featured in online news publication www.fortune.com

GHG wins for OEMs

Stringent upcoming phase two GHG regulations are set to shift the burden on OEMs away from the engine and onto the vehicle itself. This trend leaves few existing options in the work truck segment, other than costly electrification and hybridization. Westport's ESI approach can provide OEMs with a natural gas engine solution that complies with the tough 2027 EPA regulation levels well ahead of time without electrification/hybridization. We believe this will offer the best value for fleet owners (end-users) due to the low purchase price and lowest cost of any fuel on the market.

Stable customer base regardless of current oil price

Waste Management fleet using natural gas

In a time of cheap oil, we have seen fleets that have made natural gas (NG) work continue to stay on this path. Mike Britt, from UPS, did a great job of sharing how NG makes good business sense for them even in the current environment.

We are witnessing savvy fleet owners foreseeing volatility in oil prices and stability in NG prices over the medium- and long-term. This is because running a payback analysis on today's fuel cost differential doesn't do much good when the vehicle fleet will operate over many years. The trick is to compare the average fuel cost differential over time, taking into account that most experts predict the price of oil will go up in the coming years. Using this equation, we believe that many fleet owners will see clear financial benefits for converting to natural gas.

So what’s next for Westport?

Through my interactions with other industry professionals, I am regularly told that many view Westport as a leading innovator within the NGV industry. A company that looks to the future and pushes the boundaries of what is possible to keep advancing technology and creating new solutions for customers. This is a role we will continue to play.

To learn more about the 2016 Ford F-150 and other Ford products with CNG contact us at 855-978-9464, fordsales@westport.com or visit www.westport.com/wing. To find an OEM using larger natural gas engines visit the Cummins Westport webpage. Or contact Brad Douville via bdouville@westport.com to learn more about Westport’s ESI technology or Volute technology.