December 20, 2011

Westport drives shift in thinking at Science World

How can you make a carrot into fuel for a car? Visitors to Science World will soon have a chance to find out, thanks to a new partnership with Westport.

Westport CEO David Demers, Science
World CEO Bryan Tisdall, and Dr. Phillip Hill
with a Westport Engine
Westport is providing support for a new exhibit called “Transportation Story” at Science World. Visitors will get a chance to view rarely-displayed Westport technology, and get to meet our scientists and researchers during interactive programs. On Saturday, December 17, members of the Westport team were onsite to lead interactive experiments, and teach fun facts like how garden vegetables can become natural gas.

Investing in science education is important to Westport. As a leader in innovation and technology, we have a responsibility to foster curiosity and interest in science, particularly in Vancouver where we’re headquartered.

Two Westporters enjoying Science World's
Eureka Gallery exhibit on pulleys.
Canada, like the rest of the world, is facing a huge energy challenge. The next generation will undoubtedly feel its effects. By encouraging kids to take a greater interest in science and technology, we hope to help build a home-grown pool of new thinkers and innovators in alternative energy.

British Columbia is quickly gaining recognition for its growing technology sector, yet there’s a gap between the number of workers needed in the high-tech sector, and the number coming out of our universities. At Westport we hope that our team of engineers and scientists will show people that using science, one can make a meaningful contribution to society.

Programming and exhibits like the ones at Science World give people a chance to think about how our actions and choices affect the world, including our transportation. Through education about renewable energy sources like natural gas, we have an opportunity to demonstrate how contributing to and adopting new discoveries and innovations can lead to a cleaner future.

December 1, 2011

Westport is working on the railroads

Already recognized in the transportation industry for its success in natural gas engines for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles, Westport Innovations is making further inroads into high horsepower by teaming up with Progress Rail Services’ subsidiary, Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), a diesel-electric locomotive manufacturer, in its demonstration program with Canadian National Railway (CN) and Gaz Metro.

Westport and Progress Rail (EMD) staff

The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of Westport high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology for rail transportation using natural gas as fuel. EMD’s participation, announced today, is an important endorsement for Westport’s strategy and EMD’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, whether through low-emission freight repowers and new diesel locomotives, or alternative fuel efficiency projects such as the demonstration program with Westport and CN. 

The aim is to develop a CN locomotive powered by an EMD engine equipped with a Westport HPDI fuel system pulling trains in Quebec and refuelled by Gaz Metro. 

So, why the sudden increase in attention from rail about shifting tracks to natural gas? Have you seen the announcement from Shell outlining its intention to engage with rail original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)? What is becoming clear from the goods movement industry are the competing forces between rail and trucking. i.e. if the trucking industry decides to shift their primary fuel to natural gas / liquefied natural gas (LNG) and thus helping reduce their operating cost—rail must follow. As a competing solution to trucking, even a small shift in the ‘balance of power’ from rail to trucking can be economically damaging.

Westport, happy to help either industry progress the use of natural gas engines, is working with three of the top four global engine manufacturers and seven of the top ten vehicle manufacturers. A locomotive can burn up to 400,000 gallons of fuel per year. If the locomotive industry is able is able to save $1.00 per diesel gallon equivalent or perhaps $1.50 per gallon, the economic implications are startling.

Long term success of natural gas mainline rail operations in North America will require a tender car coupled to the locomotive for refuelling. As part of the initiative, Westport will be developing the critical components for a tender car and testing that part of the system at Gaz Metro’s facility in Montreal.  

With this new project, Westport is building on its growing high horsepower capabilities. Earlier this year, an agreement with Caterpillar launched an evaluation of HPDI for their large engines which are used in mine trucks, boats and other industrial applications.

According to the United Nations Statistics Division, railroads around the world burn nine billion gallons of diesel fuel annually, largely in transporting freight. The development of natural gas fuelled locomotives will dramatically reduce the cost of transporting the world’s primary resources and manufactured goods because of the low cost of LNG compared with diesel fuel. HPDI rail engines burning natural gas also have the potential to reduce emissions considerably, an important goal as emissions regulations become more strict. 

The use of natural gas reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 27%. Converting a single locomotive to liquid natural gas fuel is the equivalent of converting 20 long-haul tractor-trailer trucks to LNG in its GHG reduction.

This project has been made possible through a $2.3 million funding commitment from the federal non-profit corporation Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which will allow Westport to continue research and development of new green technology.

November 29, 2011

Bringing Made-in-B.C. Clean Transportation Solutions to the B.C. Legislature

Westport Innovations showcased its natural gas vehicle technology at a November 17 event organized by Fortis BC, in collaboration with PNWER, Vedder Transport, and Waste Management at the front steps of the B.C. Legislature.

MLA Barry Penner talking to the crowd of Ministers and MLAs
Members of the public and attendees of the 2011 PNWER Winter Summit learned more about the existing provincial framework that helps support the use of natural gas in commercial vehicles: the availability of B.C. natural gas, engines designed in B.C., and a fueling infrastructure manufactured in B.C. Along with a presentation by Barry Penner, MLA, visitors met with industry experts to learn more about natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and how they benefit the transportation sector.

British Columbia is poised to be an emerging leader in clean transportation solutions by reducing greenhouse gas emissions that come from the transportation sector. By virtue of our local natural resources and home-grown technology, B.C. has a great opportunity to generate economic and environmental benefits for all British Columbians.

As a made-in-B.C. low emission solution, Westport technology provides an economically and environmentally sustainable solution that the provincial government should continue to encourage and support as part of its framework and strategy for transportation. A climate that encourages the use of NGVs benefits from an invigorated local economy, increased use of domestic natural gas and a reduced carbon footprint.

Westport has worked closely with Fortis, the largest natural gas distributor in the province, and Waste Management, to launch Canada’s first fleet of natural gas refuse collection trucks in operation in B.C.

Minister Blair Lekstrom and Fred Zweep
Jonathan Burke, Westport HD and Minister Pat Bell

To learn more about natural gas, its applications in the transportation sector, and its role in provincial clean energy solutions, please visit:

November 21, 2011

Westport Certifies its Commitment to the Environment

We recently announced that the Westport Environmental Management System (EMS) was certified to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)’s 14001:2004 standard. Our goal is to constantly minimize how our products and services impact the environment, so this certification carries great importance for the Westport family. It adds external recognition that we have continued to make environmental stewardship part of our daily culture and we recognize our responsibility to employees, customers, partners and shareholders to regularly evaluate our operations’ impact on the environment.

To be certified to the ISO 14001:2004 standard, an organization must show concern for the environment by making three fundamental commitments: an organization must commit to preventing pollution; complying with legislation; and continual improvement of their EMS. Through these commitments the standard focuses on how an organization’s activities, products or services interact with the environment, and then provides a framework and procedure for identifying and addressing the areas with the greatest environmental impact.

To obtain certification, we participated in a series of external audits and an intensive process where team members evaluated environmental aspects and legal requirements, established training programs, and developed system documentation and communication procedures. During the process we carefully examined every aspect of our operations, allowing us to focus on potential areas for improvement.

Through the development and commercialization of economical and environmentally sustainable transportation solutions, we are the global leader in natural gas engines. The concern for our impact on the environment is a core Westport value and basis for some of the most sophisticated innovations in engine and fuel system technology. Our founding technology was motivated by concern for global human health and climate, and this certification is another testament of our commitment to continuously reduce the environmental footprint of our business. Our natural gas engines and related technologies help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 27% compared to diesel engines. As our environmental policy outlines, we are dedicated to protecting the environment, preventing pollution, and leading the industry in mitigating the adverse environmental impacts of engine and fuel system research, development, testing and assembly.

March 18, 2011

Cummins Westport Celebrates 10 Years

by Jeff Campbell, Director of Product Marketing, Canada Sales, Cummins Westport Inc.

Ten years ago on March 7, 2001 Cummins Inc. and Westport Innovations officially joined forces to create Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI). This 50/50 joint venture was the culmination of three years of collaboration between the two companies focused on how best to grow the medium- and heavy-duty natural gas vehicle market.

Since this humble start in 2001, CWI has emerged as the leading natural gas engine supplier to bus and truck builders worldwide, and has also been recognized with many awards along the way. Since 2001, CWI has sold over 21,600 natural gas and LPG engines worldwide and generated cumulative revenues of $545 million.

The Cummins Westport ISL G
Natural Gas Engine
“CWI’s products have helped to enable a market for natural gas vehicles – our engines are powering vehicles on every continent except Antarctica,” said Roe East, President of Cummins Westport. “Since 2001, CWI has launched a range of new engines, including the "Pluses" (B Gas Plus, C Gas Plus, and L Gas Plus), the B Gas International, ISB5.9 G, and the ISL G. In 2007, the ISL G was the first heavy-duty production engine certified to the stringent 2010 EPA emission levels, and soon we will build and sell the 10,000th ISL G engine!”

For these successes, we thank the foresight of our CWI founders, the direction from our Board of Directors, and the dedication and perseverance of CWI’s 52 staff members in: Columbus, IN; Denver, CO; Hubbard, OH; Irvine, CA; Miami, FL, Vancouver, BC; Beijing, China; and Darlington, England as well as field support from the Cummins’ distribution channel worldwide.

Thanks also go to everyone at Cummins who has had a role in CWI's successes in the first ten years. We look forward to CWI's continued success in the next ten!