March 30, 2012

KCFC Members Tour Future Westport Facility Site

 The future Louisville home of a Westport LD assembly centre had a visit from Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition representatives in March.  In May, the centre will begin installing the Westport WiNG™ Power System on Ford F250s and F350s.
Ford pickups will come off the assembly line at the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane, go directly to Westport LD, and in less than three days be returned to Ford to be shipped out with an installed and fully-warrantied bi-fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) system.   

Zach Thomas, Barry Walker and John Skaggs of LG&E - KU join Craig Duffy of Westport LD looking under the hood at the CNG Bi Fuel system. Westport LD will upfit F250 and 350's.


Craig Duffy, Westport LD points out specifics with the Westport WiNG system being upfitted on the Ford 250 and 350 pickups in Louisville. Jeff Kaiser and Pete McDonald, Fleet Management, Commonwealth of KY look on.

(United) Way to go, Westport!

Caroline Santoso, part of the United Way campaign team for Westport receives the award

Yesterday evening, the 2011 United Way campaign team from Westport was honoured with the organization’s “Leading the Way" Award. It’s presented by the United Way of the Lower Mainland to the team that most successfully motivated its colleagues to contribute personal gifts of more than $1,000, and has organized the most exceptional Leadership Giving Campaign.   

The Westport United Way Campaign Team
Back row: Dr. Hill, Greg Harper, Bill Larkin, Monika Weber, Darren Gill,  Karen Hamberg,
Front row: Jason Newton, Maureen Glover, Caroline Santoso, Andrew Lew
Between 2010 and 2011, the number of leadership donors contributing to the Westport campaign jumped from 19 to 37.  In 2011, Westport employees raised and contributed $109,608, as well as a $100,000 gift from Dr. Philip Hill who donated award money received from the 2011 Earnest C. Manning Foundation Awards. His donation is intended to fund the United Way impact area of children 6-12 in the out of school or community schools program.

One of the employee bands at Westport play during United Way week 2011

Dr. Hill’s generosity inspired the Westport campaign team to find new, creative ways to encourage colleagues to donate and leverage his tremendous gift.

The Westport team enjoying lunch during United Way week in 2011
Westport believes that change starts right here in the local communities where we work, live and play. Our thanks to everyone who participated in the 2011 campaign, and to the United Way for their recognition.

For more information on the United Way, visit

March 21, 2012

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver Visits Westport

During a visit to Vancouver today, federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver visited Westport Innovations head office to meet with CEO David Demers and have a tour of our facility. The Minister is currently touring the western provinces, and spoke earlier in the day at a Vancouver Board of Trade meeting about the potential for natural gas in British Columbia, given the province’s large reserves and growing infrastructure, such as the planned liquefied natural gas terminal in Kitimat.

Minister Joe Oliver posing with a Kenworth truck powered by the Westport HD System, featuring Westport HPDI Technology

Minister Joe Oliver and Westport CEO David Demers with the Westport HD 15-litre natural gas engine for heavy-duty trucks

Minister Joe Oliver at a Westport test cell

Minister Joe Oliver poses with the Westport team

March 20, 2012

Westport LD Juniper Engine at Globe 2012

Last week, Westport participated in the transportation pavilion at the GLOBE2012 Tradeshow, showcasing our Westport Light Duty Juniper Engine. Duran Cheung, one of the original engineers to work on the Juniper engine explains how the engine works and what makes it unique:

The Westport Engine featured at GLOBE 2012 is not the typical Cummins-based HD workhorse with which we’ve been traditionally associated. Instead, it’s the 2.4L Juniper Engine from the Westport LD industrial team, a spark-ignited, multi-port injected propane or natural gas engine. This 75 hp, 140 ft-lbs powerplant uses a Hyundai 2.4LiIndustrial engine platform, which is essentially the same block and head as a 2.4L Theta engine found on the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. Differences include a cast-aluminum intake manifold, the lack of a variable valve timing system for simpler and more robust operation, and hardened valve seats. Fuel system components from OMVL S.p.A., a Westport company, are used to fuel the engine. Development of the fuel system for the engine began in early 2009, and by mid-2010, the first complete Westport LD Industrial engine assemblies were rolling off the line from our assembly center in Busan, South Korea.

So far, this engine is used on over 2,500 Clark forklifts worldwide on their IC-line of trucks, from their C15 model to their C35 line. They’ve reported a significant increase in fuel economy when compared to other engine platforms they’ve used in the past with similar displacement. Also, drivers have reported better performance compared to previous Clark trucks, all while remaining below the strictest Tier 4 EPA emissions levels for large spark ignited off-road engines.

On another application, the engine is being used to power stationary hydraulic pumps in and around the oilfields of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. The engine is mated directly to a hydraulic pump that powers a screw pump to bring up crude oil from reserves underground. End users have reported over a 30% increase in fuel economy when compared to the previous engine platforms being used in a similarly loaded well-site[NA1] . The end customer has been quite pleased with the performance and robustness of the system so far and is currently ordering the stationary engine configuration which has recently gone into production

March 16, 2012

Westporters Experience on Day 1 of GLOBE 2012

Last week, we mentioned that some Westport employees (Westporters) would be attending the GLOBE2012 conference from March 14-16.

Westporter Teresa Ko, a member of our Sustainable Futures team reflects on the opening day of the conference:

The common theme on day one of GLOBE 2012 has been collaboration and innovationChristy Clark, Premier, Province of BC spoke to the increasing opportunities in the green-tech sector, including employment, technology innovations, and exploration in renewable energy..  Clark’s Welcoming Remarks at the Opening Plenary of GLOBE 2012 mentioned that Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is the cleanest burning fossil fuel and the Government of BC makes plan to invest in this natural resource. 

One of the keynote speakers at the Opening Plenary, Jim Weigand, President, DuPont Sustainable Solutions introduced DuPont’s sustainability initiative, Global Collaboratory.  Another keynote speaker, Steve Williams, President & COO of Suncor Energy Inc. provided examples on how the companies in the energy sector collaborate to innovate.

At the session “Sustained Growth and Sustainability: Re-engineering the Economic Model”, panellists were presented with some challenging questions from the audience on how businesses, academic institutions, finance leaders, policy-makers and regulators need to work together to take actionable solutions rather than passively proposing ideas.  

Overall the first day at Globe2012 was a huge success, with interesting sessions and a strong overarching theme of Collaboration and Innovation. Day two is looking to be equally thought provoking and inspiring.

Westporters Heather and Duran pose with the Juniper engine on the tradeshow floor.

March 13, 2012

China Shifts Gears to Natural Gas in Transportation

Today we announced the unveiling of China’s first engine with Westport HPDI technology during the China National People’s Congress. The introduction of this engine fills an important gap in China’s natural gas engine market for heavy-duty trucks, as demand for natural gas increases along with the support of alternative fuels for a variety of uses – including transportation - by the Chinese government. It’s encouraging to see China take an interest in natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal, which has traditionally been the country’s main fuel source.
China Is In The Market For A New Energy Resource
With coal supplying roughly two thirds of the country’s energy needs, China’s emissions of greenhouse gases are some of the world’s highest. As a result, the Chinese Central Government has created an international campaign to develop and explore shale gas as part of China’s energy strategy, with a particular focus on natural gas.
As China’s energy consumption increases (it’s now second only to the United States), the shift to cleaner fuel sources is notable. Preliminary findings (conducted by the United States) show that shale gas resources in China might be 100 trillion cubic meters, the same level as the United States.  Although China doesn’t yet produce shale gas commercially, the Ministry of Land and Resources announced its shale gas production goal as equal to 8-12 percent of the total annual domestic natural gas output. By incorporating shale gas into the National Energy Strategies Toward 2030 the country aims to triple its use of natural gas by 2020 to 10 percent of energy consumption in an effort to curb pollution. The 2011 International Energy Agency special report, Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas? predicted that Chinese gas demand would increase by as much as 50 percent by 2035 to match that of the 27-nation European Union. Natural gas will allow China to use its large domestic natural gas reserves, reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil and coal, and improve air quality while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The economic benefits of using a domestic resource, coupled with the lower price of gas versus oil offer added incentive for the Chinese to focus on this alternative energy.

China’s Need for Natural Gas Transportation Solutions
Given China’s clear goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and shifting to alternative fuels that are abundant domestically, the Chinese transportation sector is experiencing a significant shift. Currently there is an estimated 600,000 natural gas vehicles in China and over 2,100 refuelling stations to support those vehicles. Weichai Westport has seen significant growth in the China markets and Weichai Power’s most recent Annual Report showed that Weichai holds approximately 40 percent of the heavy duty truck engine market for trucks over 14 tonnes. According to Weichai's August 2011 Interim Report, they sold over 200,000 heavy-duty engines for the six months ended June 30, 2011. In 2010, heavy duty truck sales in China exceeded one million units, according to the Weichai Power August 2011 Interim Report.
Note the marked increase of engine sales of Weichai Westport engines

HPDI Engine Technology Enters the Chinese Market
This marks the first use in China of natural gas engine technology that isn’t spark-ignited, and a significant advance in heavy-duty and long-haul trucking. What makes HPDI technology stand out is that it allows a diesel engine to run, primarily on natural gas without having to change the main parts of the engine. HDPI works by using a small amount of diesel to ignite the natural gas, a process that would normally require a spark, thus allowing the engine to stay largely unaltered. Since the pistons and engine body remain unchanged, the engine is able to deliver torque at low speeds and deliver increased efficiency at the higher end.