July 26, 2012

Westport Joins the Clinton Global Initiative

A few months ago Westport was invited to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The CGI is a branch of the William J. Clinton Foundation established by former US president Bill Clinton to tackle some of the world’s most pressing development issues. Membership is by invitation only, so when Westport was asked to join it was an opportunity not to be passed up. Membership covers a large gamut from large multinational companies, to government, to non-profit organizations, and celebrities.

Each member is charged with either creating their own unique Commitment to Action (a goal they wish to achieve) or by partnering with other members. To date there are over 2,100 commitments that have helped close to 400 million people worldwide. Here is just a short list of the commitments:
  • Using Video Games to Increase Learning Computer Science by Glitch Game Testers
  • Sustainable Housing and Community Building – Kansas, MO by Make it Right Foundation
  • Green Rewards by Redefining Progress Deploying $1 Billion in Clean Technologies by Ceres and partners
  • General Mills/PEPFAR/USAID Partnership for Food Security by General Mills and Partners
  • Clean Stoves: Changing the Energy Paradigm in Kenya by The Paradigm Shift Project
Each commitment can address the following tracks:
  • The Built Environment
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Energy & Ecosystems
  • Girls & Women
  • Global Health
  • Market-based Approaches
  • Response & Resilience
  • Technology
Descriptions of each track can be found here: http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/aboutus/tracks.asp?Section=AboutUs&PageTitle=Tracks. Although these are broad subjects, there are smaller, more targeted sub-tracks such as Green Mobility, which is where Westport wants to focus its attention.

Currently a small team of Westporters, including Nick Sonntag, Husayn Anwar, Karen Hamberg, Teresa Ko and Ganesh Khanna, are working on developing our Commitment to Action and how we can contribute to sustainable mobility solutions. For more information on the CGI check out their website: http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/. If you are interested in the work we are doing and would like more information please feel free to contact us at media@westport.com.

July 23, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Fabio V.

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid Z,  Lance F and Monica F. Our next contributor is Fabio - read on to learn a little more about him.

As the sales and marketing director for Westport LD Italy-based companies, Fabio is responsible for developing, with his team, sales and OEM business relationships in accordance with group strategies and revenues targets. With these responsibilities, Fabio is kept very busy travelling the globe about forty percent of the time.

Based in Pernumia and Brescia, Italy, Fabio says he appreciates the opportunities to meet people from many regions and different cultures, thus learning about those cultures and the ways of doing business.

Fabio enjoys the international breadth of his role, where he can contribute to solving the challenges of the exciting compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) market, which he believes will grow to be a major future fuel worldwide.

The trusting relationship with his experienced superior and the daily activities with his skilled sales team makes his experience at Westport really interesting: there is a “lesson to learn” every day.

Fabio and family

When he is not configuring solutions and keeping updated on market developments, Fabio is with his family – including 3 boys and 2 dogs – at home, travelling, skiing and snorkelling.

When asked who he would have dinner with, anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, he says certainly his wife. “I am often travelling for work and we have a lot of things to share and tell each other.” Between work and their “big, challenging, but wonderful family,” one can see why!

If there is ever a free hour for Fabio, he can be found woodworking or online reading woodworker forums for ideas and techniques.

Fabio’s indulgences include a meal at a good restaurant or a visit to a great winery. Not surprisingly, his fuel is coffee and Italian cuisine is his favourite, but he loves sushi, spicy Mexican food, and wine. Frankly, he says, he finds food for his tastes wherever he goes!

July 17, 2012

More DOE Support for NGVs in Our Future

On July 12, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 13 new projects to advance natural gas vehicle (NGV) technologies, all in light-duty applications, through its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

Aimed specifically at new developments for natural gas tanks and potential home-fueling, the natural gas industry can only be pleased that Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman has said:
“These projects could transform America’s energy infrastructure and economy by utilizing domestic energy sources to power our vehicles…”
While the rationale behind funding many of the early-stage projects is their risk level for private investment, the DOE sees real potential for NGVs in America’s future and is prepared to invest in them.

Clearly demand for NGVs is increasing. And now, not only the DOE, but others are encouraged to tackle the passenger vehicle market.

The projects follow others that ARPA-E, launched by President Barack Obama in 2009, has proven successful by supporting. Many of its projects secured private capital after initial funding from ARPA-E.

Westport Innovations has benefit from DOE support over the years, and the success of its technology in all markets is proof positive that research support can ultimately translate into commercial application. Initially focused on the heavy-duty markets, Westport has expanded in a big way into light-duty, targeting fleets initially, but also the average consumer.

In passenger vehicles alone, Westport LD has acquired global NGV system and component operations in Australia, Italy and Sweden, launched its new Westport WiNG Power System this spring for Ford F-250 and F-350 pickup trucks, and secured a relationship with General Motors to develop two different combustion, controls and emissions approaches to natural gas engines.

The DOE also sponsored early research that helped in the development of many new natural gas resources in the U.S. The NGV technology projects support its efforts to act on President Obama’s call for “the safe, responsible development of the near 100-year supply of U.S. natural gas resources, which has the potential to support more than 600,000 American jobs,” according to the DOE.

Not likely that any NGV enthusiast will argue these are all great steps forward to a more energy independent future. Natural gas for transportation is here today – and here to stay for a good, long while.

July 9, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Monica F

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick S, Caroline S, John L & John H, Astrid Z and Lance F. Our next contributor is Monica F, read on to learn a little more about her.

Monica F

Monica’s fuel is coffee…

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Monica has the responsibility for purchasing and supplier development at Westport. As team director, she and the group find suppliers and ensure they can deliver parts that meet Westport requirements and quality standards. Monica travels quite often, meeting or seeking new suppliers. Though Westport needs automotive suppliers, the technology is new in the sector, especially for cryogenic-related components. So Monica finds herself seeking suppliers in surprising places, like aerospace shows, where suppliers are familiar with the pressure levels some Westport products require.

The best suppliers are the ones who believe in Westport technology. Monica builds relationships with companies that see future potential and share similar visions with Westport. That can be challenging, and it’s a challenge Monica enjoys. She clearly excels working with people and thrives on the fact that one day and the next are never the same.

When Monica isn’t at work, she can be found at her home just south of Vancouver where she likes to enjoy the calming atmosphere of nearby Garry Point, a park looking out to sea. Otherwise, Monica may be found in her kitchen, where her native Mexico provides inspiration because, “nothing in Vancouver is really Mexican food” and therefore cannot compare. Her favourite dish is chiles rellenos, chilies stuffed with cheese. When online, Monica loves YouTube for searching out cooking and hair-styling demos.

Monica is a fan of lists. She and her family, which includes two daughters and now a French bulldog called Lolo, make a list each December of everything they wish to do the next year – everything from big purchases to vacation ideas. Since moving to Canada in 2008, they’ve been exploring the area near Vancouver, and they have plans to see more. They also vacationed in China, where Monica says they were struck by how different life was.

Counted among her indulgences are girl-time with her daughters for manicures or pedicures and a thrice-weekly coffee with her husband while the girls are at swim club ­­– family time Monica wouldn’t give up.

July 5, 2012

Global Operations at a Glance – Westport in Australia

The demand for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is growing globally and Westport is growing to meet that demand. One of our newer offices is in the land down under, Australia. In early 2011 Westport opened its Australian head office in Melbourne, to support sales, parts and service of Westport products in the Australian market.

This market has been initiated through a collaborative agreement with PACCAR Australia to commercialize liquefied natural gas (LNG) Kenworth trucks for heavy-duty trucking. Equipped with Westport™ high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology, the four models of Kenworth trucks come with engines in three different horsepower ratings up to 580HP, and provide up to 27% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while remaining equivalent to diesel in power and torque.

Why Australia? Known reserves of natural gas in Australia have tripled from 1993 to 2009 and, despite the anticipated increase in consumption, are expected to last nearly 200 years. In addition, the high fuel requirements needed for fleet transportation in Australia position NGVs to take a meaningful market share from higher operating cost counterparts in diesel.

There have been challenges. Initially natural gas as a heavy-duty vehicle fuel wasn’t warmly received, in part due to a misconception that gas fuel systems are complicated and unreliable, or require cumbersome alterations and a costly re-fuelling infrastructure. But with Australia’s recently introduced vehicle carbon tax,  fuel consumption, vehicle emissions and environmental concerns are becoming a large concern for transport companies. The new tax is creating a “Clean Energy Gold Rush,” according to Reuters, with an expected increase in NGVs once diesel fuel is subject to the carbon tax (anticipated in 2014).

Australia’s department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government has certified the Westport HD engine in compliance with the Australian design rules (ADR 80/03), which took effect for all heavy duty truck models starting in Jan 2011. The Kenworth trucks are the only OEM-produced truck in Australia and the Westport HD engine is the only ADR 80/03 certified engine above 400 HP, Making this an attractive choice for fleets looking to reduce their emissions to meet the new tax guidelines.

July 3, 2012

Employee Spotlight: Louisville’s Charismatic Vehicle Porter

Archie, Westport LD vehicle porter, is ready to have fun while inspecting trucks for Westport WiNG™ Power System assembly. When the new trucks from the Ford plant nearby arrive at the Westport Kentucky Integration Center, he performs the exterior and interior inspection to ensure each truck has all basic functions before its natural gas fuel system is installed.

Like many Westport employees, Archie comes to Westport with an interesting history. Archie has retired from what he calls his “regular business” in Louisville, where he had a 30-year career in the radio business including radio station management.

Born and raised in Louisville as one of eight siblings, Archie has raised his own family there, now complete with grandchildren. Despite these deep roots at home, he has traveled all over the U.S. with his gospel group, Archie Dale and the Tones of Joy (whose amazing gospel sound can be heard on any of their 17 albums!). He says the most interesting place to perform was a large church in Las Vegas, where they entertained and rang in the New Year back in ‘04 and will likely return another year.

Archie enjoys being a part of the Westport LD operation now in Louisville and seeing the finished products out the door. He says, “My passion now is being a great employee and part of a success that I know Westport is going to have.” And Westport is very glad to have your expertise and enthusiasm, Archie, to contribute to that success.