Fleetowner 3679 Westport Hd 15l Natural Gas Engine Web

Westport ending 15L natural gas engine production, shifting focus to OEM integration

Nov. 1, 2013

Westport formally announced the shutdown of 15L natural gas engine production in its latest earnings report this week. The company said it will no longer take orders for the powerplant, which features Westport’s high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) system, as of Nov. 15 of this year.

The company is not, though, abandoning its HPDI system, says Nicole Adams, director of communications.

“We’re going to be focusing on our next generation of HPDI – HPDI 2.0,” she told Fleet Owner. “We will [likely] have more on that in a few weeks.”

The current HPDI technology uses a small amount of diesel fuel as a pilot ignition source, or “liquid spark plug,” to assist with ignition of the natural gas. According to the company, its patented injector with a dual-concentric needle design allows for 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. The diesel fuel acts as a pilot, rapidly igniting the hot combustion products, and thus the natural gas. HPDI replaces approximately 95% of the diesel fuel (by energy) with natural gas, Westport said.

Adams said it was never the company’s intent to produce the 15L engine long-term, but rather use it to showcase HPDI technology.

“The 15L was really a proof-of-concept engine to show that HPDI was [a viable] technology. Our long-term plan was always to do [vertical integration] with OEMs,” she said. Adams added that Westport is now working on integrating the next-generation HPDI system with Volvo’s new 13L natural gas engine with expected availability sometime in 2014.

The new HPDI system will be offered to multiple OEMs, Adams said, and be available for multiple engine types.

“The idea is the next generation of HPDI will be something that is adaptable to a range of engines,” she said. “We are in discussions with a couple of other OEMs” interested in the system.

In its earnings statement, Westport also announced its joint venture with Cummins, Cummins Westport, saw a 52% increase in engine shipments in the third quarter, to 2,409 units. That growth, it said, was attributable in part to the launch of the 400 hp. ISX12 G in August.

About the Author

Brian Straight | Managing Editor

Brian joined Fleet Owner in May 2008 after spending nearly 14 years as sports editor and then managing editor of several daily newspapers.  He and his staff  won more than two dozen major writing and editing awards. Responsible for editing, editorial production functions and deadlines.

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