Westport Innovations LTD, consulting firm Arthur D. Little, and Ford Motor Co. have been awarded a $260,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to research the performance and economics of catalytic glow plugs and shields in Ford diesel engines that operate with Westport direct injection natural gas fuel systems.
The funding will cover more than half of the cost of the one-year combustion/ignition research program, said Westport. The company added that it has been collaborating for more than a year with Arthur D. Little to optimize performance and durability of the glow plugs that Westport uses to control ignition of natural gas in the combustion chamber.
The use of more durable glow plugs in a natural gas engine should improve the operating economics and improve the marketability for natural gas vehicles, Westport said.
The funding is part of a DOE-sponsored program called Next Generation Natural Gas Vehicle, which aims to develop and demonstrate low-emissions natural gas vehicles, including a medium-duty truck using compressed natural gas and a heavy-duty vehicle using liquefied natural gas.