VANCOUVER—Natural gas engine and vehicle maker, Westport Innovations Inc., along with the Gas Technology Institute, will receive nearly $1 million in funding to further research on Westport’s NG combustion technology.
The research and development will focus on the Vancouver-based cleantech firm’s enhanced spark-ignited natural gas engine technology and aim to demonstrate what the company called “High Frequency Corona Discharge Ignition” on an original equipment manufacturer’s engine.
“Westport ESI technology allows, for the first time, a spark-ignited natural gas engine to exceed the performance of a comparable state-of-the-art diesel engine,” Brad Douville, vice-president of business development for Westport, said.
“Next generation natural gas engines of this class will be smaller, lighter, lower cost and have even higher performance than modern diesel engines because we can exploit the advantages of natural gas as a high performance fuel with naturally lower emissions challenges,” he added.
Douville said the new program will build on the company’s existing engine technology and “opens a number of new opportunities for even higher engine performance, efficiency and reliability at lower maintenance costs than current spark ignition hardware.”
If the project is successful, the new technology could become commercially available in as little as four years for use in medium-duty vehicles.
The California Energy Commission provided $750,000 in funding for the project, while Southern California Gas Company offered a further $150,000. In addition to the $900,000 in sponsored funding, Westport is investing $250,000 in the project, bringing its total value to $1.15 million.