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Westport, GM team on natural gas engines

Westport Innovations and General Motors are going to work together to develop advanced natural gas engine technology.


June 28, 2011
by PLANT STAFF

VANCOUVER: Westport Innovations Inc. and General Motors are going to work together to develop advanced natural gas engine technology.

The two companies announced a deal that will see them develop natural gas engine controls, emissions and performance strategies.

“This technology offers the promises of a cleaner, lower cost fuel and reduced carbon footprint, while advancing the use of domestic energy,” said Ian Scott, president of Westport’s Light-Duty division.

Vancouver-based Westport Innovations is a developer and manufacturer of technologies for alternative fuels such as natural gas. It’s Light-Duty division focuses on light-duty automotive systems, components and engines, including 2.4L engines for industrial applications such as forklifts and oilfield service.

It plans to open a new Technical Center in Michigan, where it already has 15 employees and develop technologies that power fleet or personal vehicles with natural gas.

“Natural gas is 97% North American sourced and much less expensive than gasoline or diesel fuels. It also produces about 15% to 20% less CO2 than those fuels,” said John Lapetz, Westport’s Light-Duty Division managing director of North American vehicle programs.

He said hybridization, lower-displacement with turbo charging, direct injection and other fuel-saving technologies now being applied to gasoline and diesel engines can also be applied to natural gas fuelled engines for greater efficiencies and cost savings.

Westport also announced recently the planned acquisition of alternative fuel company Emer S.p.A. of Italy for US$39.6 million.