PLANT

On-board storage tanks boost natural gas engine range

Westport Innovations’ on-board natural gas storage tanks optimized for spark-ignited engines.


VANCOUVER: Westport Innovations Inc. has developed an on-board storage system for vehicles powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The LNG Tank Sytem will be available in 120 and 150 gallon capacities and is optimized for spark ignited (SI) engines. The Vancouver-based company expects to start shipping the systems by mid-2013.

Current industry standard systems require two LNG tanks to operate effectively with larger SI engines and require saturated LNG. Westport’s system, however, is optimized for trucks running large SI engines to reduce the overall fuel system costs and weight thanks to the single-tank option.

Compared to existing compressed natural gas (CNG) options, a single 150 gallon tank system replaces three standard CNG tanks, lowering fuel storage costs and reducing overall vehicle weight by approximately 600 lbs.

Westport expects the 150 gallon tanks to run for up to 450 miles on cold (unsaturated) LNG fuel. Those ranges double with dual-tank configurations. The system also adds flexibility because of its ability to store warm and cold LNG, which increases fuel storage times and improves vehicle range by up to 10%.

The company says the system will integrate with most OEMs.

“Our early production systems tested with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G in a Peterbilt 384 truck have proven to have excellent performance characteristics and superior operating results on a single tank,” said Steve Anderson, vice president of business development for Westport HD.

Westport Innovations Inc. is a developer and supplier of proprietary natural gas engines for the transportation industry.