Westport takes LNG project down under

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Westport Innovations was recently awarded AUD1.36 million from the Australian Governments Alternative Fuels Conversion Programme (AFCP) for a project to evaluate the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel for heavy-duty highway trucks in Australia.

Mitchell Corp., Sands Fridge Lines and Murray Goulburn Cooperative, who each operate large fleets of long-distance trucks, will acquire four new Kenworth T404SAR trucks powered by 2008 model Cummins 15-litre engines incorporating Westports LNG fuel technology. Emissions and performance tests will be performed to quantify greenhouse gas, noise, and regulated emissions benefits while demonstrating the performance and economic advantages of LNG in real world use in Australia.

The price differential between diesel and LNG, combined with the very high mileage put on some of these trucks, could deliver over AUD130,000 in annual fuel cost savings per truck, stated Bruce Hodgins, Westports vice-president of market development. Of course, LNG will also deliver lower nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, compared to operation on diesel fuel.

For this program, Westport will adapt the North American version of its LNG system for Australian engines and operating conditions. This will include delivery of higher horsepower and torque ratings of 550 hp / 1850 lb-ft and 485 hp / 1650 lb-ft, and certification to the Australian ADR 80/02 emissions standard.

Depending on the duty cycle and the test protocol used, we would expect 15% to 20% reductions in greenhouse gases or approximately 130 tonnes per year on a tank-to-wheel basis for a truck operating 400,000 kilometres per year, added Hodgins.

This program will also provide information to allow the partners to assess their potential involvement in a commercial LNG truck offering in Australia.

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