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US to gain from Westport LNG engine tested here

Americans will get more power as well as Eaton’s Ultrashift Plus automated transmission

By <a href="mailto:”>Matt Wood | May 18, 2012

Westport Innovations Inc., the parent company of Westport HD, has just announced the availability of its 410 kW (550 horsepower) 2,508 Nm (1,850ft/lb) HD550 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) engine on the North American market.

While the high-pressure direct injection 15-litre engine has been in service here in Australia for the last three years, this is the first time the higher horsepower and torque rating will be offered in the company’s home market.

North American operators have had to be content with horsepower ratings of 362 kW and
373 kW (485 hp and 500 hp) to date.

The HD series engine are based on the Cummins ISX platform but with the engine re-manufactured to suit their HPDI LNG system. So far Aussie units have clocked up over 10,000,000 kilometres in mainly multi trailer roles.

As well as the higher output engine, Paccar companies Kenworth and Peterbilt will for the first time be able to offer the HD engine in conjunction with Eaton’s Ultrashift Plus automated transmission.

“These product enhancements are in direct response to requests from customers that operate their trucks in the most demanding of applications, and further validate that Westport’s HD15L natural gas engine offers diesel-like performance in any environment,” Westport HD President Clark Quintin says.

“We are building on our established leadership in technology development to deliver improved horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency using low-cost natural gas, and are ideally situated to respond to the demands of the marketplace.”

A joint venture between Westport and Cummins formed in 2001 has seen the Cummins Westport Company also develop a range of smaller capacity spark ignition LNG bus and truck engines.

The HD550 will be a useful addition to the highly competitive, 15 litre heavy duty market in the US. Use of LNG as an alternative fuel for commercial vehicles has been steadily growing in North America with both the US and Canada using around 73 billion cubic feet daily combined, with 14 billion cubic feet being used in heavy transport alone.

To date, Australian interest in LNG has been patchy with Western Australia being the biggest user of the natural gas for transport purposes. Interest is said to be growing on the Eastern Seaboard, though questions on re-fuelling infrastructure and equipment resale value still remain to be answered.

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