Westport Innovations Inc. and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) have been awarded a $900,000 grant as part of a public-private partnership for a program to advance natural gas combustion technology, Westport has announced.
The work will feature Westport's enhanced spark ignited (ESI) natural gas engine technology and demonstrate "High Frequency Corona Discharge Ignition" on an OEM partner's engine. The engine has a displacement of between 1L and 1.5L per cylinder and is targeted at medium duty commercial vehicle applications.
"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," said Brad Douville, Westport's vice president of business development. "This new program builds on our ESI foundation by integrating corona discharge ignition technology, which opens a number of new opportunities for even higher engine performance, efficiency and reliability at lower maintenance costs than current spark ignition hardware. We would expect that, if this program is successful, Westport ESI systems integrating corona discharge technology could become commercially available in as soon as four years."
Of the total program funding, $750,000 is coming from the California Energy Commission and $150,000 is being provided by the Southern California Gas Company. Westport will contribute approximately $250,000 in additional funds for a total of $1.15 million.