Today during the China National People’s Congress, Canadian-based Westport Innovations introduced what is being called China’s first natural gas engine featuring Westport high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology.
The company says the engine, based on the Weichai Power WP12 engine platform, is the result of China’s first joint venture for HPDI natural gas engines, named Weichai Westport Inc.
Westport says the HPDI technology for the 12-liter engine maintains the power and performance of the base diesel engine, but allows the replacement of up to 95 percent of diesel fuel with cleaner burning, less expensive natural gas.
The engine delivers the same 480 horsepower and 1200 pound-feet @ 1500 rpm torque as the original diesel engine, the company says.
The Weichai Westport HPDI engine is currently undergoing road testing with Shaanxi Automobile Group. The low cost of natural gas, combined with large domestic reserves, is being touted as an attractive transportation fuel source for China.
Weichai Westport, established in 2008, has focused on developing natural gas engine technology for heavy-duty vehicles and city buses. Currently in China, spark ignited natural gas engines comprise the majority of alternative fuel sales.
According to Weichai Power’s most recent annual report, Weichai holds approximately 40 percent of the heavy duty truck engine market for trucks over 14 tons. According to Weichai’s August 2011 Interim Report, Weichai sold over 200,000 heavy-duty engines in the first six months of 2011. In 2010, heavy duty truck sales in China exceeded 1 million units, once again according to the Weichai Power August 2011 Interim Report.