Westport Innovations Inc. and Delphi Automotive PLC agreed to combine technologies and engineering capabilities to co-develop and manufacture high-pressure natural-gas fuel injectors, designed for several engine OEMs. The first product in their coordinated effort will become a core element of the HPDI 2.0 fuel system that Westport announced recently.

"Our agreement and investment with Delphi combines intellectual property with global production capacity at one of the world's most sophisticated injector facilities," stated Westport CEO David Demers. "Delphi's support for natural-gas fuel systems and Westport HPDI means having an integrated and dedicated manufacturing partner to develop and produce components that will help create a landmark product with industry defining pricing, quality and performance characteristics for global engine OEMs."

Westport is a Vancouver-based developer of alternative fuel and low-emissions technologies. On its own and in various joint ventures with automakers and engine manufacturers, Westport develops engines that operate on compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, and biofuels.

Delphi Automotive produces fuel injectors, among other technologies, for automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers worldwide. Among its products are fuel system components used by heavy-duty diesel engine OEMs.

Westport HPDI is natural-gas combustion technology capable of performance and fuel economy standards equivalent to those of current high-performance diesel-fueled engines, but with diesel substitution of over 90%. Currently, Westport is working with seven OEM applications on "HPDI 2.0," which it indicated would be available in customers’ products later this year. This new natural-gas technology will provide vehicle and engine OEMs with “a vertically integrated, natural-gas solution, with reduced costs and improved performance and fuel economy.”

HPDI 2.0 system components will be supplied ready for integration to OEMs’ operations worldwide, giving them a way to reach scalable volume as natural-gas markets grow.

Under the terms of their agreement, Westport will invest in equipment (including tooling), manufacturing, assembly, and end-of-line test equipment to be installed at Delphi's production sites. Delphi will provide injector designers and engineering resources to work with Westport's experts to optimize design, development, and manufacturing of the injectors. Their goal is to produce more than 100,000 injectors in the next four years.

Intellectual property rights that emerge from the development program will be jointly owned by Delphi and Westport, and maintained by Westport. Their statement claimed the injector would be a simplified design, adaptable to multiple engine platforms, thus lowering development and unit costs. They added that using Delphi's twin-valve technology would increase flow capacity and compatibility with high power and high power density applications, and that the combination of their designs and technical expertise would improve product reliability, extend service life, and reduce overall cost compared to current HPDI injectors.

"Delphi sees natural gas as an important part of mainstream transportation and believes that Westport HPDI will be the industry standard technology for natural gas-powered, heavy-duty applications," stated Jeff Owens, CTO of Delphi. "Working with Westport to create a highly scalable, quality production partnership and reduce system pricing for HPDI is a great opportunity to help change the trucking world."