Order Represents a New Product Line for Westport Innovations,
Which is Collaborating with InoxCVA on ‘Low Pressure Solution’
CN, the Canadian National Railway, has ordered four liquefied natural gas tenders from Westport Innovations. They represent a new product line to serve the natural gas needs of the North American railroad market, Westport says. The first LNG tender is to be delivered in the fourth quarter. updated June 9
“The Westport LNG Tender leverages our substantial expertise in LNG storage, cryogenic systems, and natural gas fuel delivery for mobile applications to create a product that will immediately help railroads to validate the value of LNG in their operations today,” Westport executive VP Nicholas Sonntag said in a release.
“There is growing consensus around the enormous potential of using LNG as a fuel for locomotives and there is a clear path for the industry to achieve this shift to a cleaner, cheaper and domestically available fuel,” he said.
‘Readily Available’ 10,000-Gallon ISO Containers
The Westport LNG Tender employs 10,000-LNG-Gallon ISO containers, which according to Brian Dracup, Westport senior director for high horsepower business development, “is more of a rectangular box that will be placed on a base vehicle.”
“The advantage to using these 10,000-gallon ISO containers is that they’re readily available,” Dracup told HHP Insight. “10,000 gallons completely suffices,” he said.
Longer Range than Diesel
Westport (Toronto:WPT or NASDAQ:WPRT) noted that its customer CN “is a true backbone of the economy, transporting approximately C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors.”
“All the railroads are interested now,” Dracup adds.
Putting a locomotive’s LNG fuel on a Westport LNG Tender, the company says, rather than simply replacing the diesel fuel tanks on existing locomotives, offers a number of advantages:
- more than 10,000 gallons LNG capacity – providing longer range than a diesel locomotive (emphasis added), reducing the need for fueling infrastructure and refueling stops;
- intelligent fueling controls allowing tenders to supply fuel to natural gas locomotives from multiple manufacturers, reducing operational complexity and investment in different proprietary fuel supply solutions;
- single tenders that can support two locomotives, reducing the capital investment required to move to LNG; and
- utilization of an industry standard vehicle design and 40-foot ISO LNG tank, “which minimizes cost and will allow production volumes to be rapidly increased as the industry migrates to LNG.”
“CN is testing natural gas locomotives and Westport’s experience in providing LNG solutions for transportation makes it the natural partner for us,” CN supply, fleet and fuel management VP Gerry Weber says in the Westport announcement.
“These tenders will be used immediately with our dual fuel locomotives in mainline service, allowing CN to continue to explore this technology as a means to advance the company’s sustainability agenda and improve environmental emissions,” Weber said.
InoxCVA for Low Pressure Tenders
Westport is collaborating with cryogenic transportation equipment specialist InoxCVA on what Sonntag calls “low pressure solutions for the dual fuel.” Thus the four InoxCVA tenders will differ in design from the tenders to be used when CN advances to high-pressure direct injection engines – also being developed in league with Westport (HHPi, October 14).
“The HPDI tender will be a different solution,” Sonntag told HHPi. The low-pressure tenders, he says in Westport’s Wednesday announcement, feature “a built-in upgrade pathway to the next-generation locomotives coming over the next few years.”
Taking It to the Customer
For the current four-unit order, LNG fuel will be vaporized on the tender rather than on the locomotive, Sonntag says – avoiding the need for insulated hosing to take the cryogenic liquid over the tender-locomotive coupling. Future Westport tenders for locomotives with high-pressure engines will also likely have vaporization equipment onboard, he says.
Sonntag also told HHPi that Westport shared the news about its new tenders with engine, railroad and Association of American Railroads executives in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning. AAR recently established a panel of association and railroad member company personnel to develop performance standards for natural gas fuel tenders to support future locomotives using natural gas fuel (HHPi, April 3).
Westport partner relationships VP Bruce Hodgins is the point man for the high pressure engine development project.Contact information is only available to premium subscribers. Click here to purchase a premium subscription.
Source: Westport Innovations with HHP Insight follow-up