Heavy-duty LNG trucks get to work

FOUR heavy-duty liquefied natural gas trucks began operating from Perth and Melbourne on Monday as part of an Australian LNG truck demonstration program by gaseous fuels research company Westport Innovations.
Heavy-duty LNG trucks get to work
Heavy-duty LNG trucks get to work
Heavy-duty LNG trucks get to work
Heavy-duty LNG trucks get to work
Heavy-duty LNG trucks get to work

Three long-distance truck fleet operators have begun running four new prototype Kenworth T404/408 SAR trucks powered by 2008 Cummins 15-litre ISX engines that use Westport’s direct injection LNG fuel system.

The four demonstration vehicles will use LNG supplied by Wesfarmers’ Kleenheat Gas.

Westport says it has received the first Australian pre-orders for its 2008-model year LNG truck systems.

“Because LNG is simply natural gas that has been cooled to the point where it changes state from gas to liquid, it is an excellent choice for highway trucks because of their range and weight restrictions,” Westport president and chief operating officer Michael Gallagher said.

With the assistance of the $1.4 million from the Federal Government’s Alternative Fuels Conversion Program, Westport has been working to develop and test its high pressure direct injection (HPDI) system for heavy-duty highway trucks in Australia’s demanding operating conditions.

Gallagher said the testing results conducted to date have validated:

  • Matching the Australian diesel power and torque ratings up to 580hp and 1850 pounds per foot;
  • Matching the efficiency and fuel consumption of the base diesel engine on the transient and composite test cycles;
  • Greenhouse gas reductions of over 20% relative to the base diesel on the transient and composite test cycles; and
  • Particulate matter reductions of approximately 50% relative to base diesel and meeting all other limits for certification to the Australian 2008 standards.
  • “We are excited to get these trucks on the road in Perth and Melbourne and to begin obtaining real-world economic and performance results,” Gallagher said.

    “The three participating fleets represent the most experienced LNG users in Australia, perhaps in the world.

    “Expanding our relations with Cummins and Kenworth to include the Australian operations has helped shorten development time and improve product integration.”

    The four demonstration vehicles will be operated on the following routes:

  • Mitchell West will operate two demonstration trucks, hauling crude oil with 100-tonnes gross combined mass (gross vehicle weight) on a continuous 24/7 basis from Dongara, 350km north of Perth, to a refinery in Kwinana, 50km south of Perth.
  • Sands Fridge Lines will transport up to 90-tonnes GCM of refrigerated goods to Bunbury and Geraldton from their cold storage in Perth.
  • Murray Goulburn Co-operative will haul milk products, with 68-tonnes GCM between Leongatha, 150km east of Melbourne, and Laverton, just west of Melbourne.
  • Westport’s first commercial order for LNG fuel systems in Australia, from Mitchell West in Perth, comprises four Westport direct injection LNG fuel systems integrated into new 2008 Kenworth K108 cab-over trucks powered by Cummins 15-litre engines for delivery in mid-2008, subject to demonstration results.

    Gallagher said Westport is planning to offer three LNG power ratings for the Australia Cummins ISX engine (ISX 485, ISX 525, and ISX 550) beginning in mid-2008, with peak power ranging from 500hp to 580hp, and torque of 1650 to 1850lb-ft, in selected 2008 model-year truck chassis.

    He said testing has been completed and a submission to the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services is being prepared for certification of the Westport LNG engine to the 2008 Australian standards (ADR 80/02).

    Gallagher said Westport's HPDI LNG fuel system for Australian heavy-duty trucks offers a unique industry solution with low greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining all the horsepower, torque, and efficiency of a diesel-fuelled engine that is required in heavy-duty truck applications.

    “The Westport engine is fuelled with approximately 95% LNG – a safe, cost-effective, low-carbon and low-emissions fuel,” he said.

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