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Research & Development

Valtek has developed, over time, leading position in most of the markets it serves by utilizing state-of-the-art technologies and enabling our customers to meet new challenges taking in account always safety and cost targets, while reducing time-to-market.

In addition, it positions itself as a "solution provider" for its customers, able to design, test and manufacture full systems in close coordination with OEMs’ own R&D depts

The automotive industry demands competitive systems that meet increasingly stringent regulations. We are committed to a partnership process that supports our customer’s global strategies. Continuosly enhancing our innovation capabilities, we supply cutting-edge solutions, products and services.

Increasingly, more and more products are developed for a specific application. This is to ensure that our products and the customer’s product are as correctly designed but it is also the fact that by working closely with us the product cannot be just improved but  that we are able to provide solutions that will enhance the function of the product and add reliability.

We have made a conscious effort to deliver more value to our customers, not just in mere product terms, but also on service and innovation levels. Every year the company applies for a number of patents, mostly related to components changes, durability or safety issues.

Our strategy & policy is to supply only tailored made products in order to have excellent performances in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and cost saving. We drive the company know-how - which derives from a long cumulated experience—aiming to offer the best combined performance.

Research & Development Tools

+AMESim

Advanced Modeling Environment for Simulations (AMESim) is a dynamic modeling system which applies the Bond Graph technique. It's used to develop a numerical model to define the behavior of the injector.

Injector behavior can be described in a one-dimensional geometry representation.

System design is based on the existing libraries: PNEUMATIC, SIGNAL, and MECHANICAL.

Boundary Condition for AMESim Simulation

AMESim Boundary Condition

Final Simulation Applied on CNG Component

AMESim

+Biogas

Biogas typically refers to a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste. It is a renewable energy source and in many cases exerts a very small carbon footprint.

Biogas can be produced by anaerobic digestion with anaerobic bacteria, which digest material inside a closed system, or fermentation of biodegradable materials.

Biogas is primarily methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) and may have small amounts of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), moisture and siloxanes. The gases methane, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide (CO) can be combusted or oxidized with oxygen. This energy release allows biogas to be used as a fuel; it can be used for any heating purpose, such as cooking. It can also be used in a gas engine to convert the energy in the gas into electricity and heat.

Biogas can be compressed, the same way natural gas is compressed to CNG, and used to power motor vehicles. In the UK, for example, biogas is estimated to have the potential to replace around 17% of vehicle fuel. It qualifies for renewable energy subsidies in some parts of the world. Biogas can be cleaned and upgraded to natural gas standards, when it becomes bio methane

Composition

The composition of biogas varies depending upon the origin of the anaerobic digestion process. Landfill gas typically has methane concentrations around 50%. Advanced waste treatment technologies can produce biogas with 55% to75% methane, which for reactors with free liquids can be increased to 80% to 90% methane using in-situ gas purification techniques. As produced, biogas contains water vapor. The fractional volume of water vapor is a function of biogas temperature; correction of measured gas volume for water vapor content and thermal expansion is easily done via simple mathematics which yields the standardized volume of dry biogas.

In some cases, biogas contains siloxanes. They are formed from the anaerobic decomposition of materials commonly found in soaps and detergents. During combustion of biogas containing siloxanes, silicon is released and can combine with free oxygen or other elements in the combustion gas. Deposits are formed containing mostly silica (SiO2) or silicates (SixOy) and can contain calcium, sulfur, zinc, phosphorus. Such white mineral deposits accumulate to a surface thickness of several millimeters and must be removed by chemical or mechanical means.

Practical and cost-effective technologies to remove siloxanes and other biogas contaminants are available.  

For 1,000 kg (wet weight) of input to a typical biodigester, total solids may be 30% of the wet weight while volatile suspended solids may be 90% of the total solids. Protein would be 20% of the volatile solids, carbohydrates would be 70% of the volatile solids, and finally fats would be 10% of the volatile solids.

Biogas, if compressed, it can replace compressed natural gas for use in vehicles, where it can fuel an internal combustion engine or fuel cells and is a much more effective displacer of carbon dioxide than the normal use in on-site CHP plants.

+Certifications

All our products are developed, manufactured and tested in accordance with standards for LPG, CNG and LNG applications.

  • R67 : Approval of specific equipment for vehicles in the M and N categories, using liquefied petroleum gases in their propulsion system
  • R110 : Specific components of motor vehicles using CNG and/or LNG in their propulsion system
  • ISO15500 : Road vehicles – CNG fuel system components
  • UL : Safety certification for US market

+CFD Analysis

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Analysis within Westport group is developed with ANSYS FLUENT.

ANSYS FLUENT is a finite volume solver created for evaluating many aspects of 2D/3D flow models. It is currently an industry-standard for single/multiphase flows, combustion studies, fluid heat exchanges studies.

Case Study: High Pressure Flow Through a CNG Filling Valve

  1. The model is created in an integrated graphic ambient using data imported from designer's CAD system.
  2. The Meshing process is guided and analysed using automated algorithms.

  3. The boundary conditions and material data are specified in a pre-processor environment: it is possible to simulate the geometry in a wide variety conditions.
  4. The solver provides a solution for the simulation.
  5. The numerical solution is checked in order to evaluate its accurancy and coherency.

In the end, the graphical results are printed out using a sophisticated GUI: a variety of useful information could be extracted from the numerical database.

+Design of Experiments

Designs of experiments capabilities provide a method for simultaneously investigating the effects of multiple variables on an output variable (response). These experiments consist of a series of runs, or tests, in which purposeful changes are made to input variables or factors, and data is collected at each run.

+DME

Dimethyl ether (DME), also known as methoxymethane, is the organic compound with the formula CH3OCH3. The simplest ether, it is a colorless gas that is a useful precursor to other organic compounds and an aerosol propellant being researched as a future energy option. It is an isomer of ethanol.

Production

One method of production is by dehydration of methanol:

2 CH3OH → (CH3)2O + H2O

The required methanol is obtained from synthesis gas (syngas). In principle, the methanol could be obtained from organic waste or biomass. Other possible improvements call for a dual catalyst system that permits both methanol synthesis and dehydration in the same process unit, with no methanol isolation and purification.

Both the one-step and two-step processes above are commercially available. Currently, there is more widespread application of the two-step process since it is relatively simple and start-up costs are relatively low. It is worth mentioning that there is a developing one-step liquid-phase process.

Application as Fuel

A potentially major use of DME is as substitute for propane in LPG used as fuel in household and industry.

It is also a promising fuel in diesel engines, petrol engines (30% DME / 70% LPG), and gas turbines. For diesel engines, an advantage is the high cetane number of 55, compared to that of diesel fuel from petroleum, which is 40–53. Only moderate modifications are needed to convert a diesel engine to burn DME. The simplicity of this short carbon chain compound leads during combustion to very low emissions of particulate matter, NOx, and CO. For these reasons as well as being sulfur-free, DME meets even the most stringent emission regulations in Europe (Euro V), U.S. (U.S. 2010), and Japan (2009 Japan). Mobil uses DME in their methanol to gasoline process.

DME is being developed as a synthetic second generation biofuel (BioDME), which can be manufactured from lignocellulosic biomass. Currently the EU is considering BioDME in its potential biofuel mix in 2030, the Volvo Group is the coordinator for the European Community Seventh Framework Programme project BioDME where Chemrec's BioDME pilot plant based on black liquor gasification is nearing completion in Piteå, Sweden

+FEA

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) within the Westport group is developed with ANSYS Mechanical Desktop Environment.  ANSYS Mechanical Desktop is multiphysics simulation environment created for evaluating many aspects of 2D/3D models. It is currently an industry-standard for mechanics/statics/dynamics simulations.

Case Study: O-Ring Behaviour Under Heavy Load

  1. The model is created in an integrated graphic ambient.
  2. The meshing process allows the capture of every aspect of the physical process: the mesh is automatically analysed after the creation.
  3. The mechanical/thermal loads, pressures, supports, displacements, and forces can be set independently on the model. The entire load timing can be set in a wide range:
  4. Results analysis: Displacement
    1. Shutter duty full closed:
    2. Pressure (200 barA) effects

It's clear that the huge deformation amount is due to the very high pressure application on the round axys-simmetric gasket. Further analysis related to load and contact pressure between elements are possible.

+LNG

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a liquid form of a gas. If you take compressed natural gas (CNG) and cool it down to -162 °C, you get liquid. It's known as a "cryogenic fuel."

Since LNG in its natural state takes up 1/600 of space compared to CNG, a vehicle can store more fuel onboard with a single LNG tank, compared to a set of CNG cylinders of the same overall volume.

LNG fuel has advantages when it comes to extended vehicle range. Although the LNG fueling network is currently under development in Europe, there are many "blue-corridor" projects crossing many countries, to give fleets greater fueling opportunities. For now, routes of LNG vehicles should be accurately planned in advance, to ensure a vehicle can be adequately fuelled on the road.

To get an amount of LNG fuel equivalent to diesel, The LNG tank(s) should to be about 1.8 times the size of the diesel tank: in other terms, you need 1.8 times the tank capacity of LNG, to reach the equivalent amount of fuel and range of diesel.

+Metal Replacement

The evolution of technology and a more competitive market push our research and development teams to improve, and to evolve so that our products are consistently becoming more efficient and reliable.

One example of our improvements is changing material, which means redesigning the product in for optimal function of new technology.

As an example, this injector illustrates our strategy. Our rail was historically made with an aluminum body, but we redesigned the injector and made the body in techno-polymer.

The advantage is it creates a lighter injector.

aluminum body polymer body

+Pressure Drop Simulation

Pressure drop simulation within Westport group is developed with CFD software.
A finite volume solver is applied for evaluating many aspects related to pressure drop. It is currently an industry-standard for single/multiphase flows.

Case Study: Pressure Drop in Injector Nozzle

  1. The model is created in an integrated graphic ambient using data imported from the designer's CAD system:
  2. The Meshing process is guided and analysed using automated algorithms.
  3. The boundary conditions and material data are specified in a pre-processor environment: it is possible to simulate the geometry in a wide variety conditions.
  4. The pressure drop is numerically and precisely evaluated: it is possible to account for the effect of very small design changes.

+Product Validations

Each new product or existing product modification needs to be validated to guarantee it conforms to its reference standards and functionality.

Westport Italy offers a complete range of laboratory equipment and test methods to completely validate our large range of products.

Validations are performed in compliance with national and international standards (UN ECE – ISO – UNI), and the test matrix is integrated with any customer's additional requests, but a complete product validation includes additional tests performed using internal specifications based on best practices.

+SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS is solid modeling CAD (computer-aided design) software that runs on Microsoft Windows and since 1997 has been produced by Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corporation.

SOLIDWORKS is currently used by over two million engineers and designers at more than 165,000 companies worldwide.

It allows the creation of intuitive solutions for all aspects of the design process; it's easy to use and in addition to part creation, it offers fully detailed drawings necessary for the generation of complex surfaces.

It includes also tools for performing stress and deformation analysis. It permits the complete definition of the designed model: thickness, radii, draft, markings and design according to customer needs and requirements.

+Test Report

Westport Italy’s Laboratory Quality System has a process that ensures each test is registered with a test report and results are checked from the reference manager.

Each test report refers to a reference project, customer or activity.

These reports are either a Passed/Not Passed test report or an evaluation test report.

There are different types of tests, such as:

  • Validation test report
  • Endurance test report
  • Functional test report
  • R&D test report
  • Claim analysis
  • 8D reports

This system traces all the activity performed in the laboratory, and directs the information quickly according to the reference project, customer or activity.