Automation & Motion Control

Slideshow: Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles Picking Up Steam

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Wayne Eleazer
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Re: give me gas
Wayne Eleazer   3/19/2014 10:09:11 AM
I did a study for NASA a few years ago on composite pressure vessels, and much of the available information was related to CNG use.

CNG powered vehicles clearly are the way to go for fleets, where an assured source of refueling is available.  Also, typically such larger vehicles can better accomodate the relatively large size and weight of CNG tanks.  With the best available current technology a CNG tank equal to 10 gal of gasoline is a few feet long, about 18 in in dia, and weighs 100 lb empty.

And contrary to what you would think, CNG tanks are markedly safer in an accident than are gasoline tanks.  There have even been instances in which a CNG tank leaked its contents, which ignited, inside a garage, and essentially no damage occured.  A gasoline leak probably would have destroyed the building.

But where CNG requires real care is in design, installation, and maintenance.  CNG tanks are very unforgiving to abuse, and while a wreck probably will not cause an immediate problem the aftermath may prove to be deadly.  A seemingly untouched CNG tank may react to damage some months later, and it usually does so during the refueling operation, when people are present very nearby.  Also, most CNG tanks have a specified service life, and woe be unto those who decide to ignore that limitation!

CNG is NOT suitable for shade tree mechanic work.




Charles Murray
User Rank
Re: give me gas
Charles Murray   3/18/2014 6:18:36 PM
I agree, naperlou. Another advantage of CNG is the fact that, unlike batteries, it requires only engineering, not scientific discovery.

User Rank
give me gas
naperlou   3/18/2014 11:22:05 AM
Chuck, this is the way to go for users of larger vehicles.  As I have mentioned before, there is a large concrete contractor in the Chicago area that is converting all their vehicles to run on CNG.  A real opportunity to lower CO2 emissions and lower the use of oil is for governments, at all levels, to convert. In almost all cases, these groups refuel at their own fueling stations anyway.  Thus, the availability of fueling stations is not a problem.  It will also lower their costs in the long run. 

Another aspect of this is that the government purchases will create an industrial base for these vehicles.  Now that there are commercially available vehicles, the market for used vehicles will be opened up.  This seems like a no brainer. 

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