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Fuel tank for natural gas vehicles moves toward commercialization

By Scott Jenkins |

Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are attractive because of the low cost and wide availability of natural gas, plus the ability to connect to residential and business gas lines for fueling. Among the challenges for using natural gas as a fuel for light-duty vehicles is engineering a fuel tank that can contain a sufficient amount of natural gas safely and in a space-efficient volume that is still cost-effective for cars. As a vehicle fuel, compressed natural gas (CNG) — at pressures of 3,000–3,600 psig — requires large thick-walled cylindrical tanks that have a limited ability to conform to available spaces in cars or light trucks. In addition, the cost of compression equipment is prohibitive for light-duty vehicle use. A manufacturing coalition is now commercializing a natural gas fuel tank that uses activated carbon to adsorb the fuel. Adsorbed natural gas (ANG) enables increased natural gas storage at much lower pressures (<1,000 psig) and, as a result, tank designs that are much more flexible in how they can be shaped to fit into vehicle bodies. Also, the lower pressure allows more reasonably priced compression equipment for home and business vehicle fueling directly from low-pressure natural gas pipelines. One of the companies…
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