GM Cancels the HUMMER H1
Concept: Natural Gas Delivery Via a NG-Powered Airship

Pakistan Hits One-Million Natural Gas Vehicle Mark

World NGV leaders. Click to enlarge.

According to statistics from the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP), the country now has more than one million natural gas vehicles on the road.

Pakistan is now one of three countries in the world with more than one million NGVs in their fleets, behind Brazil with 1,117,885 and Argentina with 1,459,236, according to statistics from the International Association of Natural Gas Vehicles.

The country has been making an all-out push on switching over to CNG as a fuel and thus reduce oil imports. (Earlier post.)

Vehicle conversions to CNG are clipping along at the rate of more than 40,000 per month, according to the Hydrocarbon Development Institute. The country now has 930 CNG stations operational with another 200 under construction.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, Pakistan currently is producing about 64,000 barrels per day of its own oil, while in 2005 it consumed an estimated 351,400 barrels per day.

By contrast, Pakistan has an estimated 26.83 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, and is essentially self-sufficient for the moment with that fuel. The country has estimated reserves of 26.83 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), and produced and consumed 0.84 Tcf in 2003.



Check out price for natural gas at San Jose airport...


How long does it take to fuel the "typical" CNG car?


...and yet the US spends billion on gasoline with no near term and long term solution in sight!!!



Coal, Corn, and CNG!

Seriously, yes, we are having supply problems because the world is sucking on the SAME hose( oil supplies).
What if .....traders can no longer ship energy to the highest bidder?
What if .....the USA had energy resources that could not be easily exported, to say, China or India?( I know we don't presently do this)
WHAT would happen is the price of energy would stablize or actually DECREASE in the USA!
Unless the aluminium battery is realized, the ONLY energy source that cannot be exported is ELECTRICITY!
If Congress and the Adminstration focued on DIRECT electric energy production(wind, solar, tidal),
We will have Peace, Power and Price, to our advantage.

Let the rest of the world fight over the remaining drops from the oil hose.

Rafael Seidl

Tripp -

a properly designed CNG system can be filled up to 200 bar pressure in about the time it would take to fill up a gasoline tank. Some designs take much longer, though.

However, range is currently still limited to ~200 miles in a passenger car. There are research efforts underway to increase range by raising pump pressures to 300 bar while maintaining the required margin of structural safety of the tanks (composite materials will be used).

tom deplume

Michigan imports about 25% of its electricity from Canada. Decades ago Bucky Fuller showed us how a global electrical grid could be established with a very high capacity 50 mile link across the Bering Sea. A global grid could distibute solar and wind power from wherever it is generated to wherever it is needed 24/7/365.


I certainly would like to see more of a discussion in this country about CNG as an alternative fuel. Everyone seems to be talking about ethanol and hydrogen, but I think CNG should be in there as well. We have large amounts of it and the distribution system is already in place, which is a lot more than you can say about ethanol and hydrogen.

John Baldwin

I own a CNG business in the UK that supplies trucks. The storage vessels are rated at 300 bar, with a 250bar settled pressure. Range is 450 miles, engines 380 bhp, dedicated CNG. All vehicles love to run on CNG, only a matter of time before the UK catches up wiuth Germany which has built 700 CNG stations in the last 3 years....why convert natural gas to hydrogen when you can just burn it directly in the engine!! Low pollution, low CO2, low issues at all!


The only problem with NG in the UK is that last year we came damn close to running out.

In the event of a shortage it would be industry that is asked to switch off first. If households are asked to switch off then it is possible that pensioners could suffer hypothermia etc.

I'm not sure that running vehicles en masse on the same stuff that we currently use for space heating & cooking is a particularly smart idea.

We (the UK) are now a net gas importer. Wouldn't it be better to stick to what gas most efficient at (ie. space heating & cooking) and leave oil for what it is best at (ie. easily stored liquid vehicle fuel)?



NG is awfully hard to transport. In developed countries construction of new pipelines is next to impossible. Compression and liquefaction takes sizable part of its energy. For US driver, who inflate their tires only when he will notice sparks from the rim scratching asphalt, 300 bar NG tank is a ticking bomb. One explosion will be enough for US lawyers to bankrupt whole NG industry. Yes, NG buses are the cleanest vehicles possible, and NG is great for refuse trucks and lorries too, thought due to high maintenance cost NG buses are no less expensive to run then clean diesel (at least in NY, where diesel fuel is not artificially overpriced)

Note, however, that NG is a source for synthesis of methanol, ethanol, butanol, synthetic gasoline and diesel, MTBE, DME, etc. It is possible to convert NG to liquid at remote wellhead and transport it as liquid. Huge gas-to-liquid plants begin operation in Bahrain and China. I believe it is the best technology we have at hand.


Tom Deplume
I say again:
the ONLY energy source that cannot be exported is ELECTRICITY.

Im not against regional sharing of resources with border neighbors because there is no way to stop it--a technical/economic reality.
If there is a "BUCK" to be made, someone will find a way of doing it.
Anyone can dream of of a world wide grid, but the losses would be too great. I understand that the longest line is about 1,000 miles, which should isolate the lower 48 states from "market greed".
We need to have LOWER energy costs than the world and not accept the pricing fiat of corporations.


If Pakistan has 26.83 TcF of proven reserves, and pumps 0.84 TcF per year, then it will deplete its proven reserves in about 32 years. That's not a long time.

0.84 TcF, as of the year 2003, does not account for the rapid growth in demand that an en masse switchover of automobiles from gasoline to CNG will produce, nor does it account for the continuing growth in demand that a growing population and growing economy will produce.

On the other hand, 26.83 TcF accounts for only the proven and feasibly recoverable reserves at the moment. That number could grow with further prospecting and technological developments. But I wonder what its natural upper limit really is.

I am not confident that CNG is anything more than a middle-term stopgap for a country like Pakistan.

Brett Jarman

Nice to see some vibrant discussion on CNG!

Andrey - Re: "NG is awfully hard to transport." Not correct. We've got vast pipeline networks spanning hundreds of thousands (millions?) of miles throughout the world. It is in fact easier (and safer) to transport than gasoline, diesel or propane.

Re: "In developed countries construction of new pipelines is next to impossible." I'm not sure what this statement is based on as pipelines are laid in developed countries on a daily basis. Given that CNG stations can utilise existing pipelines anyway, it is effectively an argument in favor of using natural gas vehicles (NGVs). The advent of home refuelling for CNG makes it even more favourable as it reduces the need for service stations on the street corners of our towns and cities.

Re: "For US driver, who inflate their tires only when he will notice sparks from the rim scratching asphalt, 300 bar NG tank is a ticking bomb." Again, not correct. Natural gas vehicles are inherently safer than traditional fuels. You can find a brief summary of safety issues on a site that I manage on behalf of the IANGV - I would argue you would be more at risk in a gasoline car with sparks flying from the rims than a natural gas vehicle.

Re: "NG buses are no less expensive to run then clean diesel" - The times they are a changing! Refer to the Tiax report mentioned here (July 26 listing) or here

Re converting the natural gas to a liquid - on a life cycle basis this would take even more energy than it does to compress or liquefy gas.

NBK Boston - Comments on the reserves of natural gas in Pakistan are valid and apply in other parts of the world also, but trends are emerging for the production of natural gas as biomethane from waste and agricultural sources - making it virtually limitless almost anywhere in the world. See Mike's recent item on it here

An Engineer

Andrey - Re: "NG is awfully hard to transport." Not correct. We've got vast pipeline networks spanning hundreds of thousands (millions?) of miles throughout the world. It is in fact easier (and safer) to transport than gasoline, diesel or propane.
Go educate yourself, before you make these senseless statements. I suggest you start with thermodynamics. Basically, it comes down to this: the lower the density of a fluid, the more energy-intensive it is to transport. Hence it always requires more energy to move a ton of gas than a ton of liquid. So it requires more energy to transport gas, i.e. it is more expensive.

It should be obvious that a gas transportation system is a lot more complicated that a liquid transportation system. Hint: you can open a liquid system and look inside, with no real loss of the fluid. Try that with a gaseous system!

As for safety, see the previous point. If your system springs a leak, the escaping gas has the potential to burn as fast as it escapes. For a liquid to burn, it must first evaporate. While some fluids evaporate rapidly (gasoline) others do not (diesel, crude, etc.)

Bottom line: It is always harder and less safe to transport fuel gas compared to liquid fuel.

Roger Pham

The range problem of CNG vehicles can be addressed by optimizing the fuel-efficiency of the vehicle in the form of gas-electric hybrid, and the addition of 20% of hydrogen into the methane (Hythane) thus the potential to improve fuel economy up to 40% by supporting ultra-lean combustion. For example, the rumored 2008 Prius with 94mpg fuel efficiency will require a CNG tank no larger than the size of current gasoline tank in order to have the same range as a comparable non-hybrid gasoline vehicle.
CNG can be produced cheaply and efficiently from gasification of all types of inedible waste biomass, in comparison to much more expensive, complex and slow process of cellulosic ethanol production. Thus, CNG can be considered also as a potentially renewable fuel. If this resource is very efficiently used, along with mixed-in hydrogen produced from renewable sources such as solar and wind energy, we can clearly and cleanly move away from fossil fuels that are polluting and causing global warming.

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