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Eaton to develop affordable home refueling station for natural gas vehicles; liquid piston technology
20 July 2012
Eaton Corporation will develop an affordable home refueling station for natural gas vehicles, utilizing existing natural gas sources in the home and innovative compressor technology. The effort is funded in part by a $3.4-million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) MOVE project. (Earlier post.)
The refueling system will use liquid to act as a piston to compress natural gas. (E.g., earlier post.) Innovative heat exchanger technology will improve efficiency and cut cost dramatically. Eaton will collaborate with the University of Minnesota on thermodynamic analysis and modeling to enable the efficient transfer of heat in the compression process.
The goal is to develop a production prototype for refueling stations that will retail for about one-tenth of the cost of currently available systems.
The development project will be led by Eaton’s Innovation Center teams in Southfield, Mich., and Milwaukee and the Advanced Hydraulics group in Eden Prairie, Minn. Teams will draw on Eaton’s expertise in hydraulic component and systems design and experience gained through development and installation of thousands of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in public and residential spaces across the country.
Current natural gas refueling systems cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Eaton expects that its prototype will be available before the end of 2015 with a target production price of $500.
In the hydraulics industry, Eaton is a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of a comprehensive line of reliable, high-efficiency hydraulic systems and components for use in mobile and stationary applications, including markets such as agriculture, alternative energy, construction, mining, oil and gas, transportation and more.
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