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Kickstarter project for roof-mounted CNG tanks for LDVs

A Kickstarter project is seeking $25,000 in funding for the development of a roof-mounted 8 GGE CNG-tank case for light-duty bi-fuel vehicles. Inventor Richard Wallace is seeking to co-fund its development with a matching $35,000 grant from the state of Pennsylvania. (Wallace is putting in the first $10k.)

For my next personal daily driver, I want a bi-fuel ride—both gasohol (E10) & CNG fueled. I want the added CNG tanks mounted on the vehicle’s roof—not inside, not underneath, and not in the pickup’s bed. Maybe you’d like to have this option, too. OEMs don’t (and won’t) make a vehicle like this, however, with Kickstarter contributions—and an already-applied-for Pennsylvania state matching grant—this project aims to design & rapid-prototype our own roof-mount solution in a few months.

—Richard Wallace

Wallace is envisioning a rooftop plastic case (similar to a winter sports carrier from Thule or its ilk) into which 3 or 4 Type IV CNG tanks snap fit, like AA batteries into electric devices. Wallace further would like that case—with tanks, valves, & lines metal-strapped inside—to be able to pop down on the roof of a quickly-prep’d SUV in a Lego-like manner.

He wants to develop a case that:

  • Holds ~8 GGEs of CNG (in US-standard 3.6k PSI rated tanks);

  • Raises the vehicle’s roof height only ~1 foot;

  • Weighs ~200 pounds including tanks and CNG (5.66 lbs per GGE);

  • Can be close-fitted to different roof lines (length wise and across);

  • Fastens equivalent to best industry practice (CGA/CSA standards);

  • Needs only a few man-hours’ labor to install;

  • Is warrantable weather-tight and quiet at speed; and

  • Is designed so if it’s knocked off the vehicle it will i) stay together in one piece, and ii) not leak its gas charge. Currently-available break-away HP gas fittings, plus electric-contact blocks combined with solenoid valves, can achieve this fail-safe criteria, Wallace says.

The Kickstarter project depends on winning the Pennsylvania grant. All pledges will be returned if the grant is not won.

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