[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
WVU study fully characterizes pump-to-wheels methane emissions from HD natural gas vehicles and fueling stations
January 12, 2017
Researchers at West Virginia University have characterized pump-to-wheels methane emissions from heavy-duty (HD) natural-gas-fueled vehicles and the compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations that serve them. The study, published as an open-access paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, greatly expands on very limited data on methane emissions from natural gas-fueled vehicles.
The WVU pump-to-wheels study is the first end-use paper in a collaborative scientific research series designed to measure and better understand the sources and amount of greenhouse-gas methane that is emitted across the natural gas supply chain.
ExxonMobil develops efficient new technology to dehydrate natural gas; exclusive license to Sulzer
January 05, 2017
ExxonMobil has developed new technology for natural gas dehydration that employs a patented absorption system inside pipes and replaces the need for conventional dehydration tower technology. The “in-line” cMIST (Compact Mass transfer and Inline Separation Technology) could be deployed at both land-based and offshore natural gas production operations and represents a step-change in efficiency and a concomitant significant reduction in operational footprint.
The new technology, developed and extensively field-tested by ExxonMobil, more efficiently removes water vapor present during the production of natural gas. Removing water vapor through the use of dehydration technology, typically accomplished using large and expensive dehydration towers, reduces corrosion and equipment interference helping to ensure the safe and efficient transport of natural gas through the supply infrastructure and ultimately to consumers.
DOE awards $18M to 5 projects to accelerate development of plug-in electric vehicles & use of other alternative fuels
December 23, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $18 million to five projects for research, development, and demonstration of innovative plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and direct injection propane engine technologies, as well as community-based projects to accelerate the adoption of light, medium and heavy duty vehicles that operate on fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, E85, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane.
Odyne Systems, LLC will receive $2.9 million to develop and demonstrate plug-in hybrid work trucks (class 7) that reduce fuel consumption by more than 50% and eliminate fuel consumption during stationary operations.
Cummins Westport ISB6.7 G midrange natural gas engine now in full production
December 09, 2016
Cummins Westport’s ISB6.7 G, a 6.7 liter midrange, factory-built natural gas engine is now fully available as a production engine for shuttle bus, medium duty truck, and vocational applications in North America. (Earlier post.) As previously announced, the engine has been available for school bus applications since May 2016 from Thomas Built Buses. The 6.7 liter engine platform has large OEM availability for midrange trucks, vocational trucks and mid size buses and the expansion of applications potentially available for the ISB6.7 G engine more than doubles its addressable market.
The ISB6.7 G is based on the Cummins ISB6.7 diesel engine platform, the industry leader in the Cummins midrange engine family, and operates exclusively on natural gas, including compressed, liquid, or renewable natural gas (RNG). The ISB6.7 G is the second engine from Cummins Westport (CWI) to receive emission certification from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Air Resources Board (ARB) in California for meeting the Optional Low NOx Emissions standards.
Eco-Motive reveals prototype H-Motor dual fuel engine; road testing to begin soon
December 02, 2016
Eco-Motive, a startup developing what it calls the first dual-fuel “H” engine (earlier post), revealed photos of a full-scale prototype of the Eco-Motive H-Motor. The prototype was completed in February 2016 and was built to reflect the engine configuration when installed in a vehicle; testing in driving applications will begin soon.
The H-shaped engine has parallel left-side and right-side vertical inline piston banks, each with a crankshaft and pistons, cylinder head, and individual fuel feeds, but sharing a common power transmission system. The H-motor—essentially two separate engines housed within the same engine block—can be powered by either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG), at the driver’s decision.
Chevrolet and GMC expand alternative fuel fleet offerings; expanded CNG/LPG lineup
November 22, 2016
Chevrolet and GMC are partnering with Power Solutions International, Inc. (PSI) to introduce heavy-duty pickups and full-size vans powered by 6.0-liter V-8 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-capable engines starting in the first quarter of 2017. Chevrolet also will offer CNG and LPG versions of its new Low Cab Forward commercial truck.
The announcement follows the selection of PSI, based in Wood Dale, Illinois, as General Motors Fleet’s preferred upfitter for CNG and LPG trucks. PSI is one of North America’s largest and most experienced providers of integrated turn-key, alternative-fuel powertrain solutions.
Big Blue Bus receives nearly $900K to purchase 58 new Cummins-Westport Near-Zero NOx engines
In California, Big Blue Bus (BBB) will receive $870,000 from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee’s (MSRC) Near Zero Engine Incentive Program. Big Blue Bus will use the grant approved by the MSRC partially to fund the purchase of 58 new Cummins-Westport 8.9L ISL G Near-Zero (NZ) 0.02 NOx engines. The NZ engine is the first mid-range engine in North America to receive emission certifications from both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) meeting the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards. (Earlier post.)
The new engines will be installed over a period of 3 to 4 years, at a rate of 12 to 18 buses per year.
Oil and Gas Climate Initiative to invest $1B over 10 years in low-emissions tech
November 04, 2016
The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) will invest $1 billion over the next ten years to develop and to accelerate the commercial deployment of innovative low-emissions technologies.
Led by the heads of ten oil and gas companies that aim to lead the industry response to climate change, OGCI member companies—BP, CNPC, Eni, Pemex, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco, Statoil and Total—together represent one fifth of the world’s oil and gas production. The OGCI was established following discussions during the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, and was officially launched at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York in September 2014.
Cummins Westport begins production of ISL G Near Zero NOx natural gas engine; first commercially available near zero NOx MidRange engine
October 14, 2016
Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) announced that orders are being processed and production of the ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine (earlier post) has commenced. The 8.9-liter ISL G NZ is the first MidRange engine in North America to receive emission certification from both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California to meet the optional 0.02 g/bhp-hr. Near Zero NOx Emissions standards eight years in advance of the 2023 California Near Zero NOx schedule and contributing to California Clean Air initiatives.
Exhaust emissions of the ISL G NZ are 90% lower than the current EPA and ARB NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr and also meet the 2017 EPA greenhouse gas (GHG) emission requirements. CWI natural gas engines have met the 2010 EPA standard for particulate matter (0.01 g/bhp-hr) since 2001.
FCA, IVECO and Snam sign MoU for development of natural gas as an environmentally friendly vehicle fuel
October 06, 2016
Alfredo Altavilla (Chief Operating Officer of FCA EMEA Region), Pierre Lahutte (IVECO Brand President) and Marco Alverà (Chief Executive Officer of Snam), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at fostering the development of natural gas as a fuel for road vehicles. The MoU was signed in the presence of Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Graziano Delrio, and is part of a wider set of initiatives to promote sustainable mobility.
Italy is the leading European market for natural gas consumption for vehicles, with more than 1 billion cubic meters consumed in 2015 and about 1 million vehicles currently in circulation. Italy’s natural gas value chain in the transport sector is globally recognized for its technological and environmental excellence, and Italy is also able to leverage Europe’s largest, most accessible gas pipeline network, stretching over more than 32,000 km (20,000 miles).
GD Tech delivers prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for 13L IVECO engine; HDGas project
September 24, 2016
GDTech Engineering s.a. has developed and delivered prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for heavy-duty long-haul LNG mono-fuel engines.
This injector will be applied in the future IVECO Cursor 13 DI-CNG engine being developed as part of the HDGas project in Europe. GDTech is the injector supplier to Fiat Powertrain Technology Industrial (which is in charge of the development of new IVECO engines for coaches, buses & industrial applications).
Cal Energy Commission approves $1M grant to develop 12L near-zero NOx nat gas engine
September 15, 2016
The California Energy Commission approved a $1-million grant to develop a 12-liter natural gas engine that produces near-zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) tailpipe emissions. The engines would be suitable for heavy-duty vehicles. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will work with Cummins Westport, Inc., to develop the engine. Cummins has a history of developing natural gas engines for heavy-duty application, and its engines are being used globally in a variety of commercial vehicles.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2010 emission standards for heavy-duty engines establish a limit for NOx emissions of 0.2 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr), and constitute a 90% reduction of emissions compared to the previous standard (CARB 2007) of 2.0 g/bhp-hr. Nevertheless, it is projected that even with the entire on-road fleet of heavy-duty vehicles compliant with the 2010 standards, upcoming National Ambient Air Quality Standards requirements for ozone attainment cannot be achieved in California’s worst air basins without further significant reductions in NOx emissions from heavy-duty fleets.
Gen 2 Audi A5 Sportback available as bivalent g-tron; Audi e-gas, natural gas or gasoline
September 07, 2016
Following on the heels of the introduction of the second-generation A5 in June (earlier post), Audi has now introduced the new A5 and S5 Sportback coupé models.
The second generation comes with a completely reengineered suspension, high-performance drives and innovative driver assistance systems. The S5 takes to the road with a new six-cylinder turbo engine developing 354 hp (264 kW) and 500 N·m (369 lb-ft). In a new departure, the A5 Sportback is also available as a bivalent g-tron, which customers can run on either Audi e-gas (earlier post), natural gas or gasoline.
UTA study indicates air contamination near fracking sites result of operational inefficiencies, not inherent to the extraction process
August 27, 2016
A study led by chemists at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) indicates that highly variable contamination events registered in and around unconventional oil and gas developments are the result of operational inefficiencies and not inherent to the extraction process itself.
The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, found highly variable levels of ambient BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene compounds) in and around fracking gas drilling sites in the Eagle Ford shale region in South Texas. In situ air quality measurements using membrane inlet mobile mass spectrometry revealed ambient benzene and toluene concentrations as high as 1000 and 5000 parts-per-billion, respectively, originating from specific sub-processes on unconventional oil and gas well pad sites. BTEX compounds in high concentrations can be carcinogenic and have harmful effects on the nervous system.
Kenworth receives $8.6M in grants for low-emission T680 Day Cab drayage truck projects in California; hybrids, CNG hybrid and fuel cell
August 20, 2016
Kenworth has been awarded three government grants totaling $8.6 million that will support low emissions projects involving Kenworth T680 Day Cabs targeted for use as drayage tractors in Southern California ports.
The first two projects are funded at $1.9 million each by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build two, proof-of-concept T680 Day Cab drayage tractors to transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards along the I-710 corridor in the Los Angeles basin.
New Flyer adds 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine to Xcelsior bus lineup; debuting in LA
August 18, 2016
Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc., the largest heavy-duty transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, is adding the 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine (earlier post) to its Xcelsior bus family. New Flyer is the first transit manufacturer to offer the industry’s cleanest certified engine and will deliver the first original OEM installation of a the engine in the third quarter of 2016.
The ISL G NZ compressed natural gas is certified by both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California to meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards for medium-duty truck, urban bus, school bus and refuse applications. The engine will be used to power a New Flyer Xcelsior XN40 bus for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). LA Metro operates the largest natural gas engine transit vehicle fleet in North America.
Study quantifies impact of oil and gas emissions on Denver’s ozone problem
August 12, 2016
The first peer-reviewed study to directly quantify how emissions from oil and natural gas (O&NG) activities influence summertime tropospheric ozone (O3) pollution in the Colorado Front Range confirms that chemical vapors from oil and gas activities are a significant contributor to the region’s chronic ozone problem.
Summertime ozone pollution levels in the northern Front Range periodically spike above 70 parts per billion (ppb), which is considered unhealthy—on average, 17 ppb of that ozone is produced locally. The new research, published in an open-access paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, shows that oil and gas emissions contribute an average of 3 ppb of the locally produced ozone daily, and potentially more than that on high-ozone days.
Surprise Natural Gas Drawdown Signals Higher Prices Ahead
August 09, 2016
by Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com
The US electric power sector burned through a record amount of natural gas in recent weeks, a sign of the shifting power generation mix and also a signal that natural gas supplies could get tighter than many analysts had previously expected.
The EIA reported a surprise drawdown in natural gas inventories for the week ending on August 3. The reduction of 6 billion cubic feet (Bcf) was the first summertime drawdown since 2006. Natural gas spot prices shot up following the data release on August 4, although they fell back again shortly after.
New ceramic membrane enables first direct conversion of methane to liquids without CO2 emissions
August 05, 2016
A team from CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, the University of Oslo (Norway), and the Instituto de Tecnología Química (ITQ) (Spain) has developed a new process for the direct, non-oxidative conversion of methane to liquids—reducing cost, eliminating multiple process steps, and avoiding CO2 emissions.
The process uses a novel ceramic membrane that simultaneously extracts hydrogen and injects oxide ions. The resulting aromatic precursors are source chemicals for insulation materials, plastics, textiles, and jet fuel, among other valuable products. A paper describing the process is published in the journal Science.
EPA issues final actions to cut methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills
July 17, 2016
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to reduce emissions of methane-rich landfill gas from new, modified and reconstructed municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, updating standards that were issued in 1996.
In a separate action, EPA also issued revised guidelines for reducing emissions from existing MSW landfills, updating the previous Emissions Guidelines, which also were issued in 1996.
Cal Energy to award up to $4M for off-road heavy-duty natural gas vehicle research and development
July 13, 2016
The California Energy Commission will award up to $4 million (GFO-16-501) to projects to to support the research and development of heavy-duty off-road vehicles powered by conventional or renewable natural gas.
Projects should incorporate advanced low emission engine technology currently available for heavy-duty on-road vehicles. Existing advanced natural gas engine technologies could be adapted to provide this market segment with a natural gas engine option capable of exceeding current, Tier 4, emission regulations while simultaneously meeting the performance needs of off-road applications.
Neos and Lockheed Martin to develop enhanced next-gen airborne gravity gradiometer to advance ability to find oil, gas & minerals
July 06, 2016
In partnership with Lockheed Martin, Neos Inc. will develop a new generation sensor to be used to find oil, gas and minerals beneath the earth’s surface from the air. The new Full Tensor Gradiometry (FTG) Plus technology has 20 times the sensitivity and 10 times greater bandwidth than current gravity gradiometers, according to Neos.
Gravity gradiometers have been commercially used for more than 20 years and militarily longer than that. The technology is based on the principle that earth’s gravity field varies with location, local topography and sub-surface geologic features. Measuring the gravity variation caused by items beneath the earth’s surface can help identify unique underground and undersea geologic structures. The new airborne FTG Plus sensor is so advanced it could find a 10-meter tall hill buried one kilometer below the earth’s surface.
LLNL 3-D printed biocatalytic polymer turns methane to methanol at room temperature and pressure
June 15, 2016
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have combined biology and 3-D printing to create the first reactor that can continuously produce methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure.
Methane monooxygenases (MMOs), found in methanotrophic bacteria, are selective catalysts for methane activation and conversion to methanol under mild conditions; however, these enzymes are not amenable to standard enzyme immobilization approaches. Using particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), the researchers created a biocatalytic polymer material that converts methane to methanol. They embedded the material within a silicone lattice to create mechanically robust, gas-permeable membranes, and the direct printing of micron-scale structures with controlled geometry. The enzymes retain up to 100% activity in the polymer construct.
Siluria Technologies and Air Liquide partner to develop and deliver novel catalytic process technologies to global energy markets
June 07, 2016
Siluria Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, the engineering and construction business of the Air Liquide Group, to collaborate on the development of novel catalytic processes utilizing both companies’ expertise in gas conversion technologies.
The novel process offering will be developed using the proven innovation platform that has given rise to Siluria’s revolutionary Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) technology (earlier post), but will be focused on entirely new fields beyond the companies’ current product offerings. Siluria and Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions have agreed to work as partners in the commercialization—including marketing and licensing—of the jointly developed process technologies resulting from the collaboration.
Cummins unveils SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses; diesel, hybrid and near-zero NOx engines
May 20, 2016
Cummins Inc. unveiled the SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses, which focuses on improved uptime and reliability. As part of the SmartEfficiency initiative, Cummins revealed the 2017 L9 diesel and 2017 B6.7 hybrid engine systems; the ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine (earlier post); the isolated engine coolant loop system for the 2017 L9 and ISL G; and a new SmartSupport service program.
Available in 2017, the L9 for transit applications will continue to use the modular aftertreatment architecture. A SmartEfficiency-driven improvement is the isolated coolant loop for transit buses using an L9 or ISL G powertrain, which improves reliability and reduces downtime.
ANGP commercializes 1st ANSI NGV2-certified on-board low pressure ANG technology storage system for LDVs
May 04, 2016
Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. (ANGP) has successfully installed the industry’s first ANSI NGV2-certified adsorbed natural gas (ANG) active storage system. The system, which ANGP calls its first-generation (GEN 1) ANG System, comprises six activated carbon monolith-filled seamless aluminum cylinders, fully ANSI NGV2-certified for an operating pressure of 900 psig, and ANGP’s low-pressure fuel management system.
The first system was successfully installed on ANGP’s 2014 Ford F-150 pick-up truck equipped with Ford’s CNG/LPG-ready 3.7 liter V6 bi-fuel engine for gasoline or natural gas operation. The ANGP GEN 1 ANG system includes several industry firsts:
Cal Energy Commission approves ~$9M for DC fast chargers; $12.6M for NGV incentives
April 14, 2016
The California Energy Commission approved nearly $9 million in grants for the installation of DC fast chargers along major state freeways and highways to allow electric vehicle drivers to travel from San Diego to the Oregon border without worrying about running out of energy.
The grants went to four companies—Chargepoint Inc.; EV Connect Inc.; NRG EV Services LLC; and Recargo, Inc.—which will install 61 DC fast chargers at 41 sites along major routes on Interstate 5, Highway 99 and Highway 101. Fast chargers allow vehicles to fully charge in 20 to 30 minutes. Additionally, 40 sites will have one Level 2 charger, and one site will have two Level 2 chargers. Level 2 chargers allow most vehicles to go from zero to full charge in four to eight hours.
PennDOT selects Trillium CNG team for $84.5M CNG fueling station project
March 30, 2016
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has selected a team led by Trillium CNG team, for the department’s $84.5-million Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) transit fueling station Public-Private Partnership (P3) project. Trillium will design, build, finance, operate and maintain CNG fueling stations at 29 public transit agency sites through a 20-year P3 agreement.
Stations will be constructed over the next five years and the firm will also make CNG-related upgrades to existing transit maintenance facilities. When the project is completed, the fueling stations will supply gas to more than 1,600 CNG buses at transit agencies across the state.
IIT team explores combustion, performance and emissions characteristics of HCNG blends in spark ignition engine
March 28, 2016
A new study by a team from the Engine Research Laboratory at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur explores the combustion, performance and emission characteristics of a prototype spark ignition engine operating with different blend ratios of HCNG (hydrogen and compressed natural gas blends). Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
Use of lower carbon natural gas and carbon-free hydrogen have potential to reduce harmful emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and and could displace a portion of conventional liquid fossil fuels, the IIT noted. However, both fuels pose different challenges for use in internal combustion (IC) engines.
CNG Fuels and National Grid unveil first high-pressure grid-connected CNG filling station; biomethane option
March 21, 2016
UK-based CNG Fuels, in partnership with National Grid, has unveiled a new state-of-the-art filling station in Leyland, Lancashire, allowing vehicles to fill up on compressed natural gas (CNG) directly from the high-pressure local transmission system.
The new facility is the first of its kind in the UK and features a high-pressure connection, delivered by National Grid. This key piece of transport infrastructure is capable of refueling more than five hundred HGVs per day. The first major customer, Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, filled up at the new facility at unveiling, as a fleet of branded heavy-duty trucks rolled onto the forecourt.
UPS to invest $100M more in compressed natural gas, CNG vehicles and related infrastructure
March 16, 2016
UPS plans to build an additional 12 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and add 380 new CNG tractors to its growing alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. The CNG fueling stations and vehicle purchases totaling $100 million are part of UPS’ ongoing commitment to diversify its fuel sources and reduce its environmental impact.
UPS is working to meet its goal of logging one billion miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017, using a Rolling Laboratory approach to determine the right alternative fuel solutions to meet the unique needs of route-specific driving environments.
EPA to develop regulations for methane emissions from existing oil and gas wells; ICR coming in April
March 10, 2016
The US EPA will begin developing regulations for methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources—e.g., oil and gas wells. The agency announced plans to cut methane emissions from new oil and gas wells last year. (Earlier post.)
The expanded regulatory scope comes in support of the newly announced commitment by President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to new actions to reduce methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector, the largest industrial source of methane.
Cal Energy awards GTI $1M grant to demo production-intent version of CWI 6.7L medium-duty natural gas engine with HD-OBD
The California Energy Commission awarded the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) a $1-million grant to demonstrate a production-intent advanced version of the Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) ISB6.7 G natural gas engine. The advanced version engine meets the 2018 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Heavy-Duty On-Board Diagnostics (HD-OBD) requirements and will continue to meet California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) Optional Low NOx 0.1 g/bhp-hr emissions level.
This project lays the foundation for follow-on work to further reduce the NOx emissions from the current 0.1 g/bhp-hr level by 90% to 0.02 g/bhp-hr, the lowest of the CARB Optional Low NOx standards.
Rice study finds using natural gas for electricity and heating, not transportation, more effective in reducing GHGs
March 09, 2016
Rice University researchers have determined a more effective way to use natural gas to reduce climate-warming emissions would be in the replacement of existing coal-fired power plants and fuel-oil furnaces rather than burning it in cars and buses.
The Rice study by environmental engineer Daniel Cohan and alumnus Shayak Sengupta compared the net greenhouse gas-emission savings that could be realized by replacing other fuels in vehicles, furnaces and power plants. They found that gas-fired power plants achieved the greatest reduction—more than 50%—in net emissions when replacing old coal-fired power plants. The use of compressed natural gas in vehicles yielded the least benefit, essentially matching the emissions of modern gasoline or diesel engines.
Cal Energy and NREL holding public workshop on Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap
March 08, 2016
The California Energy Commission and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are holding a workshop to solicit public feedback on the 2015 draft Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap. The 2015 report updates the 2009 Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap and provides the framework and foundation for future investments in research, development, demonstration, and deployment.
The report includes research recommendations on 1) range and storage; 2) engine performance and availability; 3) vehicle emission and environmental performance; and 4) analysis and information sharing. Low natural gas prices, increased supplies, and a changing regulatory landscape have impacted the natural gas vehicle market. These changes have also impacted traditionally fueled vehicles, changing the overall vehicle technology market.
UTRC and ANGP unveil first low-pressure conformable natural gas tank design
March 02, 2016
Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. (ANGP), a pioneer in the commercialization of adsorbed natural gas (ANG) vehicle technology, and United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), the innovation engine of United Technologies Corp., unveiled a full-scale mockup of UTRC’s conformable fuel tank for ANG vehicles. (Earlier post.)
UTRC and ANGP held the unveiling at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit.
Audi expanding e-gas capacity through partnership with Viessmann; power-to-gas with biological methanation of CO2 and H2
February 29, 2016
Audi is expanding capacities for the production of sustainably produced e-gas. (Earlier post.) The Viessmann Group is Audi’s first partner company to produce additional quantities of the synthetic fuel using a new biological methanation process. The pilot plant in Allendorf, Germany officially opened today.
Audi e-gas is currently produced using two process steps: electrolysis and methanation. In the first step, renewably generated electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. In the second step, the hydrogen is reacted with CO2 to yield synthetic methane. In the Audi e-gas plant in Werlte in the German state of Lower Saxony, this is done using a chemical-catalytic process under high pressure and high temperature.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles introduces CNG Caddy van with dual-clutch gearbox
February 24, 2016
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will present the Caddy TGI—the first vehicle in its segment to be equipped with a CNG drive system and a DSG dual-clutch gearbox—at the Geneva Motor Show. The Caddy TGI BlueMotion is a family/city delivery van that runs on either CNG or bio-natural gas. Both the panel van and passenger car variant of the Caddy can also be ordered with a short wheelbase or in the Caddy Maxi version.
With combined natural-gas consumption of 4.1 kg and 4.3 kg per 100 kilometers (short wheelbase and Caddy Maxi, respectively), Caddy drivers can achieve a range of approximately 630 km (391 miles), or 860 km (534 miles), in the pure gas mode. The CO2 emissions of the Caddy TGI amount to 112 g/km in the short-wheelbase version and 116 g/km in the Caddy Maxi version in combination with the six-speed manual gearbox, and 123 g/km and 126 g/km, respectively, with DSG (provisional data).
NREL analysis of Proterra electric bus demo finds average fuel economy nearly 4x that of CNG baseline buses
February 12, 2016
Proterra battery-electric buses in service in a 12- vehicle demonstration by Foothill Transit in California offered significant fuel savings compared to similar conventional vehicles, according to a recently published analysis of the results of the demonstration by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The NREL team found, inter alia, that the battery-electric buses (BEBs)had an overall average efficiency of 2.15 kWh per mile on the service route, which equated to 17.48 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). The baseline CNG buses had an average fuel economy of 4.04 miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE), which equates to 4.51 miles per DGE. These results indicated that the BEBs have an average fuel economy that is nearly 4 times higher than that of the CNG buses.
ANGP gets exclusive license to UTRC technology for conformable natural gas vehicle storage tanks
February 04, 2016
Adsorbed Natural Gas Products (ANGP) announced an exclusive licensing agreement with United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) allowing ANGP to use UTRC’s patent-pending technology—developed with support from DOE’s ARPA-E (earlier post)—to develop and produce the first commercially viable conformable adsorbent-based low pressure natural gas (ANG) storage tank for motor vehicles.
The license applies to non-metal composite tanks containing activated carbon adsorbents at operating pressures of up to 1,000 psi.
Pitt study reveals heat transfer mechanisms in MOF-based adsorbed natural gas storage; advancing the technology
January 22, 2016
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering are working with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to develop a new type of natural gas storage system that would adsorb the gas like a sponge and allow for more energy-efficient storage and use. In the journal Physical Review Letters, the team reports on their study of heat transfer mechanisms in such systems, work that may advance the technology.
Traditional CNG tanks are empty structures that require the gas to be stored at high pressure, which affects design and the weight of the vehicle. Dr. Christopher Wilmer and his lab are instead focused on porous crystal/gas systems, specifically MOFs, which possess structures with extremely high surface areas. However, Dr. Wilmer notes, one of the biggest challenges in developing such an adsorbed natural gas (ANG) storage system is that the process generates significant heat which limits how quickly the tank can be filled.
Ricardo and GTI partner on new lower-emissions medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engine technologies for California
January 20, 2016
Ricardo will partner with Gas Technology Institute (GTI) on two major contracts to enable natural gas engines to provide a viable, fuel-efficient, and less polluting alternative to diesel power for medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles on the highways of California.
Despite California’s substantial progress in reducing emissions from heavy-duty trucks and other mobile sources, diesel trucks remain major contributors to statewide emissions of NOx, greenhouse gases (GHG), and diesel particulate matter (PM). By 2031, the South Coast Basin will exceed mandatory air quality standards unless NOx emissions are reduced 90% compared with today.
Driving Chevrolet’s 2015 Impala Bi-Fuel sedan
January 19, 2016
Chevrolet offers the 2015 Impala full-size sedan as an all-new bi-fuel model—the only manufacturer-produced full-size sedan in North America that can run on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and gasoline. Available at the end of 2015 to both fleet and retail customers in either LS or LT trims, the bi-fuel Impala features a dedicated version of the standard 3.6L V–6, with specific valves and hardened valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability with the CNG fuel system. The engine, mated to a six-speed automatic, is rated at an estimated 260 hp (195 kW) on gasoline and 230 horsepower (172 kW) on CNG.
EPA figures put combined fuel economy in gasoline mode at 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/25 mpg highway), and 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city/24 mpg highway) with natural gas. That works out to 437 grams CO2 per mile with gasoline, and 343 g CO2/mile with natural gas.