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US Natural Gas Vehicle Technology Forum (NGVTF) Revitalizing its Efforts

Relative sequence of priority RDD&D Ideas for NGV development from the CEC roadmap. Click to enlarge.

The US Natural Gas Vehicle Technology Forum (NGVTF) is revitalizing its efforts to develop and deploy commercially competitive natural gas engines, vehicles, and infrastructure, according to the Department of Energy.

In June 2008, NGVTF leaders met in Diamond Bar, California, to formulate strategies and establish an NGVTF Steering Committee. The first NGVTF all–stakeholder meeting under this new leadership will take place 19-20 November at SEMPRA Energy’s Energy Resource Center in Downey, California.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is a driving force behind the renewed focus on natural gas vehicle (NGV) research. In 2008, the CEC published a Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap, which describes the strategic research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) needed to enhance the viability of the NGV market in California.

The CEC report makes a number of priority topic recommendations to provide the greatest acceleration of NGV technologies in the market. These include:

Engine Development and Vehicle Integration Ideas

  • Integrate available natural gas engines into more models and applications by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), in all weight classes;

  • Develop a broader range of natural gas HDV engine sizes and applications;

  • Develop a broader range of natural gas HDVs with improved engine economics, efficiency, and emissions;

  • Develop NGV versions of off-road applications;

  • Develop a variety of hybrid natural gas HDVs;

  • Develop engine technology optimized for hydrogen-natural gas blended fuel; and

  • Develop NGV homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine technology.

Fueling Infrastructure and Storage Ideas

  • Develop legacy fleet engine controls and/or fueling infrastructure upgrades to accommodate fuel variability;

  • Research an improved composite tank safety device / installation protocol to avoid rupture in localized fire;

  • Develop improved handling, reliability, and durability of LNG dispensing and on]board storage;

  • Provide GPS guidance to NGV fueling station locations and details statewide;

  • Develop on-board lightweight, conformable, compact CNG storage at lower-pressure / higher-density; and

  • Develop the next generation of home refueling for natural gas light-duty vehicles (LDVs).

Technical and Strategic Studies Ideas

  • Confirm NGV economic, carbon, and emissions net benefits;

  • Create a clearinghouse of NGV demand and supply information; and

  • Institute a Technology Forum for NGV stakeholders to update RDD&D needs and priorities.

Additionally, the California Air Resources Board is planning a 2009 rulemaking to amend the California compressed natural gas (CNG) specifications for motor vehicle CNG fuel. The amendments are intended to improve compliance flexibility and increase the availability of complying motor vehicle CNG in California. An initial workshop exploring that topic is planned for 18 or 19 November.

According to NGV Global, specific goals of the reconstituted NGVTF include:

  • Identifying natural gas engine, vehicle, and infrastructure technology targets and facilitating government-industry research, development, demonstration, and deployment programs to achieve the targets;

  • Communicating the high-priority needs of NGV end users to natural gas equipment and vehicle manufacturers who can fulfill these needs; and

  • Enabling fleets and other large purchasers to aggregate demand for specific natural gas vehicles and equipment.



John Taylor

The Pickins' plan gets put into action.

Alex Kovnat

I always thought that if you are going to use a gaseous fuel that requires storage under high pressure (i.e., 3600 psi for NG), it would be better if you could get by with compressed NG rather than hydrogen. The latter, must be stored at pressures of at least 5000 psi to get decent range, and there is even talk of 10,000 psi when using hydrogen.

Some folks seem to feel that hydrogen is mother nature's preferred fuel. But if that is the case, why is it that when you feed animal manure, food wastes, etc into an anaerobic digester, you get methane instead of hydrogen?

So I wish the U.S. Natural Gas Vehicle Technology Forum all the best in developing engines and systems to meet all necessary emissions requirements (oxides of nitrogen, particulates, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons) using natural gas or methane.


NG is already a hydrogen rich fuel. Why complain about that one carbon atom when it would probably take more than one carbon atom to isolate the hydrogen? IMO, the best possible approach the H consortium could take would be to reform NG inboard a vehicle to power an ICE. That would be a reasonable path to building out the infrastructure required for a H economy.


If someone is to put a compressed gazeous tank in his vehicule, then it is a good idea to put a modern tank that sustain 10 000 psi so it can be fill by natural gas or hydrogen when available. Only hydrogen can be obtained freely with some machineries that convert water to hydrogen like some new solar panels or water electrolysers of any sort. I will be glad to modify my dodge neon 2005 to put in it a gazeous tank and some fittings like hoses and valves and have the choice of gasoline, natural gas and hydrogen. It can be done at a shop for 1000$-1500$ approximately.

Reality Czech

Reforming NG on-board for an ICE would discard energy without any useful gain. Two molecules of hydrogen has much less energy than one molecule of CH4.


There is a lot of interest on the PickensPlan site to convert cars to natural gas, but the kits to convert do not exist. It costs a lot to get a kit approved and the kit companies do not want to do that if there are not enough customers. You have a chicken and egg Catch 22 that needs to be addressed to undo the log jam.


NGVTF should emphasize the ability to make methane from biomass (at least theoretically). This ties an efficient biofuel product with the extant NG infrastructure.

Hydrogen from solar panels (if the ever happens) can even be made into methane via the Sabatier reaction.

Methane diesels are on the horizon, or so I've been told.

A viable solution is the PHEV powered by methane and liquid fuel (gasoline/ethanol). That's all that's needed.


The Honda NGV with a hybrid drive train would be as clean as Fool-Cell without the $Million price.

"kits to convert do not exist"

Since when? I was seeing them on the road 30 years ago! There are already 20,000 NGV in Canada and over 5 million worldwide. If you have an existing vehicle that you would like to convert to natural gas, a certified conversion shop can do this for you for about $2000(with incentive programs). Kits are made for different vehicle sizes then customized to ensure optimal vehicle performance using a well developed set of codes and regulations for aftermarket conversions and service. Installation of a natural gas conversion kit does not void the manufacturer's warranty.

In the past several manufacturers had even offered vehicles that ran on natural gas straight from the factory but The availability of new light-duty original equipment manufacturered natural gas vehicles has declined in recent years. Still, as its something they've already done, all they need is the market to grow.


The cost of installation is pretty low, however here in US each shop that doing that require $10000 certification for each model they doing. That my be cheap for big car company but not small shop.
In Europe it is much simpler to get the certification, that why in the number of car using propane is pretty large. In small country like Poland with 18 mil cars more then 2 millions are converted to dual fuel propane/gasoline.
The reason for convention is simple - propane is almost 2 time chipper then gasoline.

H Rose

Wow, amazing lack of facts here... taking on Hydrogen? Come on, seems last time I checked methane IS H-80% (CH4) and NO it does not take more energy to extract the H2 than it gives back. Best H2/Fuel Cell case today is the Honda Clarity, brought to you by the same makers of the OTHER best case NGV, Honda Civic GX. They are not as stupid as some here would have you believe. First, CNG and H2 do not compete, BOTH are needed. (No silver bullet..) One is "here and now", other is for future sustainability. But they are not mutually exclusive, FCV does not REPLACE CNG, long transitional pathway. Lets dissect the above misinformation.
First, Honda FCX Clarity using steam-reformed nat gas as H2 feedstock offers 60% CO2 reduction. Period. Honda brilliantly gets 280 mile range at the 5,000 pressure, NOT @ 10K as some need for range, so efficiency is better. (Less energy compressing). This is JUST Hondas 2nd generation FC Stack, so there is room yet to improve! Zero emissions, 60% less CO2, domestic fuel all with the SAME fuel CNG advocates love! What's not to like about that! Now, "reforming onboard and using H2 ICE" is nuts... mini-refinery on each car, and back to the POOR efficiency of ICE. Remember, the #1 reason Fuel Cell works so well is the superior efficiency... electric drive with NO combustion heat loss. FCX Clarity (Accord size, NOT Civic) is EPA rated at 74 equivalent MPG.. That's huge. Next, "a hybrid GX" is NOT cleaner than fuel cell, period. Remember, fuel cell WITH nat gas H2 is 60% < CO2, but with renewable H2 (solar/wind/hydro electrolysis) is 100% < CO2. Again, they are NOT competitors, BOTH are needed so stop comparing. Million $$ cost is already cut WAY back with Clarity, and most expense is from covering costs over just 200 cars. Costs will continue to come down. So in summary, go all out for CNG under this initiative. Kudos to CEC, and welcome back DOE. Do more Biogas projects.. Improve your image beyond "fossil fuel". Get more NGV's out there, small, medium and large. Embrace H2 (the OTHER gaseous fuel) and fuel cell as U.S. will need it all. Stop infighting.. you know the goal, there's room for all! Go CNG, Go H2, Go FCV.


The kits exist for late model pickup trucks used in fleets, but not for every make and model of car. In fact, I started a list of lots of cars people wanted to convert and NONE of them were available.

It costs $2000 for the EPA approved kit, if available for about 1% of the vehicles. If costs $2000-$3000 for the tank and another $1000 to be installed by a certified mechanic. Then it costs $4000 for the Phill home fueling compressor, because the nearest NG fueling station is 20 miles away.


Isn't NG a finite resource just like oil?

Peak Natural Gas??


Yes, NG is a finite resource, but biomethane is not. Since you can get about twice the biomethane out of a biomass feedstock (energetically) compared with ethanol, you have an appreciable amount of biomethane available from biomass. Biomethane can also be produced from landfills and waste treatment plants.


Making methane through gasification of biomass and enhancing the yield using solar generated H2 and O2 from concentrated solar multilayer PV and SOFCs could produce CO2 neutral methane that may be more than the "bridge" that Pickens has talked about.


However, all those that have the technology use a modified version of the above that produce more energy than it required due to chemical reactions during the process which result in greater output. It makes perfect sence when you think about it and open your mind that some law of physics that were "discovered" over 100 years ago are not set in stone.

Some notes:
There are 8.5 million NGV's worldwide.
Apart from Bio-Methane, there is also Methane Hydrates which can more than double the Methane supply.
Also Peak-Natgas is not there yet.

So, its worth investing in NGV.
But even more important thing is to convert, all utilities, homes, factories that use Oil to Natgas or Electricity, so that the precious Oil can be used for transport.

Max Reid

2 vehicles from Fiat
1 from Toyota
1 from Tata

many more CNG powered vehicles are coming in. Time to take note of it.

Unfortunately US is still far behind.


I wanted to convert my 1989 small Toyota pickup
to NGV. I couldn't find a kit for it or a shop
certified to do the job. I have since been told
that a conversion is not as cheap as some of you
indicate. If I lived in Canada, Pakistan, Brazil,
or Argentina, I'd have had it converted already.
Those countries don't seem to have the stone walls
that block conversions that you find here. I am
willing, but it's a bigger hassle than some of
you think. I gave up. The only conversions that
are being done are for Fleet apps. on certain

Bradford Wade

DS made a very important point about the potential of hybrid NGVs. I wish more people were aware that there is an affordable and practical alternative to expensive fuel cell vehicles.

As for H Rose's comment about "wind/solar/hydro electrolysis" giving FCVs a CO2 advantage, it should be obvious to anyone who has looked at the numbers that it would be far more efficient to use green electricity to power plug-in vehicles (BEVs and PHEVs) where it would displace two or three times the CO2. Give me a break!

It would be great if there were affordable NG conversion kits for all vehicles, but I'm not sure how important that is for the Pickens Plan to succeed. Pickens says he is focusing more on heavy-duty trucks.

Personally, I would very much like to see light-duty vehicles electrified and heavy-duty vehicles switched to natural gas. Fuel cell research and development is ok as long as it doesn't get in the way of making these important changes.


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You are right about the regulations. The EPA claims that they have seen CNG conversions that are more polluting than the car before the conversion, that is why they have the regulations. You have to decide whether you believe that or not.

An ANG PHEV would be a great car. Fuel in your garage, 400 mile range, clean, quiet, efficient, just about the ideal personal transport. Make it dual fuel and you have the best of both worlds.


Overall great comments from everyone. However,
The focus for NGV conversion has to be high mileage heavy duty vehicles burning primarily diesel fuel (Trucks, Buses, Light Trucks, SUVs, light duty fleets) to maximize CO2, Oil import reductions, and Ambient air quality benefits per dollar of infrastructure investment. The social return on investment in hybridization within the heavy duty vehicle category is also likely to be more attractive than in the light duty class, where only 500 gallons per year are utilized and should move forward. In addition, the trillion tons of waste biomass potential, excluding any food crops, needs to be converted to pipeline quality biogas, that can efficiently transported throughout the country in the existing pipeline infrastructure. The energy losses moving liquid biofuel by Truck, Train, etc. relative to existing gas pipeline are unnecessary. This biomass capacity is going to be converted to CO2 and methane anyway, so we might as well leverage it for energy production and put it into NGVs at the end of the pipeline. Composting should be shut down by a Cap and Trade system, and all related waste biomass converted to Syngas via thermal gasification.


Hello. And Bye.

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Imagine the savings. It will cost you about $160, or two tanks of gas to install an HHO conversion kit

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