|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.