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UTRC and ANGP unveil first low-pressure conformable natural gas tank design

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.

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The tank, which is the first of its kind, was showcased in the bed of ANGP’s ANG-powered Ford F-150 pickup. UTRC developed its unique tank concept under ARPA-E’s Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE) program. ANGP holds an exclusive license to UTRC’s design for a conformable, non-metal composite tank containing activated carbon adsorbents at pressures up to 1,000 psi.

UTRC began developing its conformable tank in 2012, creating prototypes for CNG applications that typically operate in the 3,200-3,600 psi pressure range. As we looked for ways to commercialize this novel technology, we welcomed the opportunity to partner with ANGP as our exclusive licensee to bring our design to the US market for low-pressure automotive applications. The flat tank mockup displayed at ARPA-E, which is only eight inches in height, fits nicely in the pickup bed. It can store 30 percent more natural gas than an array of conventional gas cylinders in the same space envelope.

—Dr. David Parekh, corporate vice president, Research, and director, UTRC

To commercialize the tank, ANGP has assembled a team of leading technology providers: (1) UTRC, designer of the conformable tank; (2) Ingevity Corporation, which produces an activated carbon adsorbent in monolith form (Nuchar FuelSorb) that is highly effective in capturing and releasing natural gas constituents; and (3) Aspen Compressor, developer of an innovative natural gas fuel pump. The coalition also includes other companies that specialize in the design and installation of natural gas fueling stations and conversions of vehicles to natural gas.

ANGP will introduce the first fully integrated ANG system for natural gas vehicles to the US market this year, said Bob Bonelli, ANGP co-founder and chief executive officer. Initially, the systems will use seamless aluminum cylinders made by Worthington Industries while the UTRC design undergoes development and certification to NGV-2 standards for release in 2017.

The incorporation of UTRC’s conformable Type IV tank into the system paves the way for lightweight, space-saving storage solutions ultimately needed for a mass-market product.

—Bob Bonelli

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