Natural Gas Fuel (NGV)
Utilizing natural gas as vehicle fuel offers many benefits compared with traditional petroleum- based fuels like diesel and gasoline. One benefit is the tendency for Natural Gas to better maintain price stability. this tendency can be attributed to the fact that the United States has substantial domestic Natural Gas reserves. This allows Natural Gas price to attain historically less volatility than petroleum based fuels. In addition to price stability, when natural gas is purified, its energy content is more cost effective than traditional fuels. This means that vehicles run more efficiently and with less maintenance due to the cleaner burn of the fuel. Therefore, the combination of lower costs and improved price stability makes natural gas an attractive business option for fleets with the high fuel consumption trends. SAFETY CNG, unlike gasoline, dissipates into the atmosphere in the event of an accident. Gasoline pools on the ground creating a fire hazard. The fuel storage cylinders used in NGVs are much stronger that Gasoline fuel tanks. The design of NGV cylinders are subjected to a number of federally required” severe abuse” test, such as heat and pressure extremes, gunfire, collisions and fires. NGV Fuel systems are ” sealed”which prevents any spills or evaporative losses. Even if a leak were to occur in an NGV fuel system, the natural gas would dissipate up into the air Because it is lighter than air.Natural gas has a high ignition temperature, about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with about 600 degrees Fahrenheit for gasoline. It also has a narrow range of flammability, that is, in concentrations in air below about 5 percent and above about 15 percent, natural gas will not burn. The high ignition temperature and limited flammability range make accidental ignition or combustion of natural gas unlikely. Natural gas is not toxic or corrosive and will not contaminate ground water.
When IANGN set up in 1986, one of the most important tasks was to promote the preparation of an international standard for the storage of natural gas on vehicles. The preparation of this standard took many years and was eventually published ISO 11439 in 2000. This standard has recently been revised and the draft is being circulated.
Beyond the many immediate benefits offered, natural gas presents a compelling continuum towards sustainable energy systems in America. Most stationary fuel cells in commercial operation today use natural gas as the hydrogen source. This type of system is emerging as the foundation for an “energy station” concept -a leading new approach to energy management that integrates transportation and building applications. Initially, each of these small stations will perform on- site reforming of pipeline natural gas into hydrogen, which will generate electricity in a stationary fuel cell when not being used to fuel vehicles. In addition, the system waste heat can be used for local heating (e.g., hot water for hotels, swimming pools, etc.). This “tri-generation” approach creates synergies that greatly enhance the economics of deploying hydrogen fueling stations and using fuel cells to generate power and electricity.
Over the longer term, renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind power, and “gas-to-liquid” technologies using waste gases will supplement pipeline natural gas as the feedstock for making hydrogen in energy stations.For all the reasons highlighted above, today’s growing NGV market is quickening the pace for tomorrow’s hydrogen FCV industry. NGVs and natural gas fueling stations are major stepping stones along the pathway to a hydrogen transportation future.