BlackPak™, Inc., a private technology company developing innovative packaging solutions for natural gas fuel sources, has been awarded a $4.6M cooperative agreement for the development of its natural gas fuel tank technology by Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) under the agency’s Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE) Program.
BlackPak, together with its partners, ATMI, Inc. and SRI International, is developing adsorbed natural gas storage systems for automotive and commercial applications with a target system-level energy density greater than 6 MJ/L at 500 psi pressure. The BlackPak effort leverages technology developed and spun out from SRI International as part of a prior award under the MOVE program.
Based on advances in engineered nano-porous materials, the technology enables natural gas to be stored in containers that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations. Compared to today’s conventional high-pressure compressed natural gas cylinders, this will allow vehicle designers and equipment manufacturers the ability to integrate natural gas systems that conform to the available spaces in light duty vehicles while maintaining maximum functional utility in the form of usable trunk space.
The BlackPak system under development also targets a significantly lower overall cost and can dramatically improve the return on investment potential for light duty natural gas vehicles and similar applications. Low-pressure storage also has the potential to drastically reduce the upfront capital expenditure and operating cost of such systems, as well as simplify the requirements for tank filling appliances, further improving the comparative economics of adsorbed natural gas systems relative to compressed natural gas, gasoline, and diesel.