The California Energy Commission (CEC) is aiming to address perceived limitations with natural gas vehicles (NGVs), stating limited driving range, storage capacity, and weight of conventional tanks continue to be barriers to increasing the use of natural gas as an alternative transportation fuel in California. It has formulated the “Advanced Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel Tank Project” to develop a replacement for the cylindrical, heavy‐walled compressed natural gas tanks currently used in natural gas vehicles.
The tank will have a storage capacity that meets the U.S. Department of Energy target: 180 times more gas per volume than under standard temperature and pressure conditions.
CEC has specified the replacement tank will be a flat, solid‐state, lightweight tank that stores natural gas in adsorbed form. Carbon‐activated briquettes, manufactured from spent corn cobs, which are low cost and widely commercially available, will be used inside the tank to absorb the natural gas.
The flat design made possible by the on‐board tank’s low pressure will enable the tank to be mounted under the floor or in another unused space in a car, instead of taking up a large portion of the trunk. At target costs, the tank will give light‐duty natural gas vehicles a driving range of 300 miles, without taking up any trunk or passenger space, and will weigh an estimated half as much as the current 200‐mile compressed natural gas tanks. The reduced weight will further increase vehicle efficiency and reduce gas consumption while making natural gas vehicles a more attractive consumer choice. The low‐pressure design will also reduce fueling‐station costs—both public stations and home fueling appliances—by significantly reducing the energy needed for compression.
Project specifics are available here.
This article compiled using information from a CEC press release.