GasLiner, a Latvian company offering off-pipeline solutions for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refueling, took part in Riga’s TEN-T Days 2015 recently with a Mobile CNG refuelling system, which together with a dual-fuel bus and two natural gas vehicles was brought to Riga’s Esplanade Park where a CNG refuelling process was performed. The innovative technology uses a liquid piston to transfer the gaseous fuel from one storage unit to another, physically ‘squeezing out’ all the gas from storage cylinders to the cylinders of vehicles.
The squeezing process takes 1.5 hours in every one Gasliner module, taking the same time regardless of the number of modules (up to 8) as the process works in parallel. GasLiner claims its CNG refueling technology delivers increased convenience and cost-effectiveness, and provides a simple mobile solution for fleets that wish to switch from diesel to natural gas. The company’s compression technology — the Multifunctional Liquid Piston (MLP) — enables the transportation of larger volumes of CNG and parallel refuelling. The MLP boasts a 98% gas unloading efficiency with its proprietary technology of hydraulic compression.
The GasLiner CNG refueling system costs EUR 700,000 (USD 784k) for the unit which transports 6,400 m3 CNG under 250 bar. With 98% transfer, the unit is capable of refueling (say) 50 CNG buses/80 dual fuel buses in 1.5 hours or 8 public CNG filling points 800 nm3 capacity each. The investment cost of 1 stationary module (for installation at a gasoline station) is EUR 80,000 (USD 89.6k). A 10 year amortization period is taken for all capital assets.
The estimated economics of the new concept was showcased to participants of TEN-T Days. Robert Strods from GasLiner explained: in a standard situation where the GasLiner system is used to supply 8 Remote CNG filling modules, the total cost of CNG Virtual Pipeline (GasLiner) is EUR 0.19/m3, plus the total cost of Remote CNG filling station modules which is EUR 0.11/m3. It makes the total cost of the off-grid CNG filling infrastructure EUR 0.30/nm3. However, if the same GasLiner is used to additionally supply a bus fleet of 80 buses (e.g. from interstate gas pipeline 50 bar or LNG vaporizer as a source of CNG) the cost of GasLiner could be lowered by 0,05 EUR/m3 due to the synergy of GasLiner’s CAPEX.
The product was successfully implemented as a Technology Pilot Project in Jurmala City, Latvia in 2014, where one multifunctional GasLiner module was supplying 10 buses of the Jurmala bus depot with CNG. Strods says the pilot project validated the technical, economic and ecological viability of the off-pipeline GasLiner concept.
GasLiner, an associate member of NGV Global through membership of NGVA Europe, has applied in 2015 for funding under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, for a full scale GasLiner pilot project for Remote CNG Public points, responding to the European Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (AFI) Directive 2014/94/EU. Strods argues the GasLiner systems meet the requirement for flexible, versatile and fast-to-deploy off-grid solutions that are CapEx and OpEx efficient even on a small scale.
In Latvia, there are currently 3 CNG filling stations: 1 mobile, 1 public and 1 Vehicle Refuelling Appliance (VRA) for Latvian Gas company.