EnerG2, Seattle-based manufacturer of materials for next-generation energy storage, has developed a carbon adsorbent material that can transform the way natural gas tanks on vehicles are designed and function. This, in turn, could dramatically expand the number of natural gas vehicles on the road, because the cost of tanks is the most expensive component on these cars and trucks.
The material, which packs at optimal density and has been produced at scale, is compatible with any and all tank geometries and systems. And, in terms of performance, it allows similar volumes of gas to be stored at lower pressure levels of 500-800 psi, as opposed to the more standard pressure levels of 3,000-3,600 psi.
EnerG2’s new carbon adsorbent material for natural gas tanks on vehicles has many advantages:
- Design efficiency and no wasted space – a tank at 500-800 psi can store as much natural gas as a tank at 3,000-3,600 psi, but its flexible form factor will allow it to fit in a space on board a vehicle that’s about half the size.
- Lower pressure tanks mean low pressure compressors at a fraction of the cost of high compression systems, thereby opening the way for home refueling.
- Fuel safety – Lower-pressure tanks are safer. They also retain fuel longer in the event of a puncture.
- Lower energy demand – require less energy to compress the gas.
“This material represents a real breakthrough,” says Dr. Aaron Feaver, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at EnerG2, “because we’re ready to go at scale with a material that totally changes the dynamics of natural gas tanks on board a wide variety of vehicles.”
Garret Alpers, Founder and CEO of Seattle-based World CNG, which performs Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) conversions of light-to-medium-duty vehicles, comments: “What EnerG2 is doing can radically change the availability of natural gas vehicles in our country and around the world.”
There are approximately 135,000 natural gas vehicles (NGVs) on U.S. roads today according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America and more than 17 million NGVs globally.
EnerG2 materials enhance performance for fleets and infrastructure already in place using high pressure storage. Using their polymer chemistry approach to materials engineering, EnerG2 can tune the adsorbent’s nanostructure to improve the storage capacity of high-pressure storage systems by up to 30%.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, EnerG2 is committed to enabling natural gas as a transportation fuel.
“Natural gas has huge benefits,” explains Rick Luebbe, Co-Founder and CEO of EnerG2. “It’s still a fossil fuel, but now it’s far cheaper than gasoline, it’s domestically produced, and it generates lower emissions than gasoline. That’s one of the key reasons why we’re actively seeking natural gas system development partners for our new material.”