The Truth About Cars » LNG http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:13:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » LNG http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Brown Goes Green, Makes Green With LNG Trucks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/brown-goes-green-makes-green-with-lng-trucks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/brown-goes-green-makes-green-with-lng-trucks/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 16:49:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=486013 America sits on one of the world’s largest deposits of natural gas, more than enough to make the U.S. independent from the foreign oil imports the electric vehicles failed to avert. While the price of oil goes up, natural gas is now cheaper than 30 years ago. Greenhouse gas emissions from engines powered by natural […]

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America sits on one of the world’s largest deposits of natural gas, more than enough to make the U.S. independent from the foreign oil imports the electric vehicles failed to avert. While the price of oil goes up, natural gas is now cheaper than 30 years ago. Greenhouse gas emissions from engines powered by natural gas trucks are about 20 percent lower than those powered by gasoline or diesel. One would not notice this at normal “gas” station. Cars and trucks still mostly fuel up the old-fashioned way. A change to natural gas is now brought by UPS.  

UPS will buy about 700 LNG vehicles, supplied by four refueling stations by the end of 2014, Reuters says.  UPS said that with natural gas prices 30-40 percent lower than imported diesel, the investment will see a quick payback. UPS already has more than 1,000 natural gas vehicles on the road across the world and will have one of the biggest LNG truck fleets in the world one the project is completed.

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Ask An Engineer: Natural Gas For Dummies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/ask-an-engineer-natural-gas-for-dummies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/ask-an-engineer-natural-gas-for-dummies/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 15:49:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450553 Westport Innovations has just signed a second deal with General Motors to produce light duty natural gas engines, and it’s probably not the last time we’ll be seeing these kind of partnerships forming. Natural gas vehicles have been explored previously on TTAC, but the technology hasn’t been fully explored in-depth, aside from some well-informed comments […]

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Westport Innovations has just signed a second deal with General Motors to produce light duty natural gas engines, and it’s probably not the last time we’ll be seeing these kind of partnerships forming. Natural gas vehicles have been explored previously on TTAC, but the technology hasn’t been fully explored in-depth, aside from some well-informed comments in various articles.

As a fuel for vehicles (light duty as well as commercial vehicles), natural gas has a number of attributes which fit well with our current political narratives and economic realities

  1. Natural gas is 30-50% cheaper than diesel per unit of energy
  2. Abundant domestic supply
  3. Environmental benefits (lower GHG and tailpipe emissions)
  4. Significant reduction in CO2, CO, UHC, NOx, SOx and PM emissions versus conventional gasoline and diesel engines.

Natural gas can be used across the full spectrum of spark ignition (gasoline type) and compression ignition (diesel type) engines with the appropriate enabling technologies. While spark ignition natural gas engines have been available for quite some time (such as the NG powered Honda Civic), compression ignition natural gas engines have required further development. The difficulty is that while natural gas burns cleanly, it is less likely to auto-ignite (octane rating of 120-130), unlike diesel, which has a lower octane number. This quality of natural gas is advantageous for a spark ignition engine as it prevents detonation and allows for higher compression ratios, but makes it detrimental for a compression ignition engine.

Westport has devised a dual-fuel direct injection system to enable natural gas substitution in a compression ignition engine. The fuel injector at the heart of this system is able to inject both liquid diesel and gaseous natural gas in precisely metered quantities directly into the cylinder. In this system, the diesel fuel ignites as a result of compression as it would in a regular diesel engine. The combusting diesel fuel initiates the natural gas combustion. 93-95% diesel substitution is achievable according to public documentation. This innovation is directed at the heavy-duty diesel market which includes everything from transport trucks to locomotives.

One of the main criticisms is the lack of infrastructure surrounding natural gas. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is easier to store and transport than liquefied natural gas (LNG) so it is the optimal choice for light duty applications. LNG has a greater volumetric energy density but is more expensive to store, transport and ultimately use in a vehicle as it must be kept cold and pressurized to remain a liquid.

Vehicles like the Civic Natural Gas have a reduced range relative to a gasoline Civic, but commercial vehicles, like transport trucks, are emerging as one of the prime candidates for natural gas engines. Large transport trucks are a significant contributor to green house gas emissions and are on the road enough to make the conversion cost effective – though LNG, rather than CNG, would be the fuel of choice. A relatively small number of LNG filling stations placed along major transport corridors could meet their fueling needs and present a great way to thoroughly evaluate the technology. Less complex CNG stations could be added if the decision was made to target light duty vehicles.

Going “all in” on CNG/LNG is a little premature at this point, but the adoption of natural gas as a transport fuel is a good first step in reducing our emissions while other alternative technologies reach maturity. More in-depth discussion is always welcome in the comments.

“Ask an Engineer” is hosted by Andrew Bell, a mechanical engineer and car enthusiast. Andrew has his MASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto, and has worked on Formula SAE teams, as well as alternative fuel technologies in Denmark and Canada. Andrew’s column will explore engineering topics in the most accessible manner possible.

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Low Natural Gas Prices Aren’t Spurring Demand For NGVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/low-natural-gas-prices-arent-spurring-demand-for-ngvs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/low-natural-gas-prices-arent-spurring-demand-for-ngvs/#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:42:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437701 Even with gasoline prices reaching higher and higher, and natural gas prices at decade lows, consumers are doing as little as possible to adopt natural gas vehicles. As investment blog Seeking Alpha found out, the answer isn’t so complex. The issue is of course, a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Looking at fleet customers as an example, […]

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Even with gasoline prices reaching higher and higher, and natural gas prices at decade lows, consumers are doing as little as possible to adopt natural gas vehicles. As investment blog Seeking Alpha found out, the answer isn’t so complex.

The issue is of course, a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Looking at fleet customers as an example, a firm called PLS Logistics published a white paper on natural gas vehicles (specifically, LNG, or liquefied natural gas, commonly used in commercial applications like trucking). The biggest stumbling block by far was the lack of infrastructure available for fueling NGVs. Even in the face of substantial awareness about NGVs, as well as optimism that they will be adopted in the future in some capacity, literally no one is planning on purchasing NGVs in the next 12 months.

One interesting takeaway is that a quarter of respondents thought that there was zero price difference between diesel and natural gas. Natural gas is about $1.50 per diesel equivalent gallon (the unit used by PLS to measure an equivalent quantity of natural gas). Good news for NGVs comes in the form of a GE-backed project to build 250 filling stations for both CNG and LNG fuels – though as Seeking Alpha notes, demand for NGVs may be affected as much by low natural gas prices as high gasoline prices.

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Chrysler Goes CNG… By 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/chrysler-goes-cng-by-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/chrysler-goes-cng-by-2017/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2011 22:05:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=391232 There’s been a recent groundswell of interest in natural gas as a fuel for cars in recent months, marked by Honda’s decision to sell a natural gas-powered 2012 Civic in 50 states, Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl’s public paean to the fuel, and the EPA’s relaxation of natural gas conversion regulations. Honda alt-fuel manager Eric Rosenberg […]

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There’s been a recent groundswell of interest in natural gas as a fuel for cars in recent months, marked by Honda’s decision to sell a natural gas-powered 2012 Civic in 50 states, Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl’s public paean to the fuel, and the EPA’s relaxation of natural gas conversion regulations. Honda alt-fuel manager Eric Rosenberg enthuses to WardsAuto

We’re the Saudi Arabia of natural gas… Demand [for the Civic GX] has tripled, and that’s actual retail demand. Traditionally, fleet has been about 50% to 55% of demand, but now it’s dropped; now 80% of demand is retail.

And since Chrysler’s new guardian, Fiat, has plenty of (well-subsidized) natural gas experience in Italy, it’s no surprise that Chrysler’s looking to get in on the action (Chrysler’s own experience with the stuff was brief). In fact, just last year Fiat-Chrysler was pushing the idea of natural gas cars as a stopgap until its first EV (the 500) arrives in 2012. Now, presumably because the desired government help wasn’t forthcoming, Bloomberg reports that Chrysler is only promising gassy goodness “by 2017.” Now there’s an interesting way to jump on a bandwagon.

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