Skip to comments.More natural gas vehicles hitting the market
Posted on 03/07/2012 5:42:45 AM PST by thackney
More natural gas-powered vehicles will hit the market soon, as rising gasoline prices, booming natural gas production and proposed tax credits make them a more attractive option. But theyre a long way from being a common sight in U.S. driveways.
Chrysler will sell a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup that runs on compressed natural gas starting in July. The truck has both a gasoline tank and a natural gas storage tank, and its engine shifts seamlessly between the two power sources. The truck can run for 255 miles on natural gas and another 367 miles using gasoline.
Chrysler will have competition. Late this year, General Motors Co. will sell natural-gas versions of two pickups the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD. The GM trucks will run on gasoline and natural gas for 650 miles. Ford Motor Co. has offered natural-gas ready pickups and vans since 2009.
There is more detail at link.
GE, Chesapeake to develop natural-gas fueling infrastructure
Link only due to Bloomberg Source
I admit ignorance of the mechanics of the subject, but how easy, hard, cheap, expensive is it to convert an existing gasoline engine to use natgas, butane, propane? It’s really the only viable alternative to gasoline and diesel that I see in the foreseeable future, but that’s JMO.
Found this in the article. Sounds like an outrageous cost to me. I gotta believe some good ol' boy shade tree mechanic has found a way to covert a vehicle at much less cost.
“I gotta believe some good ol’ boy shade tree mechanic has found a way to covert a vehicle at much less cost.”
Can probably do it at a South Texas machine shop for around 1000 bucks.
My cars exhaust system finally rotted out. Took it to my mechanic who wanted over 2k to replace and that was providing he could find some weld points.
Took it to a South Texas shop. 99 bucks for an entire exhaust system. Was out of there in 45 minutes.
Note the “up to” qualifier.
It is not going to cost more than a complete new diesel engine and fuel system.
I suspect their “up to” included going LNG on a city bus for example.
You can get more information on companies doing conversions of passenger vehicles from the links shown here:
Here in Oklahoma the cost for a conversion using new tanks is about $10,000. About 80% of the cost is the tanks and it usually takes 3 since the have to be small to handle up to 4,000 psi. Savings can be had by buying used tanks.
BTW Chesapeake is working with 3M to develop a larger less expensive tank.
Sounds like my local muffler shop. Around a thousand + or - a few hundred is more in line with what I would expect a conversion to cost. Glad I live in the South.
Thanks for the links. Will investigate.
Propane is a far easier fuel conversion than methane.
Propane is going to be stored in 250 psi tank.
Methane is going to be stored in 3,000~4,000 psi tank.
Also the fuel has much less energy density so significanty more fuel must be delivered to the engine for comparable horse power. The engine is going to require more cubic inches to get the same horsepower or work under significantly more pressure to get enough molecules of fuel/air compressed into the old cylinder size.
A friend actually had a set-up similar to what you’re talking about on his Chevy pickup. Ran good. Another plus for LNG is they burn very clean. Can easily get 100,000mi. out of a set of plugs. I’ve had mechanics tell me that you can tear down an engine that’s been running LNG and it looks like new, burns really clean. Not all the pollution of a gasoline engine. Can go longer between oil changes too.
IIRC, these conversions ran $1,800 - $2,000 back in the late 1970s when Popular Mechanics and Hot Rod magazines did articles on them (as alternatives to the poor-quality gasoline). I think they even did charts showing how long the fuel cost savings would take to "pay for" the conversion work.
Good company to watch with stock at about $40 a share yesterday. They signed a big deal with Cummins and have systems to work with heavy equipment.
A lot of people run a propane diesel mix to increase the power without increasing the size of the engine.
A lot of hotshot drivers will do it so they can pull a bigger load.
It also used to be common to see it on rice field tractors only then I think they mostly used butane diesel mix.
The Westport WiNG Power System carries an industry-leading starting price point of $9,750. On average, the Westport WiNG powered Ford pickups are expected to save fleets upwards of $2 per gallon in fuel costs, and depending on miles driven, can demonstrate a payback in about two years or less.
The Ford F-250 and F-350 pickups with the bi-fuel, Westport WiNG Power System have undergone the same rigorous original equipment manufacturer (OEM) testing for safety and durability used by Ford for their gasoline and diesel products. Engineered at the new Westport technical center in Plymouth Michigan, WiNG Power Systems will be installed at the Westport manufacturing facility adjacent to the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant, in Louisville. The trucks will be ready to roll when they reach authorized Ford dealers and the installation will add less than 72 hours to the entire order cycle for a new truck. The 2012 models with Westport WiNG bi-fuel Systems sold through Ford dealers will be EPA certified, and the 2013 Model Year are expected to offer CARB certification for all models.
Nat-gas powered taxis in Tokyo have been around for a long time.
I believe you are talking about LPG (propane) conversions, not Natural Gas (methane).
Thanks for that link and info
base price conversion for F250/350 truck:
Natural Gas or LPG for those Tokyo taxis?
Ford Transit Connect CNG taxis starting to swing into action across U.S.
Sep 10th 2011
The next time you hail a cab in Los Angeles, CA you could be jumping into the back seat of a vehicle that’s fueled by clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). That’s because California Yellow Cab of Orange County has become the state’s first taxi company to put CNG-fueled Ford Transit Connect vans into service. California Yellow Cab says ten (and soon more than 120) natural gas Connects are on the roads and ready to pick up passengers in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Meanwhile, over in Chicago, Taxi Medallion Management says it has a dozen Ford Transit Connect CNG taxis in service. And in Connecticut, two cab companies are waiting on Ford to fulfill orders for 70 CNG-fueled Transit Connect Taxis.
Later on, CNG-burnin’ Transits will ship out to Las Vegas, NV and St. Louis, MO. Philadelphia, PA is expected to get in on the CNG action, too, once city officials there approve natural gas machines for taxi duty.
I don’t understand why the national trucking industry, with federal prodding and tax incentives, isn’t moving toward converting to natural gas.
It can and should be a couple of decades or so process. I would envision converting the long haul carriers and cross-country movers, like Allied Van Lines, first. Interstate truck stops would be ideal locations to begin developing a national network of natural gas commercial terminals. Once in place at truck stops, selling natural gas powered passenger cars and trucks would begin to make more sense.
At some point the large commercials such as Kroger, USPS, Walmart, etc. could probably provide natural gas terminals for their vehicles at their maintenance facilities. Newly constructed gasoline stations could begin offering natural gas. QuikTrip could probably just do it at their hundreds (thousands?) of locations.
Again, there probably would need to be federal, state and perhaps local tax incentives to speed the process along.
Anyway, what’s the deal? Is it simply political at the moment? We probably need to get Republicans in control to get the natural gas flowing. Obama and his ilk are too much into wasting $billions of taxpayer dollars on green energy schemes that don’t work.
The challenge for long-haul trucking is the refueling of Natural Gas. There are stations but they are still limited.
Some have started in the business.
Much of the Natural Gas fleet vehicles have started with smaller service areas rather than long haul trucking. A fleet service center that vehicles return to each day can handle their own fueling. Garbage Trucks, City Buses, Port Trucks and the like have been the bigger starts for Natural Gas as a fuel.
Their is a growing number of commercial natural gas refueling stations, but it is still quite limited nationally.
Since you mentioned Wal-Mart as well.
Other info at:
Well, if we switch to natgas, the supply of both will increase. Sure, some of the "multi-carbon" species of natgas will be siphoned off as chemical feedstocks (ethylene, propylene, possibly some butylene), but I seriously doubt the chem companies will take the entire supply.
What's the typical ratio of C to C2 and C3 in shale gas, anyhow?
You cannot run propane in a diesel engine by itself. The propane would blow the heads off the diesel. Two low of an autoignition . A small amount increases the HP but it builds a hell of a lot of heat.
Switching to a gasoline based engine would be the cost factor. Do not think the math is there to produce a 600 bhp motor. And in a car, if you wish to give up 2/3 of your trunk for a fuel tank, well that can be done.
Thanks for the info.
Anybody who thinks they’re going to get 4000 psi nat gas tanks for 1000 bucks doesn’t understand the system.
I heard a guy on CNBC quote Waste Management (the trash truck guys) saying one year payback on their rigs switching diesel to nat gas.
The folks who can put in a fueling rig at their home base facility will be the ones doing it first I think.
Obviously as diesel skyrockets in price the decision gets easier.
All three systems require unique tanks, distribution systems, and carburetors, though nothing has to be invented to use them in production vehicles.
No such thing as typical. Just like in traditional fields, the ratios vary all over the place.
Eagle Ford in Texas is very wet, an oil formation on one side with a gas formation on the other and blended in between.
Haynesville is very dry gas with almost no natural gas liquids at all.
That is why today Haynesville drilling has been falling off while Eagle Ford and other wet formations are booming. The liquids have become the money making target for much new drilling and the Natural Gas is a by-product.
Natural Gas vehicles have been available straight from Honda for many years. Look up the Civic GX.
And the LNG should get used up before it gets above cryogenic temperatures. That's why it's more suited for dual fuel tractor trailers. You fill up with both LNG and diesel, and run off LNG until your LNG tank is empty, then run off diesel until you get to another LNG fuel source.
Propane, I think, noticing the large tank took up a decent portion of the trunk space.
If it was economical, the trucking industry would already be doing this...
Bottom line is that diesel engines are the most efficient for doing heavy work, and moving freight is the most common form of that work. It’s simple physics and chemistry—the diesel engine gets the most out of the stored energy in diesel fuel, and it does this better than any other engine/fuel combination. I don’t see natural gas overcoming that primary advantage.
I believe that maintenance costs are also an issue—natural gas powered vehicles have traditionally been more complicated and more expensive to maintain, and you also have to factor in the increased cost of storage and transportation of the fuel itself.
At some point, IF the cost of natural gas becomes so significantly lower than diesel, you may see more movement in that direction. This will ONLY happen on it’s own, if the economics make it realistic.
Government will only get in the way and mess things up....like it always does.
Thanks. I tried to search and it appears both are in use now but I could not tell if either were common or had been in use for many years.
You need to look at the huge price difference of dollars per million BTU of Natural Gas versus Diesel.
The trucking industry is making the change already in areas were the fueling is available, which is very limited so far.
It has been a Chicken/Egg issue. Nobody wants to invest a pile of money to build a commercial fueling station without significant vehicle traffic using CNG. Few people want to buy CNG vehicles without sufficient places to refuel.
I’ll link you to a related article.
I finished concrete for a short time...in SoCal...in the late 70's. We had a couple trucks that were gas / Natgas equipped. We would switch the fuel to Natgas..on the FRWY..and pray that it would work. It generally did....
I guess my point is...we've had the technology for quite some time.
Using the original gasoline engine and the only change is to feed it with a much less energy dense fuel like they did in the 70 is a joke.
It would be like cutting the gasoline fuel pump to half flow and expecting the same engine performance.
The new applications use an engine design for this lower energy fuel. That is why it cost so much.
Joke or not.....it worked.
I guess....it always seems to me...the MSM touts vehicles that run on natgas as something new...when they aren't.
Maybe that was more my point?
I realize how much the new engines cost...that work totally on natgas.
Some of the nuts here cannot understand the difference in the compression ratio of a diesel and a gasoline engine. An engine that runs on anything other than diesel has a much reduced compression ration, it becomes a low horse power motor, and will not pull a 80,000 pond load at speed. A diesel ratio is about 16 to 1, and as high as 20 to 1. A gas engine about 10 to 1, with high performance gas at 14 to 1/ currently only in racing .
Stationary Diesel engines have been dual-fueled with Natural Gas under compression for a very long time. This isn’t a new theory but the application into the transportation industry.
Natural Gas BTUs have been significantly cheaper than Diesel for a long time. The difference now is the savings have become so large you can pay off the new infrastructure in less than a year and still have savings.
What I would have expected...but glad to have the confirmation.
"That is why today Haynesville drilling has been falling off while Eagle Ford and other wet formations are booming. The liquids have become the money making target for much new drilling and the Natural Gas is a by-product."
No surprise there. Story may be apochryphal...some farm guy had a pretty "wet" natgas well (in Texas, as I recall) with not much remaining total flow. He rigged a "ambient temperature "still" to pass the C1 to C5, and condensed the "highers". The "highers" were almost a perfect gasoline fraction. He ran his farm vehicles from the "still".
That has been done by several but people really need to know the composition. Some fields produce more H2S (hydrogen sulfide) over time. In very low concentrations it smells like rotten eggs. Slightly higher but still relatively low cannot be smelled but kills rather quickly.
My point exactly...NG may be cheaper per volume, but you have to burn MUCH more of it to do the same amount of work, and in many applications it simply will not be able to do the same job a diesel engine can do.
It has it’s applications, for sure, but it will never replace diesel altogether. It’s foolish even to try.