What is Compressed natural gas (CNG)?
details about CNG(compressed natural gas)
- Natural gas that is placed under high pressure resulting in a liquid phase. As it is extracted from the tank, it returns to a gas phase.00
- Natural gas is predomainantly methane and is often an unwanted byproduct of drilling for oil as it is difficult to transport to market. CNG is when it's compressed to decrease it's volume.
The early popularity of compressed natural gas as a fuel alternative was due to the ease of converting existing carburetor based cars to be able to use both CNG and gasoline. Essentially it involved drilling a hole in the carburetor and attaching a suitable fitting. Unfortunately, EPA tests showed that because these vehicles were not actually designed for the use of CNG, the conversions often resulted in more vehicle emissions rather than less so the conversion kits were banned in the 80's. In countries like Brazil, CNG is a very common modification particularly for taxis.
Note that it is the relative failure of these early CNG conversion kits that has resulted in a difficult EPA certification process for ethanol conversion kits such that only one kit has managed to navigate the bureaucracy necessary to become EPA certified.
The advantages of natural gas is that there are large surpluses of natural gas. Indeed 150 billion cubic metres are flared off every year simply because it's not cost effective to build the pipeline and liquefaction infrastructure needed to transport the natural gas to market. This "uneconomic" natural gas are called "stranded" natural gas. The hopes for opening new markets for natural gas was to increase the price of natural gas such that it would become economical to build the pipelines and infrastructure, unfortunately that would increase the price of electricity and impinge upon the attractiveness of CNG as a vehicle fuel.
Although natural gas can be liquefied (LNG) such that it has a respectable volumetric energy density of 7,216 WH/l (gasoline has 9,000 WH/l), it requires a much stronger hence heavier tank and cryogenic support equipment to maintain this density. CNG would just need a heavier stronger tank. There has been attempts to make pressure tanks from light weight materials like carbon fibre but so far these attempts have failed as was the case with NASA's X33 program. Of course NASA was trying to contain liquid hydrogen and containing CNG should be a much simpler task.
What is more interesting is the GTL work being done by many oil companies, in particular Shell. This involves the Fischer Tropsch reaction to effectively turn natural gas into gasoline and or diesel. The advantage of GTL technology is that it could be done at the remote sites where the natural gas is currently being flared off as a waste product of extracting oil and hence turn natural gas into a high value, easily transportable liquid.
If "stranded" natural gas can be economically captured for use as a fuel, then it simply displaces the current generation of greenhouse gases by flaring it as a waste product to burning it for a productive purpose hence would result in a net decrease in greenhouse gas contributions.
The Fischer Tropsch reaction is well known and has been the basis of the coal to liquid (CTL) technology employed by WWII Germany, embargoed South Africa and the US Air Force to make diesel and jet fuel. It can also be used to convert bio-mass to liquid fuel (BTL) as the DoD has contracted from Diversified Energy and Velocys and as Sandia Labs has proven can be used with Solar power to convert CO2 and H2O to gasoline and diesel. The feedstock to the Fischer Tropsch reaction is Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide otherwise known as syngas and can be obtained by gasification (partial burning) of virtually any carbon based product or as in the case of Sandia Labs, by catalyst from CO2 and H2O. Gasification of wood used to be how street lights were lit before natural gas was available, it was called town gas. It's also called wood gas and was how many tractors and cars operated during WWII. FEMA publishes plans on a wood gasifier for use as cooking fuel or for vehicles in times of fuel shortages.
Ironically, the best alternative vehicle fuel to gasoline and diesel is gasoline and diesel, just not from refining crude oil.01
- Natural gas, a fossil fuel comprised mostly of methane, is one of the cleanest burning alternative fuels. It can be used in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel cars and trucks.
Dedicated natural gas vehicles are designed to run on natural gas only, while dual-fuel or bi-fuel vehicles can also run on gasoline or diesel. Dual-fuel vehicles allow users to take advantage of the wide-spread availability of gasoline or diesel but use a cleaner, more economical alternative when natural gas is available. Since natural gas is stored in high-pressure fuel tanks, dual-fuel vehicles require two separate fueling systems, which take up passenger/cargo space.
Natural gas vehicles are not produced commercially in large numbers—the Honda GX CNG is the only new vehicle available in the U.S. However, conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles can be retrofitted for CNG.
- the dark lord00
- From my understanding at IGS Energy, compressed natural gas, often referred to as “CNG”, is made by simply ‘compressing’ harvested natural gas from deep in the earth. All this means is that instead of the natural gas freely floating around, it is compacted into a container.
Once it is compressed, CNG can then be used as a fuel source for many things, such as producing electricity, and even as fuel for vehicles.
The benefits of a CNG vehicle are pretty impressive though: you can save as much as 30-50% on your fuel costs and dramatically lower your greenhouse gas emissions. And natural gas is abundant (more than 100 year supply in the U.S.!), cheaper and cleaner than hydrocarbon-based fuels like oil and coal—just a few reasons why it’s being used in so many areas!00
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- My mother had a CNG car for work one time. The CNG would turn on after a certain speed. Otherwise the car ran on gas. That car got really good gas mileage. However, finding CNG was hard. The car would die on the on ramps and people would flip her off as if she was intentionally slowing down. She would have to start the car to get the gas flowing. Sometimes the fumes in the trunk from the CNG were strong. I would be afraid to have a speaker or other electronics in the back for fear of sparks. Also, two tanks take more room than one gas tank. Plus, any serious wreck requires the gas to be turned off, just another thing to worry about catching on fire.00
- Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline (petrol), diesel, or propane fuel. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill (natural gas is lighter than air, but disperses quickly when released).
CNG is made by compressing natural gas (which is mainly composed of methane [CH4]), to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. It is stored and distributed in hard containers, at a normal pressure of 200–220 bar (2900–3200 psi), usually in cylindrical or spherical shapes.
CNG is used in traditional gasoline internal combustion engine cars that have been converted into bi-fuel vehicles (gasoline/CNG). Natural gas vehicles are increasingly used in Europe and South America due to rising gasoline prices.
In response to high fuel prices and environmental concerns, CNG is starting to be used also in light-duty passenger vehicles and pickup trucks, medium-duty delivery trucks, transit and school buses, and trains.
CNG's volumetric energy density is estimated to be 42% of LNG's (because it is not liquefied), and 25% of diesel's.10
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