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Natural Gas-Fueled Cars, a Long Road Ahead

5997 Views 27 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Upper5Percent
Could be as cheap as electricity for a Chevy Volt to fuel a car, but ...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/09/130904-long-road-ahead-for-natural-gas-cars/
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The case for natural gas is most compelling for trucks, and the larger the better. The article uses a Civic, which is a lousy example because the Civic doesn't use much gas in the first place. Try using an 18 wheeler that gets 8 MPG empty and and 6 MPG fully loaded. At a savings of $.25 or $.30 per mile the lower price of natural gas pays the truck pretty quickly.
 

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The real downside of CNG is the danger of the fuel...:(
 

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The real downside of CNG is the danger of the fuel...:(
Careful there, your bias is showing...
This is no different than the uninformed majority spouting things like "but the battery will burn up in a crash!"

The CNG fuel tanks are incredibly tough, go through a very thorough certification process, and have even been shot with a high power rifle without blowing up. The fuel quickly vents to atmosphere and disperses. If you did get a ruptured tank in a crash, and managed to get it to ignite, the fire would be much less hazardous than 15 gallons of gasoline splashed all over a crash scene. You probably wouldn't survive a crash that was bad enough to rupture a CNG tank.
 

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The main downside of CNG is less btu vs gas or diesel.

Since there is a monopoly for CNG stations in N. Tx, the retail price is pretty even.
 

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Careful there, your bias is showing...
This is no different than the uninformed majority spouting things like "but the battery will burn up in a crash!"

The CNG fuel tanks are incredibly tough, go through a very thorough certification process, and have even been shot with a high power rifle without blowing up. The fuel quickly vents to atmosphere and disperses. If you did get a ruptured tank in a crash, and managed to get it to ignite, the fire would be much less hazardous than 15 gallons of gasoline splashed all over a crash scene. You probably wouldn't survive a crash that was bad enough to rupture a CNG tank.
Exactly. People don't realize that gasoline is just about the most dangerous fuel for transportation. Natural gas and hydrogen would be stored in very tough high pressure containers. As you said, even if punctured and ignited it would burn off quickly without damaging the car:
http://evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=482
 

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Really?

And just what would the danger of the fuel be?

Has there been a natural gas car explosion that I've missed?
Well, there seems to be effectively some CNG car explosions that did happened.
a little Google search with CNG car explosion gives interesting reports.
There was a recall for CNG fueled Honda Civics, and a firefighter document about this
http://www.mvfri.org/Presentations/HansenCNGAutoFire.pdf
Even buses running on CNG can explode:
http://jalopnik.com/5610184/korean-cng-bus-explosion-caught-on-camera


Not to say these are common occurrences, but CNG needs some proper safety measures.
it's a highly compressed gas, contained in a pressurised tank...

On the safety perspective, I rather risk burning in a severly crashed Volt that got turned upside down
Three WEEKS after the said crash ;-)
than blowing up instantly because of a CNG explosion.

Francois
B2653
 

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Hmmm.. Which is safer, CNG or gasoline? Hmmm. On the bright side, liquid gasoline doesn't burn, only the vapor. But CNG is already gas and thus burns more quickly if it were to be released into the atmosphere while on fire. However, having seen the bus explosion video, it seems the explosion was more the result of the release of pressure than fire itself. Obviously the safest fuel is a pure electric vehicle. There's essentially no chance it would ever explode. At least with a fire you have enough time to get out of the car.
 

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Its very usefull for central depot fills but I doubt it will be but many years before it catches on by the general public. Now I suppose we could all run to an interstate depot like QUICK CHECK or such who might have them installed or those other big players whose names escape me but for local fills, not gonna happen for many years...mainly because of the cost of retrofitting and adding fill spots to existing stations.
 

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I remember driving by a fully engulfed shuttle van near the Phoenix airport a few years back. It was a CNG powered van and my impression was that it was like the largest blow torch in the world and you really wanted to get away from it as quickly as possible. I looked for a report on the news or in the paper and there was never any report. Most likely it had just been refueled at the airport and had no passengers. The driver was standing away from the van as I drove by, so no apparent injuries therefore not news worthy.

Gasoline in the liquid state is almost impossible to set on fire. The vapors have to get to just the right ratio with the oxygen in the air and then you need an ignition source. Hollywood movies make great entertainment, but are generally not factual. Cars don't explode on impact. They can catch on fire after the right conditions are reached obviously.

VIN # B0985
 

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CNG won't stay cheap here in NA my friends. It is only cheap now because of the difficulties in exporting it because in many other markets like Europe/Asia its considerably more expensive.

As soon as the export terminals are built (they are in the works now), the price will start to rise until it reflects the global price.

Also, the infrustructure for refilling would take decades to build out and the range of CNG passenger vehicles is to low for the economics to work.

There is a plan for railroads and heavy trucks to convert as the payoff will be much faster and also NG fuel cells have alot of promise.

However, I don't think that anything can beat EVs combined with Solar Power on your roof for now or the future for light vehicle tranportation.
 

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