Benefits of Natural gas as an Energy Source

Over the years more and more people are becoming aware of the cost of operating vehicles on today’s highways. This is particularly a problem with companies that operate fleet vehicles. As a result, natural gas, both in renewable and conventional form is being developed for use in regular gas vehicles.

Two forms of natural gas can be used in vehicles. These are liquefied natural gas (LGN) and compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG, when used as fuel on a vehicle storage unit, requires a pressure of 3,000 to 3,6000 pounds per square inch and costs approximately the same as conventional gasoline.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is turned into liquid by super-cooling. This produces a natural gas that is basically methane. It must be kept in specially constructed cryogenic tanks and has a relatively high production cost which has so far limited its use to trucks which travel long distances.

In 2016 the U.S. had 160,000 NG vehicles of which 3,176 were LNGs. Worldwide, China led the world with 5.0 million NGVs in use. With other countries adding up to a total of 24,452 million NGVs in use.

Advantages to using natural gas in the operation of vehicles

Works equally well on gasoline and diesel vehicles
Reduces the import of petroleum (approximately 19.4 million barrels per day
Provides the same advantages of regular gasoline (i.e. power, acceleration, driving speed
Effective emission control system (CNG fuel systems are completely sealed)
Reduces greenhouse emissions
Renewable natural gas (RNG) can be obtained from landfills and livestock operations
Gasoline and diesel vehicles can be converted by using natural gas retro-fitters
Natural gas lines can service filling stations
Currently there are 24,731 alternative fuel stations in the U.S.

These advantages make this an excellent replacement for regular petroleum which has shown to be harmful to the both people and their surroundings. However, there is still much to be done before this can become a popular alternative to regular gasoline.

Limitations of natural gas implementations

Although currently natural gas is being implemented in Oklahoma, Virginia and Arkansas and heavy-duty natural gas vehicles are being manufactured, there are still problems that exist.

These include:

Lack of fueling stations (fleets would have to install their own)
Duel-fueled engines require storage of both diesel and natural gas
CNG requires high pressure cylinders (-260F to -200F) for storage
Requires storage on vehicle trunk or pickup bed (reduces space)
LNG has a high production cost

Worldwide NGV vehicles are being manufactured by General Motors, Ram Trucks and Ford. Brazil’s FIAT has also developed Fiat Siena Tetra Fuel, a four-fuel car. It is believed that, over time, natural gas will become a practical and popular fuel in the U.S.