Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Feds MOVE To Accelerate CNG Vehicle Adoption

Last week the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) held a massive conference in Oxton Hill, Maryland to which President Clinton, Secretary Chu and even I spoke.  More than 2500 people attended this premier event that marshals thought and action for energy technology breakthroughs. 

My pick for the most important highlight of the conference was the new Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy, a $30 million initiative, designed to hasten commercialization high energy density tanks for CNG and low-cost home refueling stations. and see the February 24th postings.

With gasoline at $3.74, while natural gas fueling is at $1.50, and war with Iran a real possibility, accelerating the move from oil to gas and other substitutes for transportation should be the nation's most important energy task.  The MOVE initiative seeks to do exactly that by finding energy storgage and fueling technology breakthroughs that lower the cost of CNG vehicles.

As of 2010, the US had just 112,000 CNG vehicles on the road. Using federal research dollars to tackle two of the biggest technology weaknesses in the CNG market is a smart use of funds that can play a role in putting millions of natural gas powered vehicles on our roads. MOVE plus passing the Natural Gas Act that is dying a long, slow death in the United States House of Representatives would really make the US serious about gas transportation.  


  1. Any opinions on who the leaders in these two areas are and what you see as a reasonable timeline for development?

    1. Production companies leading on using gas for transportation include Chesapeake Energy, which has done more than any to develop gas vehicles and fueling and Shell. Waste Management is a good example of a company deploying large numbers of gas fueled vehicles. Many public transit agencies are leading too.

      I favor having a gas fueling and electricity charging station within 5 miles of every Amreican within 10 years. I also favor a goal of reducing oil imports by 3% per year for 10 years.

  2. Concerned ScientistMarch 7, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    This would be good for the environment too.

    Here is what the EPA has to say about it:

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculated the potential benefits of CNG versus gasoline based on the inherently cleaner-burning characteristics of natural gas, summarized in Clean Alternative Fuels: Compressed Natural GasPDF.

    * Reduces carbon monoxide emissions 90%-97%
    * Reduces carbon dioxide emissions 25%
    * Reduces nitrogen oxide emissions 35%-60%
    * Potentially reduces non-methane hydrocarbon emissions 50%-75%
    * Emits fewer toxic and carcinogenic pollutants
    * Emits little or no particulate matter
    * Eliminates evaporative emissions

    It should be a priority for the nation. There is a role for government here.

  3. Check this out John: Chesapeake and GE rolling out turn key "CNG in a Box" apparatus. Drop in place, hook up supply line, rock and roll! This is huge, in my humble opinion. This could/should make it very easy for regional gasoline refueling stations like Sheetz, Wawa, Get-Go, etc. be able to jump on this CNG bandwagon quickly, cheaply, and without massive retrofits.

  4. CNG conversion systems can cost anywhere from $1,000 up to several thousand dollars for newer EPA certified kits. This price does NOT include the cost of the cylinder. In a state like California, the CARB won't let you legally install anything but an expensive EPA certified kit. Further, you can only install the kits on certain vehicle and engine types. utah cng vehicles for sale