Type IV Unit to Help Eliminate an NGV Market ‘Bottleneck’
3M said early today that it’s successfully completed the NGV2-2007 certification process for its first compressed natural gas fuel cylinder, a Type IV tank made with a proprietary matrix resin material said to enhance the properties of costly carbon strength fiber – thus saving money by allowing the use of less fiber. updated October 17
3M also cites “improvements in geometries” for the superior properties of the new fuel vessel.
The 21.5- by 60-inch tank is designed for light- and medium-duty pick-up trucks and corporate fleet vehicles, 3M says. More sizes are planned. Initial production is in Utah.
“We are going to be using it in all pickup truck conversions going forward when the application uses a 21.5- by 60-inch tank,” says World CNG sales VP Joshua Hosford.
“The 3M product has more capacity and weighs less than some other Type IV tanks,” Hosford told F&F. World CNG is one of five upfitters 3M says will be first to use the new all-composite cylinder.
“Their product is a no-brainer,” Alternative Fuel Solutions VP Jim O’Donnell says of the new 3M tank. He cites cost and usable gasoline gallon equivalent advantages, plus the comfort of having a company the size of 3M behind the product.
AFS, of Mahaffey, Pa. has done Ford and GM vehicle upfits using Altech-Eco, Impco, and NatGasCar and other fuel systems. O’Donnell and Bry Granger, sales director for AVS, Alternative Vehicle Solutions in Murray, Utah, say they expect their first 3M tank deliveries this week.
“The 3M tank is less expensive than anybody else out there with a comparable tank,” says Granger. “It can be up to $500 [per cylinder] cheaper, depending on volume,” he told F&F. “It is also lighter.”
The 21.5- by 60-inch can hold 23.5 gasoline gallon equivalents, 3M says.
3M says it expects to announce certification of other geometries in the coming months.
Chesapeake Energy, an early advocate of the new CNG cylinder (F&F, February 25, 2012), is to be one of the first end users. Chesapeake is converting its fleet of nearly 5,000 vehicles to run on natural gas (F&F, April 27, 2012). OEM Systems of Okarche, Okla. is a key converter of Chesapeake vehicles, and is one of 3M’s five initial upfitters.
Will Lower the Total Cost of NGV Ownership’
“The fuel tank has been the most expensive single component on a CNG vehicle, causing a bottleneck for the market,” Chesapeake fleet operations director Nathan Pumphrey says in the 3M cylinder certification release.
“3M’s tank portfolio will lower the total cost of natural gas vehicle ownership and speed market adoption,” Pumphrey said.
Venchurs Vehicle Systems, the fifth upfitter named by 3M, converted a Ford F-250 to CNG for display at a Transportation Summit hosted by 3M in Livonia, Mich., this past fall (F&F, September 18).
3m said too Tuesday that, in line with a broader commitment to CNG, it has also begun working with its own transportation providers for them to power trucks carrying 3M products with CNG. 3M says it “has already implemented a pilot program with Dart Transit Company on dedicated routes, and anticipates others will follow.”
Dart has converted a Volvo daycab tractor to natural gas-diesel duel fuel operation using an APG (American Power Group) system, says Dart CNG-LNG development manager Jeff Resch. He told F&F that Dart operates seven dedicated-CNG tractors, and hopes to see the money-saving 3M cylinder used on subsequent vehicles.
Come See It at The Work Truck Show
“With a tank that will help provide more range and more payload capacity at less expense, CNG vehicles are now an even more attractive alternative for fleet and individual retail customers alike,” 3M industrial adhesive and tapes division VP Mike Roman said in the tank certification announcement.
“We are enthusiastic about the future of natural gas vehicles,” Roman said. 3M’s advanced composites unit, which developed the new tank using the nanosilica-filled resin material, is part of Roman’s industrial adhesive and tapes division.
The new 3M tank will be showcased at the National Truck Equipment Association’s Work Truck Show, March 6-8 in Indianapolis.
3M has also certified a 26-inch diameter Type IV cylinder,
a unit unveiled at ACT Expo in Washington, D.C. this past June.
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Source: 3m release with Fleets & Fuels follow-up