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CNG? Why Not Make the Tanks Square?

August 9, 2014 in CNG, Companies, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Michigan’s REL Is Developing Conformable Tanks,
Announces Bill Calvert as Advisory Board Member

Calumet, Mich.-based REL, a materials technology specialist with achievements including novel high-temperature materials for NASA’s Space Shuttle, is promoting a non-cylindrical container for compressed natural gas that could be made to conform with available spaces on a vehicle chassis ­ solving the loss-of-stage quandary facing today’s CNG vehicles.

REL's goal is to put the CNG tank, which can be built to virtually any shape, below the truck bed, between the frame rails.

REL’s goal is to put the CNG tank, which can be built to virtually any shape, below the truck bed, between the frame rails.

“A conformable tank is like today’s [gasoline] tank,”, the company says, “stowed away from valuable storage space.”

It “will revolutionize the storage of CNG in vehicles,” REL says.

$3 Million via DoE’s MOVE Program

The firm won a $3 million award under the U.S. Energy Department’s ARPA-e MOVE program in 2012. “Unlike normal hollow pressure vessels that are cylindrical, this internal foam design will allow tanks to be formed into any shape,” states a project description. “The foam core will enable higher storage capacity than current carbon fiber tanks at one third the cost.”

Bill Calvert

Bill Calvert

MOVE stands for Methane Opportunities For Vehicular Energy.

REL announced this month that Bill Calvert, a founder of BAF Technologies and a recipient of an NGV Lifetime Achievement Award from NGVAmerica, has joined the company as an advisory board member.

Calvert “near-single handedly” developed the cutaway shuttle bus niche sector, NGVAmerica said at the time of the award, and mentored countless individuals – both inside and outside his own company (F&F, October 9, 2012).


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Source: REL with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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