Proclaims ‘The World’s First Commercially Viable Conformable
Adsorbent-Based Low Pressure Natural Gas (ANG) Storage Tank’
United Technologies Research Center and New Jersey-based Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. this morning disclosed an exclusive licensing agreement allowing ANGP to use UTRC’s patent-pending technology “to develop and produce the world’s first commercially viable conformable adsorbent-based low pressure natural gas (ANG) storage tank for motor vehicles.” updated February 5
The license applies to non-metal composite tanks containing activated carbon adsorbents at operating pressures of up to 1,000 psi, states a joint release.
The agreement addresses a 30-year industry need to build a U.S. market for natural gas vehicles, the companies said.
ANGP is meanwhile hoping for NGV2 certification, as early as next month, of a Type I (no fiber overwrap) aluminum cylinder by Worthington with an activated carbon medium allowing natural gas to be stored at 900 psi. The ANG cylinder will be able to store approximately 2.25 times as much natural gas as an empty cylinder of the same size at 900 psi, says ANGP VP Matt Bonelli.
Bulky CNG Tanks Have ‘Hampered’ the Market
Natural gas has made “inroads” in the U.S., notably in transit buses and garbage trucks, ANGP co-founder and CEO Bob Bonelli says in the license announcement, but “making it a commercially feasible option for mass market application has been primarily hampered by the large, bulky cylinders required to house the highly pressurized fuel… which adds weight and leaves minimal useful storage space in a passenger car or light-duty truck.”
ANGP says it’s addressed this barrier by using an activated carbon adsorbent material that’s capable of storing large quantities of gas at a far lower pressure – less than 1,000 psi – than the 3,600 psi typically used for compressed natural gas cylinders.
“The lower pressure makes natural gas filling stations more cost-effective because the amount of compression required is much less than that required for conventional CNG tanks,” Bonelli said. “This translates into smaller pumping equipment, resulting in lower capital and operating costs.”
“When combined with UTRC’s innovative conformable tank design, the resultant product allows us to reduce weight, increase storage space, and improve fuel efficiency.”
UTRC was a participant in a U.S. Department of Energy/Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy program dubbed MOVE, for Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy.
“UTRC’s objective under this program was to develop a conformable modular tank concept based on topology-optimized structures, and state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing technologies,” said David Parekh, United Technologies corporate VP for research and UTRC director.
The 30 Years Wait
“We are eager to transition our successful technology advancements under the MOVE program into a commercial product and anticipate working closely with ANGP in 2016 and beyond as it builds the market for ANG vehicles,” Parekh said.
“The industry has been waiting more than three decades for the union of low-pressure adsorbed natural gas technology and a conformable storage tank,” said Bonelli. “UTRC’s conformable tank provides 30% more storage capacity than multiple cylinders occupying the same envelope.
The Goal? ‘Mass Market Acceptance’
“The design is ideal for lower pressure ANG applications, enabling thinner tank walls and, therefore, lower material costs, Bonelli said. “ANGP looks forward to achieving the industry’s goal of mass market acceptance with its total system solution for natural gas as an automotive fuel.”
ANGP announced a consortium arrangement with partners including Aspen Compressor, Midwest Energy Solutions, activated carbon supplier MWV Specialty Chemicals (now Ingevity) and Worthington Industries this past summer (F&F, August 3, 2015).
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Source: UTRC and ANGP with Fleets & Fuels follow-up