Chilled Natural Gas for At-Home Refueling
GE Global Research
Chilled Natural Gas
01/01/2013 to 01/31/2015
There are fewer than 600 natural gas vehicle refueling stations in the U.S. today, which represents a significant obstacle to the widespread adoption of natural gas vehicles. Developing at-home refueling systems would improve the convenience of owning a natural gas vehicle, but these systems can cost up to $5,000 and take 5-8 hours per vehicle charge. Dramatic improvements must be made to the cost and convenience of at-home refueling systems to accelerate natural gas vehicle adoption.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
GE is developing a low-cost, at-home natural gas refueling system that reduces fueling time and eliminates compression stages. Traditional compressor-based natural gas refueling systems require removal of water from natural gas through complicated desiccant cycles to avoid damage. GE's design uses a chiller to cool the gas to a temperature below -50°C, which would separate water and other contaminants from the natural gas. This design has very few moving parts, will operate quietly, and will be virtually maintenance-free. This simplified, compressor-free design could allow fast refueling at 10% of the cost of today's systems.
If successful, GE's chilled natural gas technology would dramatically improve the cost, efficiency, and stability of at-home refueling systems and reduce fueling time to 1 hour.
Improving the convenience of natural gas vehicle ownership could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make consumers less vulnerable to sudden oil price shocks.
Compressed natural gas currently costs half as much per gallon of gasoline equivalent. With the average American spending over $2000 per year on gas, enabling the use of natural gas vehicles could save drivers $1000 per year.
Natural gas vehicles produce approximately 10% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles throughout the fuel life cycle.