Low-Pressure Conformable Natural Gas Vehicle Tank

Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
Commercial Prototype Adsorbed Natural Gas (ANG) System for Light-Duty Vehicles
Image of GTI's technology
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$1,499,999
Location: 
Des Plaines, IL
Project Term: 
10/01/2012 to 03/31/2014
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Critical Need: 
With natural gas prices at an all-time low, compressed natural gas technologies can take advantage of clean natural gas to displace higher-cost fuels. The economic and environmental benefits of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are being increasingly recognized, but the first-cost entry into using them is preventing more widespread adoption. The development of innovative, low-cost natural gas storage technologies and methods to lower pressure in vehicle tanks will help overcome market barriers to increased NGV use.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
GTI will partner with Northwestern University, NuMat Technologies, a Northwestern start-up company, and Westport Fuel Systems to identify materials with the best characteristics for low-pressure natural gas storage. The gas-storing materials, known as metal organic framework (MOF) adsorbents, hold natural gas the way a sponge holds liquids. The project team will further develop their computer modeling and screening technique to support the creation of a low-pressure adsorbent material specifically designed for natural gas vehicles. The team will also validate the materials properties in real-world conditions. Low-pressure gas tanks represent significant potential for lowering not only the cost of NGVs, but also the cost of fueling by reducing the need to compress the gas.
Impact Summary: 
If successful, GTI's low-pressure, low-cost, adsorbent material would increase the convenience and driving range of natural gas vehicles at a substantial price reduction to consumers.
Security: 
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.
Environment: 
Natural gas vehicles produce approximately 10% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles throughout the fuel life cycle.
Economy: 
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.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Dane Boysen
Project Contact: 
Dr. Ted Barnes
Partners
Northwestern University