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Adsorbent Materials for Natural Gas Storage

Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
ARPA-E Award: 
Des Plaines, IL
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Image of GTI's technology
Critical Need: 
Today's natural gas vehicles are fitted with on-board fuel tanks that are too large, cumbersome, and expensive to properly facilitate the widespread adoption of natural gas vehicles in the U.S. and globally. Additionally, the low volumetric density of natural gas--roughly 30% less energy by volume than gasoline--limits the driving range of natural gas vehicles and makes cost-effective storage solutions a significant challenge. Dramatic improvements must be made to the capacity, conformability, and cost of on-board storage to accelerate natural gas vehicle adoption.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is developing a natural gas tank for light-duty vehicles that features a thin, tailored shell containing microscopic valves which open and close on demand to manage pressure within the tank. Traditional natural gas storage tanks are thick and heavy, which makes them expensive to manufacture. GTI's tank design uses unique adsorbent pellets with nano-scale pores surrounded by a coating that functions as valves to help manage the pressure of the gas and facilitate more efficient storage and transportation. GTI's low-pressure tanks would have thinner walls than today's best alternatives, resulting in a lighter, more affordable product with increased storage capacity.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, GTI's nano-valved materials for natural gas storage would allow for more efficient refueling and storage while furthering the position of natural gas vehicles as viable alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles.
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.
Natural gas vehicles produce approximately 10% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles throughout the fuel life cycle.
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.
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Jason Rugolo
Project Contact: 
Dr. Shiguang Li
University of South Carolina
Colorado School of Mines
University of Louisville
Release Date: