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Chilled Natural Gas for At-Home Refueling

GE Global Research

Chilled Natural Gas

Image of GE's technology
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$1,799,885
Location: 
Fairfield, CT
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 04/20/2014
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

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.

Potential Impact: 

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.

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. Anna Lis Laursen
Partners
Chart Industries, Inc.
University of Missouri
Release Date: 
7/12/2012