On-Vehicle Engine-Compressor System

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Bend, Oregon
Project Term:
10/01/2012 - 01/14/2018

Technology Description:

OnBoard Dynamics is modifying a passenger vehicle to allow its internal combustion engine to be used to compress natural gas for storage on board the vehicle. Ordinarily, filling a compressed natural gas vehicle with natural gas would involve driving to a natural gas refueling station or buying an expensive stand-alone station for home use. OnBoard's design would allow natural gas compression to take place in a single cylinder of the engine itself, allowing the actual car to behave like a natural gas refueling station. Ultimately, the engine would then have the ability both to power the vehicle and to compress natural gas so it can be stored efficiently for future use. The design would cost approximately $400 and pay for itself with fuel savings in less than 6 months.

Potential Impact:

If successful, OnBoard's engine-integrated natural gas compressor would provide a cost-effective and efficient alternative to today's natural gas compression technologies, enabling rapid integration of natural gas vehicles to the market.


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. Christopher Atkinson
Project Contact:
Ms. Rita Hansen
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Colorado State University
Oregon State University

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