Competing projects propose $500 home CNG fueler

Eaton Corp. and General Electric Co. are working on competing projects to develop a $500 home natural gas fueling station, a product that could entice car owners to switch to a fuel whose price has plummeted because of shale drilling.

The companies' efforts are part of a U.S. Department of Energy push to reduce the cost of such stations, which can sell for more than $5,000, and the time it takes to refuel as a way to attract more people to drive vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

An affordable CNG station for homes could "revolutionize" how Americans commute, Dane Boysen, director of an Energy Department program to encourage use of the fuel in vehicles, said in a statement from Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton.

"My hope is that these advanced technologies will enable us to use our abundant domestic supply of natural gas for transportation, diversifying our nation's fuel and refueling portfolio for the future," he said.

CNG is selling at retail for the equivalent of about $2.09 per gallon of gasoline, according to Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the nation's largest producers of natural gas. Monday in Tulsa, the most common price of regular-grade gasoline was $3.39 a gallon.

Eaton said its technology will tap into a home's existing natural gas system. The company is developing the home station with the University of Minnesota, funded in part by a $3.4 million Energy Department grant. The company said it will draw on its experience installing electric-vehicle charging stations across the nation.

GE said last week that it's working with Chart Industries Inc. and the University of Missouri to develop a fueling station. The Fairfield, Conn.-based company received a $1.8 million Energy Department grant, according to Todd Alhart, a GE spokesman.

The Energy Department is also funding projects including storage tanks being developed by Ford Motor Co. and United Technologies Corp. in separate efforts.

Thanks to drilling technologies to recover the natural gas from shale rock, the market price of the fuel is about 80 percent lower than four years ago. Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas rose a penny to finish the trading day at $3.09 per 1,000 cubic feet.​

This article was first published by Tulsa World.


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leethomas
KEEP DRILLING
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rmoonshower
After looking at the cng fuel conversion for awhile, the only parts of the process that make any economic sense is the cost of the fuel and the actual engine conversion kit  for the engine. The Tanks (~$700-$2000) and the home fueling station (~$5000) are the game changers as far as allowing for any meaningful cost saving and ROI $.
The Idea of a home fueler for $500-or so would really be a plus.
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chadosko
Worry not, 3M and Chesapeake have also teamed up to work on a more affordable, higher capacity tank -- which should lower that cost.
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RonWagner
I don't understand how you go from $5,000 to $500, but similar savings have occurred in electronics many times. I would buy one for a lot more, if I were in the market for a vehicle right now. I think tanks will drop greatly in price also.

Also see:
http://sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2012/07/osu-researcher-gets-federal-grant-for.html Have the CNG pump in the vehicle. Great Idea!!!
Avatar
SeanPeck
Affordable home fuelling would be one of the top benefits of owning a personal CNG car. However, I wonder if a sub $500 system could end up having a negative impact on CNG station deployments - especially if this translates into more cost effective commercial fleet fueling systems. Either way, this is exciting progress!
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skip21al
This would be huge. The PHILL is just too much of an expense for most people to justify. I learned a lot about CNG car conversion at www.skycng.com, but the cost of the PHILL prevented me from buying a conversion. I have natural gas at home, but very few convenient filling stations.
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cursors
This would be a game changer.
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DavidKrausz
This is an updated article from the New York Times:

Natural Gas Waits for Its Moment
Published: October 29, 2013

"Eaton Corporation, which announced in July 2012 that it was developing a compressed natural gas home refueling station that would be available “before the end of 2015, with a target production price of $500.” When asked how that figure might translate to a selling price, James J. Michels, Eaton’s communications manager, said in an email that the company had not established a selling price. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/automobiles/natural-gas-waits-for-its-moment.html



The update is that $500 is the production price (cost), not the final sales price.  Add in shipping and a reasonable gross margin and we might get one for $1500.
It also indicates that we have to wait until late 2015.  I have no idea why this would take this long to develop.  I can't imagine this is very unique technology... but maybe it is.


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