Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

LQD: Could CNG be temporary relief for the current gas crunch?

by marco Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:53:38 AM EST

And do people need such relief?

A trash collection service is coming clean.

Waste Management of the Inland Empire has debuted five garbage trucks that run on compressed natural gas, or CNG, which is cleaner-burning than diesel. The trucks will be used in residential Beaumont and Banning.

The trucks are quieter than their diesel counterparts and emit less pollution, company officials said.

Cleaner, greener garbage trucks hit Inland road | Inland News | The Press-Enterprise


The company eventually plans to replace all of its diesel trucks with green alternatives, which Quiroa said is a reflection of its commitment to the environment.

CNG is natural gas under pressure. It's clear, odorless and noncorrosive and consists primarily of methane.

It's less expensive than other fuel, costing on average one-third less than gasoline at the pump, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a trade association in Washington, D.C. Waste Management Inc. is a member of the association.

With the high prices of diesel and gasoline, the interest level in CNG as a transportation fuel has increased, said association President Richard Kolodziej.

<...>

Compressed natural gas is very safe, Kolodziej said.

Compressed natural gas had not entered my radar until a friend recently wrote to me about it.  This article makes it sound like a pretty good thing.

Here is what I was able to find about it on EuroTrib:

European Tribune - electric vehicles powered by solar thermal energy

The transport sector is betting heavily on bio-fuels, CNG/LNG and hydrogen. The problems with bio-fuels and hydrogen have been referred to in the Quick Scan in the introduction. The growing dependence on gas, supplied by politically unstable regimes, is increasing. The CNG/LNG route for transport applications is therefore highly questionable and above that, not a sustainable solution.

European Tribune - Energize America - A Blueprint for U.S. Energy Security (Fourth Draft)

A few municipal mass-transit agencies and school districts are converting their bus fleets from those that burn gasoline and petroleum diesel to those that burn compressed natural gas.

Starvid:

Switching the entire vehicle park to electrics will take at least 15-20 years, which is why substitute fuels like CTL, GTL, tar sands, heavy oil and CNG will be crucial. And no, there won't be any CCS.

The Wikipedia article mentions the following drawbacks:

Compressed natural gas vehicles require a greater amount of space for fuel storage than conventional gasoline power vehicles. Since it is a compressed gas, rather than a liquid like gasoline, CNG takes up more space for each GGE (Gallon of Gas Equivalent). Therefore, the tanks used to store the CNG usually take up additional space in the trunk of a car or bed of a pickup truck which runs on CNG. While CNG-powered vehicles are considered to be safer than gasoline-powered vehicles [2][3], there are concerns about how best to fight fires involving CNG vehicles.[4] Since its calorific value is far less than other fuels it needs comparatively large volume of Gas to get desired energy.

Keeping these drawbacks in mind, could there still be some merit in resorting to CNG as temporary relief from the current gasoline crunch?  Could it be used somehow as a way to help people, in particular Americans, get used to increasing fuel prices gradually rather than in such a sharp and painful manner?

On the other hand, just how hard has it been to deal with the higher gas prices?  Is it still that painful?  Or have people been adjusting better than expected despite the initial shock?

Display:
Waste Management of the Inland Empire has debuted five garbage trucks that run on compressed natural gas, or CNG, which is cleaner-burning than diesel. The trucks will be used in residential Beaumont and Banning.

If my memory serves me well, Riverside in the Inland Empire was already running buses on CNG over 4 years ago...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:13:48 AM EST
could there still be some merit in resorting to CNG as temporary relief from the current gasoline crunch?

No, not "temporary relief", as it requires modifying the engines and fuel tanks.

That means it cannot be deployed quickly, and that it's a permanent change, not a temporary thing.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:16:03 AM EST
Migeru:

No, not "temporary relief", as it requires modifying the engines and fuel tanks.

That means it cannot be deployed quickly, and that it's a permanent change, not a temporary thing.

not quite correct. i have had 2 vehicles here in italy that ran on lpg, and the attachment to make it work is removable, leaving no damage. lpg is pretty widely available, and you can switch to dinojuice any time.

the problems i found was the approx 30% power loss and the size of the tank, taking up half the trunk/boot, unless you get the spare tyre size tank, which doesn't give you much range, plus you have to stash the spare tire somewhere else!

upside, much less toxicity to exhaust, can enter city on pollution control days, feels a good bit greener than its liquid cousin.
downside, not permitted in underground car parks, engines not always very compatible with gas, mine needed a tweak by a 'gas expert' every so often, i'd find myself switching to petrol if i needed more pickup, if it was freezing, or if the car felt too spongy-pedaled. sometimes a couple of miles on petrol would blow whatever out the tubes and it would then run better on gas. a bit iffy all around.

some newer systems start on petrol and switch to gas.  when warmed up. it doesn't work with diesels, btw.

i though it was wonderful when i first drove with it, and reluctantly gave up on the idea.

some cars run on pure methane here too, and it's slightly cheaper than lpg.

it makes more sense too, i think, because methane is not that hard to create, with a few pigs to help...

whereas lpg...it may remain slightly cheaper than petrol, but i wouldn't bet on it being cheap for long.

imo, it's more practical in flat places, and gives ok results in a higher powered car, like an alfa, which then is hobbled down to a normal pace.

start off with a peugot or a fiat, and it becomes a lead sled.

channeling jeremy clarkson, lol!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I stand corrected.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's less expensive than other fuel, costing on average one-third less than gasoline at the pump, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a trade association in Washington, D.C. Waste Management Inc. is a member of the association.

With the high prices of diesel and gasoline, the interest level in CNG as a transportation fuel has increased, said association President Richard Kolodziej.

What share of the vehicle fleet needs to be switched to CNG before the arbitrage disappears, eliminating the factor of 3 price difference between liquid fuels and CNG, and  among other things making the cost of natural gas for other uses such as household cooking or heating, or electricity generation in gas-fired power plants rise three-fold?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:19:52 AM EST
... if its Australia that we are talking about. The restriction of natural gas exports to LNG tankers means that if Australia wants to adopt a policy of rapidly burning through their natural gas resource, CNG would be one way to accomplish that.

To be of use in the US, given the lack of a large untapped supply to draw upon, it seems like it would be necessary to scale back on natural gas use for electricity and household use ... and then much of the structural opportunities for serious improvements in consumption efficiency in the US are in the transport system itself.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:26:39 PM EST
And some (natural gas) answers are expensive by Heading Out ... (The Oil Drum) ... with China starting to buy from Turkmenistani natural gas fields next year, natural gas markets in Peninsular West Asia are not isolated from growing energy consumption in East Asia.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but I still fundamentally disagree with that conclusion.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
looking forward to it, if you find the time

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:08:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CNG is natural gas, which is likely to be in as short supply as oil pretty soon.

It's only cheaper because it's taxed less.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:36:08 PM EST
Some hard numbers from Watthead

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:28:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's been an ad push out from T Boone Pickens, and old Texas oilman, about using natural gas to replace gasoline, and using windpower to replace the portion of electric that is made from natural gas.

Here's the plan.

And here's the tv ad.

I've forgotten how to embed video.

He says that they Pampa windfarm he's building would be 4,000 MW on 400,000 acres.  So about 1,000 acres per 1.5 MW GE turbine.  I don't know what to make of the last paragraph:

When it comes to energy, Texas is literally its own country, as the Lone Star State is not plugged into the national power grid and must generate nearly all its electricity within its borders. Aggressive efforts by Texas regulators and entrepreneurs to make the state energy independent by upgrading its transmission system and tapping wind power are models for the rest of the country.


And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:42:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link to Pickens' ad.  I have seen it several times on TV this week. While he has at times had a destructive impact, such as financial support  for the Swiftboat ads, his recent shift to renewables is a blessing.  I wonder if he might play the role of Ross Perot in this election?  Especially by shifting the discourse to energy issues and the importance of renewables.  He definitely has credibility on those issues.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:18:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Texas does have its own power grid.  There are Eastern, Western and Texas Grids.  That might become an issue if installed wind energy needs to be sold out of Texas.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]