A new and innovative way to store methane could speed the development of natural gas-powered cars that don’t require the high pressures or cold temperatures of today’s compressed or liquefied natural gas vehicles.
Natural gas is cleaner-burning than gasoline, and today there are more than 150,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles on the road in the United States, most of them trucks and buses. But until manufacturers can find a way to pack more methane into a tank at lower pressures and temperatures, allowing for a greater driving range and less hassle at the pump, passenger cars are unlikely to adopt natural gas as a fuel.
UC Berkeley chemists have now developed a porous and flexible material — a so-called metal-organic framework (MOF) — for storing methane that addresses these problems. The flexible MOF collapses when the methane is extracted to run the engine, but expands when the methane is pumped in at only moderate pressure, within the range produced by a home compressor.
“You could potentially fill up at home,” said Jeffrey Long, a UC Berkeley professor of chemistry who led the project.
The flexible MOF can be loaded with methane, the main ingredient of natural gas, at 35 to 65 times atmospheric pressure (500-900 psi), whereas compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles compress natural gas into an empty tank under 250 atmospheres (3,600 psi).
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles operate at lower pressures but require significant insulation in the tank system to maintain the natural gas at minus-162 degrees Celsius (minus-260 degrees Fahrenheit) so that it remains liquid.
Next-gen NG vehicles
Long said that next-generation natural gas vehicles will require a material that binds the methane and packs it more densely into the fuel tank, providing a larger driving range. One of the major problems has been finding a material that absorbs the methane at a relatively low pressure, such as 35 atmospheres, but gives it all up at a pressure where the engine can operate, between 5 and 6 atmospheres. MOFs, which have a lot of internal surface area to adsorb gases — that is, for gas molecules to stick to the internal surfaces of the pores — and store them at high density, are one of the most promising materials for adsorbed natural gas (ANG) storage.
“This is a big advance both in terms of capacity and thermal management,” Long said. “With these new flexible MOFs, you can get to capacities beyond what was thought possible with rigid MOFs.”
Among the other advantages of flexible MOFs, Long says, is that they do not heat up as much as other methane absorbers, so there is less cooling of the fuel required.
“If you fill a tank that has adsorbent, such as activated charcoal, when the methane binds it releases heat,” he said. “With our material, some of that heat goes into changing the structure of the material, so you have less heat to dissipate, less heat to manage. You don’t have to have as much cooling technology associated with filling your tank.”
The flexible MOF material could perhaps even be placed inside a balloon-like bag that stretches to accommodate the expanding MOF as methane is pumped in, so that some of the heat given off goes into stretching the bag.
The Latest on: Natural gas vehicles
via Google News
The Latest on: Natural gas vehicles
- GUEST COMMENTARY: Volkswagen — smoke, mirrors and electric carson December 1, 2019 at 6:00 am
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, around 72% of China’s electricity in 2015 came from the combustion of coal, with a few more percent from natural gas. In other words, a lot of ...
- Minnesota Utility Is Investing in Electric Vehicle Chargingon November 30, 2019 at 10:29 pm
Electric vehicle drivers who live in member cities will charge at night and help absorb ... When that plant closes, “our portfolio will be made up of significantly more renewable resources,” he said.
- Minnesota reducing gas emissions with Volkswagen settlementon November 30, 2019 at 4:07 pm
That money was intended more to reduce nitrogen oxide and fine particles by replacing older polluting vehicles with newer and cleaner ones that run on diesel, propane or natural gas, and Robinson said ...
- Niagara Falls driver fleeing cops hits parked vehicles and garage, severing gas lineon November 30, 2019 at 12:50 pm
One of the vehicles careened into a house, severing a natural gas line and creating a large gas leak. The incident occurred just after 10:30 p.m. when officers on a drunken driving patrol noticed a ...
- New Light Vehicle Sales of Gas-Powered Vehicles Hit a Peak–in 2016on November 29, 2019 at 12:45 pm
Total new light-vehicle sales are forecast at around 16.6 million ... Exxon is spending big, according to The Wall Street Journal, to make oil and natural gas as competitive as possible, “believing ...
- Daily on Energy: Oil majors see political safety in EPA regulating natural gas methaneon November 26, 2019 at 8:28 am
Natural gas is next on the target list for environmental advocates ... LOS ANGELES’ OLYMPIC EFFORT ON ELECTRIC CARS: The California city is aiming to speed up its shift to electric vehicles. In ...
- Natural Gas Market Size, Revenue Growth Opportunities And Geographical Forecast Till 2026 | Fortune Business Insightson November 26, 2019 at 12:29 am
and Anadarko Petroleum The global natural gas market is likely to gain impetus from a rise in the demand for light-duty vehicles. According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, titled, “Natural ...
- Natural gas line struck near Maryland mallon November 24, 2019 at 10:49 am
TOWSON, Md. — Authorities said a shopping mall in Maryland is open for business after a vehicle struck a nearby high-pressure natural gas line. Baltimore County fire officials said Sunday that a ...
- One person seriously injured after vehicle strikes gas line at new Towson development siteon November 24, 2019 at 9:49 am
Baltimore County emergency crews temporarily evacuated the area around the Towson Town Center after a vehicle struck a high-pressure natural gas line near Macy’s Sunday. Emily Brophy, the senior ...
- With Natural Gas, Take a Deep Diveon November 22, 2019 at 9:07 am
Deep value investing. That strategy has driven my new investment vehicle, Excelsior Capital Partners, and it certainly takes one to some interesting corners of the investing world. I am now knee-deep ...
via Bing News