A number of people have been pushing the idea that Natural Gas CNG fuel can replace our dependence on Oil used for Gasoline but can it really be the answer? Lets take a look at some of the hurdles that need to be overcome and what part natural gas can play as an alternative to Gasoline.
First we should understand where natural gas comes from and how it is harvested. Natural Gas deposits are often found thousands of feet below the surface of the earth often around oil and coal reserves. This is because the same organic materials that form into oil and coal also turn into gas as they degrade over time.
At ground level we can see this process in our trash dumps. As you have probably heard many dump sites have begun to line the bottom of their pits with rubber type membranes to reduce the toxic material from leaching into our water. When they did this they saw that there was an increase in the amount of Gas that was forming as trash decomposed. Understanding this was a resource they could use they started capping off the top of their fields with dirt and placed pipes in the ground to capture the natural gas.
On a much larger scale this is what happens in nature over longer periods of time. Some of the organic material that formed oil and coal also out gassed into porous rock like sand stone and was held there until we started drilling for oil or digging for coal. It is like a large underground propane tank and although it will leak over time the amount of gas is so great that it can be harvested.
The problem with Natural Gas is that just like Oil and Coal it is a finite resource meaning it took many many years for it to be produced and we can’t expect to find it everywhere since it depended on huge forests and large numbers of fish and animals to act as its feed stock.
Can Natural Gas be easily adapted into our cars and trucks?
Yes running a vehicle on any Gas instead of a liquid fuel only requires a few simple things to be altered. You need to replace the Fuel Tank and Engine intake Manifold you will also need to install fuel line and alter the timing in your vehicles computer.
As a matter of fact Duel Fuel vehicles made by all car manufacturers can run with both Gasoline and CNG or Propane. The vehicle will run on the Natural Gas and then automatically turn over to Gasoline for Long Runs.
Are their any Distance Limitations on CNG Fuel Vehicles
Not really but you do get about 1/3rd less distance on a fill-up then you do with Gasoline or Diesel. For this reason a Duel Fuel Vehicle is a good idea until there are enough Natural Gas stations to provide a quick fill-up. You can expect to get about 200 miles on a fill-up of Natural Gas.
Does it cost more?
This is very important and you should understand that if you get in early you will pay about $1 on average for the same amount of fuel a gallon of Gasoline would give. However as more people start to use Natural Gas you will see the price go up.
Once we understand that Natural Gas is just a bandaid on a gunshot wound and a resource that will run out faster then oil and coal should we still use it as a replacement for Gasoline?
Yes and for one reason … it is the progression to Hydrogen Gas.
Hydrogen Fuel can be made from a reforming processing by pushing Natural Gas through a Fuel Cell or it can be made through an electrical process that breaks water H2O into Hydrogen and Oxygen.
Hydrogen can be produced at our homes by using Solar Power and Water and it can be stored in tanks very similar to Natural Gas and Propane Tanks you may have seen outside homes. If you live in the city then Hydrogen can be trucked to a gas station or it can be produced onsite.
In other HowTos we will cover Hydrogen as a Fuel Source but you should understand that it is no more dangerous then Propane, Natural Gas or Gasoline.
If you can use Natural Gas in your Oven or Stove or House Heater then with very slight adjustment of the jets in the appliance you can use Hydrogen.
And unlike any other fuel Hydrogen’s only byproduct is water where all other fuels emmit CO2 and other toxic materials. As a matter of fact When Hydrogen Burns it recreates its own fuel source … Water. Thats kinda crazy … something like burning magic logs in your fireplace that magically make new logs as they burn. Well not really but its an interesting thought.
Anyway Natural Gas and Propane require 3000PSI pound per square inch tanks for storage and Hydrogen requires 5000 PSI tanks meaning the hydrogen tanks just need to be a little stronger. So eventually although we won’t all be driving Million Dollar Fuel Cell cars we may be driving cars that can burn Hydrogen Gas in the same old engines we are using today.
But to prepare today we need to put Solar on our homes and start ramping up the production of Natural Gas vehicles that can be converted to hydrogen.
Electric is also an option but the drawback of Battery Technology is the time it takes to recharge. Where you can refill a Natural Gas Car in about 5 minutes and continue on your way it takes hours to recharge a plugin electric vehicle and that is not reasonable for most people that do more then just drive around their own town every day.
So Keep your eyes open for Duel Fuel vehicles and Install solar because you can practically do it for free after Government Rebates.