Although this article focuses on cars, the same critique applies to heavy-duty trucks as well, which need even bigger, heavier tanks.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity]
Service, R. F. October 31, 2014. Stepping on the gas. Science Vol. 346, Issue 6209, pp. 538-541
At a conference on natural gas-powered vehicles Dane Boysen, head of a natural gas vehicle research program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, said what industry stalwarts don’t want to hear:
“Honestly, natural gas is not that great of a transportation fuel.” In fact, he adds, “it’s a stupid fuel.”
This is because of the low energy density of natural gas. A liter of gasoline will propel a typical car more than 10,000 meters down the road; a liter of natural gas just 13 meters. Even when natural gas is chilled or jammed into a high-pressure tank—at a high cost of both energy and money—it still can’t match gasoline’s range.
Nevertheless, Boysen’s ARPAE project, called Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE), is in the middle of spending $30 million over 5 years to jump-start the development of natural gas-powered cars and light-duty trucks which now burn over 60% of oil used in transportation.
But as Stephen Yborra, who directs market development for NGVAmerica, puts it, “there are an awful lot of hurdles to overcome.” Honda, for example, already makes a natural gas version of its Civic sedan.
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