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Old 12-16-2011, 06:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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DIY CNG refueling?

I would swear I already posted a CNG related thread on ecomodder but searching for it I cannot find it. :-/ If you saw my other post please link me to it and tell me what i'm doing wrong as far as posting or searching. I tried searching for my own name unless my post got deleted for being in the wrong place or something.


I have been investigating CNG fuel options which as far as I can tell seems to be one of The Answers for interim fuel savings... the only problem is the COST. A typical commercial setup costs $15,000-20,000 by the time you bring it all home. More if you are custom converting a car not made for it from the factory, and used CNG vehicles are hard to come by if available at all.

I live in minnesota - there is only one CNG refueling station and it's price is so high I might as well be using gasoline. (gasoline is the same price) It's not like Utah or something where it's 1/4 the cost. But i'd still like to experiment with it.

Home refueling is the ONLY way to make it work, but although there seems to be homebrew ways to do CNG conversions of a vehicle or engine a big problem seems to be the home CNG refueling itself... the only one I know of is just called Fuelmaker Phill and costs like $6000 with a waiting time of months (and wasn't even available for a period of a year and a half during some problem I didn't understand, plus others have said it was unreliable, and an unreliable setup with a company that may or may not even be in business in a few years seems iffy), plus another $1000-1500 at least to install it at your home. This is before you even have a CNG vehicle.

When you are already planning on driving something efficient and small, the savings per mile is less, so it takes longer for CNG to pay for itself. It makes more sense on taxis and fleet vehicles, but if refueling could be done cheap enough at home it becomes an option. Also the rate of Fuelmaker Phill may not be enough for some of us with more extensive commuting and after work needs (just under 1/2 gallon gas equivalent per hour, 16hrs to fill a typical honda GX tank from empty, from my calculations I could do my planned college commuting but NOT do my normal work rounds after school and still get back home with either enough time to fuel up completely or possibly even enough fuel to complete them) Therefore the need for a slightly larger (or even smaller, for experimenters wanting to do motorcycles and such) compressor may be relevant. Also a faster rate could take advantage of off peak power rates at night in some areas perhaps paying for itself by that alone. (the Phill uses 800 watts)

There may be legal issues preventing it, but I cant see why compressing natural gas at home should be such an impossibly expensive or dangerous job. I mean we buy propane tanks and hook them up ourself to our grills, right? Besides which i'd just like to experiment with the fuel, maybe on a motorcycle or ATV first before committing to it on a car. If prices go for the sky in a year like I expect i'll then have more experience under my belt before stepping up the need for immediate conversion.

Can anyone recommend some other resources or places that at home fueling (NOT with Fuelmaker Phill but either competitors or homebrew applications) has been discussed or explored? Even with tiny tanks and low pressures a CNG runabout with a short range could have alot of utility, just like electric cars with a range of only 20-50 miles are considered still useful because the cheapness of the energy makes it worthwhile.

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Old 12-22-2011, 08:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Honda also makes a home refueling system for compressed natural gas. I would imagine that it is only compatible with there line of vehicles though. Too bad, because there is a lease program from it.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I remember some headlines earlier this year (this is in Sweden)...
It was about a large explosion in central Gothenburg at a vehicle gas filling station. Two Latvian truckdrivers managed to blow some bodyparts off of themselves by trying to extract gas trough a DIY adapter. This inspite warning signs in every possible language...

So - beware of explosive volatiles under high pressure...
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e85 View Post
Honda also makes a home refueling system for compressed natural gas. I would imagine that it is only compatible with there line of vehicles though.
The connectors are standard AFAIK.
These Hondas need to be able to refuel at any CNG station.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAHA View Post
I remember some headlines earlier this year (this is in Sweden)...
It was about a large explosion in central Gothenburg at a vehicle gas filling station. Two Latvian truckdrivers managed to blow some bodyparts off of themselves by trying to extract gas trough a DIY adapter. This inspite warning signs in every possible language...
I remember that story, those guys had made a CNG pump adapter.. for their LPG car.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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converting the car should be pretty cheap. The biggest expense is the tank. My plan would be to have 2gge of CNG for driving around the vast majority of the time, then switch to to gasoline when going on a trip.

I looked long and hard for a suitable compressor. Only thing I found even sort of close was a compressor to fill scuba tanks.

The compressor is the HARD part. Love to help with teh rest of it if you figure it out.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by stillsearching View Post
There may be legal issues preventing it, but I cant see why compressing natural gas at home should be such an impossibly expensive or dangerous job. I mean we buy propane tanks and hook them up ourself to our grills, right?
It's a matter of pressure. Propane condenses to a liquid at room temperature is ~110 psig (so those tank are actually mostly liquid). CNG is stored at pressures of 2900-3600 psi, and even then it's not liquid. The cost is in having a 3000 psi compressor in your house.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAHA View Post
I remember some headlines earlier this year (this is in Sweden)...
It was about a large explosion in central Gothenburg at a vehicle gas filling station. Two Latvian truckdrivers managed to blow some bodyparts off of themselves by trying to extract gas trough a DIY adapter. This inspite warning signs in every possible language...

So - beware of explosive volatiles under high pressure...
The only time I have been able to find examples of this happening is when people try to put CNG in propane tanks.

You can have low pressure CNG only problem is the big tank provides about 1GGE. I had a post over on dieselplace about using low pressure (around 300 or 350psi) natural gas absorbed in active carbon and using an R22 compressor to fill with.

Looks like dieselplace is not working for the moment, I will post a link later.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Any one using this type of CNG tank set up? - Diesel Place : Chevrolet and GMC Diesel Truck Forums
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a diesel truck. I want to use CNG as a part of fuel. Using 50% CNG 50% diesel I will need about 2 GGE to drive around. I am thinking about a AC compressor boosting pressure from 2psi (my service pressure) to 150-200 psi. Then use a hydraulic cylinder to boost pressure to 1200 Psi. I don't need 3000 Psi. 1200 Psi will give me 2GGE.

Now my options to buy York auto AC compressor and couple it with electric motor (explosion proof) OR 2 ton R22 AC Copeland sitting around....

York is a real beast but Copeland has electric motor and will make no noise...

AC compressor can easily deliver 200 Psi. Also all AC compressors spit oil. This oil will help to lubricate and seal hydraulic cylinder. I will need to add oil separator (high pressure like scuba...)

So this is one of my projects right now......


Last edited by vlad; 11-24-2013 at 05:28 PM..
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