GE, Chart Industries and the University of Missouri are partnering to develop an at-home natural gas refueling station technology that will be affordable and easier to use than solutions available today.
The 28-month, $2.3 million project – which received $1.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week – is aimed at designing a refueling system that chills, densifies and transfers compressed natural gas (CNG) more efficiently than existing compressor technologies can accomplish. It will feature fewer moving parts, operate quietly and be ‘virtually maintenance-free,’ according to GE.
The DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) initiative is targeting a reduction in the cost of at-home refueling stations to $500 per unit, and a decrease in refueling time to less than one hour. The DOE says meeting the goals will help remove the major barriers that are currently stifling a greater adoption of natural gas vehicles.
‘If we can meet our cost targets, the price of a home refueling station would be less than typical appliances in the home, such as a dishwasher or stove,’ says Anna Lis Laursen, project leader and chemical engineer at GE Global Research.
As part of the program, GE researchers will focus on overall system design integration. Chart and the University of Missouri will address the detailed engineering, cost and manufacturability of the key system components.