Cost efficient and cleaner bi-fuel natural gas vehicles are now being tested by Atlanta Gas Light, a subsidiary of Southern Company Gas. The new technology, developed by Adsorbed Natural Gas Products Inc. (ANGP), consists of activated carbon to reduce the storage pressure without sacrificing the volume of natural gas stored in the fuel tank of large, light-duty vehicles. 

Adsorbed natural gas (ANG) technology poses multiple benefits for future consumers. ANG requires 60% less fueling time compared to compressed natural gas (CNG) and reduces energy consumption by more than 50%. This is due to the storage pressure of ANG being 900 psi as opposed to CNG’s storage pressure of 3600 psi. 

Additionally, the bi-fuel vehicles being tested by Atlanta Gas Light could be refueled with gasoline after emptying a tank of ANG without any further maintenance. 

ANGP also noted that ANG is superior to diesel or gasoline in terms of environmental cleanliness. It added that the technology emits 15-20% fewer greenhouse gases, and 90% less pollutants such as carbon monoxide.

Ian Skelton, director of Southern Company Gas, noted the significance of the transportation sector as the largest greenhouse gas emitter. “80% of smog forming pollutants come from mobile sources,” Skelton said. ANG “can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of fueling natural gas vehicles.”

Bob Bonelli, President of ANGP, expressed the importance of the improved ANG technology as a cost efficient fueling option. The use of activated carbon reduces the compression requirement for natural gas vehicles by 75%, but does not sacrifice the volume of natural gas stored in a fuel tank. 

Atlanta Gas Light plans to purchase vehicles for its fleet with the new ANG storage system and will test their performance compared to standard natural gas vehicles and conventional gasoline vehicles over a demonstration period. Following the evaluation period, the decision will be made on whether to expand the fleet.

Some early applications for ANG were first adopted in California more than three years ago. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) said it wanted to demonstrate that the ANG technology could provide a lower cost fuel option for large, light-duty NGV, such as sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and service vans.

In March, SoCalGas announced plans to fund a $600,000 field demonstration of adsorbed natural gas bi-fuel vehicles, powered by a CNG system developed by ANGP and Ingevity.