The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) said Tuesday it will work with University of Texas at Austin's (UT) Center for Electromechanics to help remove technical barriers on commercially viable home fueling equipment for natural gas vehicles (NGVs).

The partners plan to make it "easier and more affordable" for consumers to own NGVs, GTI said in announcing a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a cost-effective home compressor to provide compressed natural gas.

In granting the funds for GTI and UT, DOE indicated that it expects aggressive performance and cost targets to be met. Current home fueling systems cost about $4,000. The new technology GTI and UT are pursuing would seek to create a $500 compressor, and an overall refueling appliance cost at at cost of less than $2,000.

The DOE through its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy is funding the program with its grant. "The GTI team will develop a compressor that will use fewer moving parts, leading to a more reliable, lighter and cost-effective piece of equipment," a GTI spokesperson said.

The "goal is to replace current technology, which comprises multiple pistons and cylinders, with a simple cylinder and piston moving through a linear motor." A lack of accessibility in fueling and distance "are preventing more widespread adoption of this transportation technology."

Earlier this year an NGV home fueling system was begun by General Electric Corp., Chart Industries and researchers at the University of Missouri (see Daily GPI, July 20).

GTI Research Director Tony Lindsay, who oversees the project, said project researchers intend to work with the federal Argonne National Laboratory to identify and apply a cost-effective surface coating for the inside of the cylinder.

"With [Argonne's] help, we look to identify a coating system that will extend the longevity of our one moving part -- the component most susceptible to wear and maintenance," Lindsay said.

In addition to the UT project, researchers from GTI have "played a key role in development and deployment of NGV fueling stations and managing new technology demonstrations, and [they] have helped develop vehicle refueling and dispensing systems for commercial use," Lindsay said.

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