An innovative type of natural gas tank
The relatively low density of energy stored in natural gas – even after compression – enforces car manufacturers to mount big and heavy natural gas tanks in their cars. In addition, their cylindrical shape – resulting from high pressure within a tank and the production technology – significantly limits the options of installing it in places where a tank would not hinder the vehicle’s functionality.
The solution proposed by Chrysler is supposed to eliminate these problems.
The tank design uses a smaller compartment inside a larger fuel tank to increase its storage capacity. This type of tank operates in a way similar to the well-known mechanism of alveoli. This idea will supposedly revolutionize natural gas storage in vehicles. There will be no need to use large and heavy cylindrical bottles any more.
Currently, Chrysler offers one car powered by CNG. It’s Ram 2500 powered by a V-type 8-cylinder Hemiengine with a 5.7 liter displacement. The vehicle’s driving range on natural gas is 255 miles (410 km). An additional petrol tank with a capacity of 35 gallons (132 liters) extends it to 745 miles (almost 1200 km).
A large part of Ram 2500’s cargo space is taken up by CNG tanks. According to Chrysler, this new technology of storing CNG will allow to install tanks in a way that they don’t limit the functionality of the vehicle’s body (cargo space or passenger compartment).
The development of this technology was subsided with 50 thousand dollars by the Michigan Economic Development Council’s Technology Innovation Challenge.
Chrysler Group’s strategic partner is Fiat SpA – a world leader in manufacturing CNG-powered vehicles – which should have a positive effect on further development of this innovative CNG storage technology.
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