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At-home natural gas refueling?

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Source: NACS Online | Posted / Last update: 16-11-2012

Plans are underway to develop a $500 appliance that refuels natural gas-powered vehicles at home. Refueling a natural-gas powered vehicle may soon become a lot more convenient, with a newspaper reporting Chesapeake Energy Corp. is working with General Electric Co. and Whirlpool Corp. to develop a $500 appliance that refuels natural gas-powered vehicles at home

The effort is the first attempt at overcoming what until now has been considered an inconvenience for owners of natural gas-powered cars - finding a refueling station.

About 112,000 natural gas-powered vehicles are now on U.S. roads, the majority trucks and other vehicles that drive a repetitive route with access to refueling stations. Carmakers have been reluctant to offer natural gas-powered models in part because of the scarcity of refueling stations. Roughly 540 stations are open to the public, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The appliance under development by Chesapeake et al would fit in a home garage, hook into a natural gas line and dispense compressed gas directly into vehicles, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon said. Chesapeake said once refueling can be achieved at home, the major automakers will increase production of CNG vehicles. “When GM and Toyota see that, you’ll see the cars flying out,” McClendon said.

A $500 appliance that allows vehicle owners to refuel their CNG cars at home “is just smart thinking,” said GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel. “Providing a refueling infrastructure is exactly the kind of thing that needs to happen to expand the use of alternative fuels,” she added.

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