Natural Gas Vehicle Technology Forum Technical Committee Meeting - Summary of Panel Discussions: Engine and Vehicle Integration Panel Discussion
January 28-29, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Following is a summary of the engine and vehicle integration panel discussion from the Natural Gas Vehicle Technology Forum (NGVTF) January 2003 Technical Committee Meeting.
Panel: Patric Ouellette, Westport Innovations; Alex Lawson, TeleflexGFI Control Systems; Joe Kubsh, Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA); Rich Williams, Ford; Vinod Duggal, Cummins. Moderated by Kevin Walkowicz, NREL.
Major issues discussed include:
- Feasibility of fuel cell vehicles
- Clean diesel vs. natural gas
- Feasibility of NGVs achieving PZEV classification
- Hydrogen combustion
- Hydrogen sources
- Home refueling
- The barrier of customer demand
- The role of natural gas after 2007
- Importance of the CLEAR Act
- Importance of alternative fuel outreach and education
- Hydrogen vs. CNG
Fuel cell vehicles are a good thing. Home fueling now may be for fuel cell vehicles later on. Fuel cell vehicles are doable, but there are many obstacles.
There are applications for 2007 with NOx adsorbers and SCR with DPFs [diesel particulate filters]. There probably are duty cycles where systems won't work as well on diesel as with natural gas. An example is mining equipment. There are applications that might require active regeneration, where natural gas might be good.
Low sulfur diesel is not as available, particularly in developing countries, so maybe there is a market there.
There are probably some third-world cases where introduction of low sulfur diesel will take time, but it's not that big a deal. China wants to move now.
People aren't focusing on CNG for emissions technologies; they're focusing on diesel. Until you do the work you can't quantify things.
Stoichiometric natural gas vehicles could approach PZEV [partial zero emission vehicle] classification, given aftertreatment devices. There isn't a PZEV standard. It would help the California market. They've asked CARB to do this for medium-duty vehicles. What it takes is a few more to go to CARB. Technology can meet PZEV.
Regarding aftertreatment for hydrogen combustion: BMW has been showing hydrogen combustion. There are emissions issues. You are still forming NOx. There is no reductant. You have to resort to SCR. There are programs looking at it, in the early stages.
There is a huge argument about the source of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles. The marketplace will sort it out. The argument for natural gas is that it can be a feed fuel for fuel cells or hydrogen combustion.
The APBF-DEC program, $30 million is being put into this aimed at looking at fuels issues on advanced diesel technology, spanning vehicle types. There can be an effort to form a consortium for CNG technologies.
Regarding FuelMaker's Phill home fueling device: There is a potential market for passenger NGVs. OEMs will look at Phill closer. Any OEMs, if there's potential market and it's within the economy, will try it.
Are there any upcoming concepts like homogeneous charge compression ignition that will sell better?
HCCI is a great concept but difficult. We're looking where to put resources for 2007 emission standards. We must make integration decisions by 2004. There's not a tremendous change in technology until past 2010, a longer term strategy.
If you had to name one barrier that needs to be removed to sell products what is it, and what is the market that you need?
The barrier is customer demand. The biggest issue is total system cost (infrastructure). The hurdles haven't changed in 12 years.
Will it be different after 2010?
2007-2010 will be a watershed. If emissions are the same with diesel and natural gas, why natural gas? If you go to fuel cells, why natural gas? Natural gas is a transition fuel, serves a niche, that's why we work in NGVs and generators, in markets outside U.S. More natural gas engines are sold in India because their courts mandated them.
The biggest challenge is not technology, it is how to make it cost effective. The CLEAR Act could do that. Argentina has the most NGVs in the world because natural gas is cheap, the customer sees a benefit, and it doesn't cost more.
In the future the value of NGVs must be greenhouse gas reduction or energy policy.
Why don't manufacturers educate the public on alternative fuel vehicles? Why don't they take a leadership role in education? Why aren't auto and truck manufacturers educating?
Ford has made a tremendous education effort, but dealers rather sell gasoline than alt fuels. Despite what we've done the message hasn't gotten through.
People talk about hydrogen. Nobody talks about CNG, what's there to talk about? It's a difficult message to get across.
NGVC would love to do more PR and outreach. We have almost no money for that. We need a strong continuing program. A very limited number of people will pay money to be green.
California NGV Coalition got approval to change scope and mission. We've initiated a media campaign with major newspapers. We're coming up with information packages, working on legislative package for the state legislature.
You might talk to NGVC.