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Home > TECHNOLOGIES > Transportation > Natural Gas
What is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane. It is found in oil fields and natural gas fields, as well as in coal beds (in smaller quantities). The primary component of natural gas is methane (CH4), the shortest and lightest hydrocarbon molecule. It may also contain heavier gaseous hydrocarbons such as ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10), as well as other sulphur containing gases.
Natural gas as a transportation fuel.
CNG vehicles use natural gas stored in cylinders at pressures of 2,000 pounds to 3,500 pounds per square inch. Compressed natural gas is used in light-duty passenger vehicles and pickup trucks, medium-duty delivery trucks, and in-transit and school buses. Dedicated CNG vehicles are designed to run only on CNG and bi-fuel CNG vehicles have two separate fueling systems that enable the vehicle to use either CNG or gasoline.
LNG is natural gas turned into liquid for easy storage or transport by
extreme cooling to minus 263.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The requirements of
keeping the liquid very cold, along with its volatility, make liquid
hydrogen’s applications more limited for transportation purposes. LNG is
typically used in heavy-duty applications such as transit buses,
heavy-duty long-haul trucks or locomotives.
What are the differences/advantages of natural gas
Using natural gas as a transportation fuel also reduces our reliance on energy imports. Approximately 85 percent of the natural gas Americans use is produced domestically, and around 13 percent comes from Canada. This means that 98 percent of our natural gas supply comes from North America. This is a stark contrast to our petroleum supply, where over 60 percent is imported.
What are environmental characteristics of natural gas
NGVs also emit virtually no particulate matter emissions, a pollutant that has increasingly come under scrutiny from health and air quality officials.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System began acquiring compressed natural gas buses in 1996, and now has more than 140 of these buses in service.
Where are the natural gas fueling stations?
California has more than 140 public fueling sites and an additional 200 private fleet fueling sites. Here is the California Natural Gas Fueling Station Directory (PDF) from the California NGV Coalition.
In San Diego County, there is a network of 17 private and public natural gas-fueling stations, and four new public refueling stations are planned. Click here for a list of the compressed natural gas fueling stations in the San Diego region.
|California Center for Sustainable Energy|