Eaton Developing Affordable Home Refueling Station for Natural Gas Vehicles
Eaton Corp. announced plans to develop an affordable natural gas home refueling station that it hopes will help spread the adoption of natural gas vehicles in the United States and around the world.
The effort is funded in part by a $3.4 million grant from the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E).
The development project will be led by Eaton's Innovation Center teams in Southfield, Mich., and Milwaukee and the Advanced Hydraulics group in Eden Prairie, Minn. Teams will draw on Eaton's expertise in hydraulic component and systems design and experience gained through development and installation of thousands of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in public and residential spaces across the country.
Eaton will collaborate with the University of Minnesota on thermodynamic analysis and modeling to enable the efficient transfer of heat in the compression process. The refueling system will use liquid, which acts as a piston, to compress natural gas. Innovative heat exchanger technology will improve efficiency and cut cost dramatically.
Current natural gas refueling systems cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Eaton expects that its prototype will be available before the end of 2015 with a target production price of $500.
Earlier this week, GE said it is also working an affordable home fueling station for natural gas vehicles, enticing car owners to switch to a fuel that has become cheap because of shale drilling.
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