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PostPosted: January 21, 2018, 9:26 pm 
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This isn't new by any means, but I just saw it for the first time today and thought it was pretty neat. It's a homebuilt car running on natural gas, and the builder drove it from New York to LA. Here's the link the guys website, and I'll try to embed the YouTube video as well. I guess a link will have to do until someone smarter than me gets here.
http://bienvillestudios.com/index.php/magnolia-special/
https://youtu.be/KeRg217H_3A
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PostPosted: January 21, 2018, 9:33 pm 
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Really cool, thanks for sharing.


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PostPosted: January 21, 2018, 9:59 pm 
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I've owned and driven two Propane/gasoline "Dual fuel" powered 4x4's.
Propane has been available for vehicle use for decades but never became popular once the fake oil shortage of the 70's ended.
It works, but with a significant loss of power and mileage.
The engine can be optimized for it, but the rule that power cost mileage remains true.
It also always has a bit of a stink although it is claimed to be virtually pollution free.
In reality propane is probably cleaner than coal powered electrics.

Not certain of the functional difference between propane and and LNG anymore as it's been a long time since I looked them up.
Pretty similar as I recall with one having a slight edge in BTU efficiency.

If you could force me to choose between Propane/LNG or electric I would go for propane, a proven tech with much more range and sustained power than electric will ever have.

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PostPosted: January 21, 2018, 10:51 pm 
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Before Wink Hartman pulled out of IndyCar (to run for Governor I hear?) I talked with him about running Indy Lights on natural gas. Indy Lights was just moving to a new chassis, and it seemed to me to be a natural if one wanted to attract Ford and oil companies as sponsors (Ford was producing some nat gas vehicles).

I think that the biggest drawback is still all those movies where a tank of propane blows up when hit by a bullet. It's public perception.

As for the Indy Lights people, they were wondering they'd even have a next season at the time, and weren't in the mood for anything that risky. OH, and they couldn't figure out how to get natural gas to the race sites. And of course, they wondered if they'd blow up.

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PostPosted: January 22, 2018, 12:23 am 
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It's a pretty cool little car the guy built, and it looks like a lot of time went into the details. Running on natural gas is just a bit of a bonus on that.
I used to work with a guy that had a 2008 F350 with a V10 that was converted to propane for his work truck. He had been converting his work trucks like that since the 70's and said he saved a pile of money over the years. Natural gas would be a bit different though, the pressures required are a lot higher. It depends on temperature, but usually it isn't more than 150 psi. Natural gas remains a gas at several thousand psi and pretty much requires a refrigeration process to turn it to a liquid. I once had a 1977 Thunderbird that would run on compressed natural gas, and the tanks were massively heavy. I never used it on natural gas because I don't think the infrastructure was around anymore in my area.
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PostPosted: January 22, 2018, 2:05 am 
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Up until the early '90s propane was less than half the price of gasoline in my area. Then the Fed passed a "BTU equivalency tax" which made it briefly the same price as premium gasoline, then it became almost twice as expensive, for no reason I ever discovered. In recent years it has come down quite a bit, but it's still more expensive than Diesel, plus the problems getting refills.

Propane conversions were quite popular in Canada and Australia last time I looked (a few years ago) since propane was noticeably cheaper than gasoline. Some of the Aussies were selling kits for EFI cars that metered liquid propane through the stock fuel injectors instead of requiring an evaporator hat.


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PostPosted: January 22, 2018, 12:18 pm 
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I was severely humbled by the attention to detail on that car, truly remarkable. I did think it funny that he wore a suit though, which seemed really out of place for what he built, where he was, and who he was talking to, but whatever. Anyway, I did think he oversold natural gas a bit, skipping over the very high cost of a home compressor. Also, there are rather dire consequences of a leaking natural gas tank because unlike gasoline, liquid natural gas boils off and generates an enormous volume of fumes per volume of liquid, basically becoming an air-fuel bomb, and the fumes can travel a long way looking for an ignition source. Here's an extreme case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLGM_2l0zok

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PostPosted: January 22, 2018, 8:02 pm 
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TRX wrote:
Up until the early '90s propane was less than half the price of gasoline in my area. Then the Fed passed a "BTU equivalency tax" which made it briefly the same price as premium gasoline, then it became almost twice as expensive, for no reason I ever discovered. In recent years it has come down quite a bit, but it's still more expensive than Diesel, plus the problems getting refills.

Propane conversions were quite popular in Canada and Australia last time I looked (a few years ago) since propane was noticeably cheaper than gasoline. Some of the Aussies were selling kits for EFI cars that metered liquid propane through the stock fuel injectors instead of requiring an evaporator hat.

The guy I worked with that had the propane converted V10 had a setup with an extra injector for each cylinder. We didn't talk too much about how it all worked though, I don't think he was real big on the technical details.
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PostPosted: January 22, 2018, 8:39 pm 
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I wonder what it would take to get a bunch of our cars on Jay Leno's Garage?

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PostPosted: January 22, 2018, 10:03 pm 
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I have to add my 2c here.
There is confusion between L.P.G.V. and N.G.V.
Liquified Petroleum Gas Vehicles use propane liquid, regulated down into gas propane to fuel the vehicle engine. Propane is heavier than air. To simplify, the propane tank is like the one in your BBQ or motorhome.

Natural Gas Vehicles use high pressure compressed natural gas,regulated down into low pressure gas (like your natural gas house regulator) to fuel the vehicle engine. Natural gas is lighter than air. The NG cylinder is a seamless spun steel or fiberglass re-enforced spun aluminum capable of holding more than 3000psi, yes that's 3000psi. Reason is that it's a gas, the greater the psi the greater the volume to be used as fuel.

Back in the 80's I converted over 150+ duel fuel trucks and cars of all sizes to N.G.V. for the gas company I worked for. The cylinders at the time were spun steel (90 lbs heavy) and were 4.5 gallons volume capacity and were rated for well over the 3200psi that they were filled to. The rule of thumb back then was whatever miles per gallon the vehicle was getting on wet gas, the vehicle would get on natural gas. A 1/2 ton truck would get 3 - 4.5gal cylinders = 13.5 gallons (3 cylinders would take up half the truck box). If the vehicle got 18 mpg wet gas is would have a range of 13.5 x 18 =243 miles on natural gas. Not a selling point for sure for a pricey investment.

The other downer was for gas stations to invest in N.G. filling compressors that were capable of compessing to 3200psi, not a cheap investment for your return $$. In the city of Edmonton (back in the 80's) that had 500,000+ population and surrounding satilite communities of 300,000+ population there were I believe about 5 filling stations. Not a great selling point.

But I say again there is a difference between L.P.G. and N.G., it's like trying to compare apples to oranges.

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PostPosted: January 22, 2018, 10:27 pm 
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I spent about 15 minutes trying to find the price of a home compressed natural gas fueler. Companies are very vague about that and I found only one place that no longer sells them - $4500 in 2012.

I suspect he was glossing over the details to make it look extra good. (Don't forget the 800-1kw to run the compressor, too)

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