Article

Tank Choice Affects Alt-Fuel Efficiency

April 2016, Green Fleet Magazine - WebXclusive

by Chris Wolski - Also by this author

The advantages of propane autogas tanks, include the ability to get them in a number of shapes, including toroidial, which doesn't compromise cargo space. Photo: Worthington Industries
The advantages of propane autogas tanks, include the ability to get them in a number of shapes, including toroidial, which doesn't compromise cargo space. Photo: Worthington Industries

While today’s lower cost of traditional fuels may have shrunk the market for alt-fuel vehicles, they can still make economic sense for light-duty fleets.

One of the often-overlooked aspects to choosing the most efficient alt-fuel system is the choice of fuel tank, according to Chris Hanners, product manager for alternative fuels for Worthington Industries.

Worthington supplies both propane autogas and compressed natural gas (CNG) tanks for light-duty vehicles.

CNG tanks tend to be lighter, but are restricted to a cylindrical shape. Photo: Worthington Industries.
CNG tanks tend to be lighter, but are restricted to a cylindrical shape. Photo: Worthington Industries.

CNG tanks come in two types: Type III, which has an aluminum inner liner, and Type IV, which has a bladder made of plastic. The tanks are then wrapped in carbon fiber. Worthington supplies Type III tanks, which Hanners said has several advantages.

“It has superior fast fill capabilities, 25% more storage capacity because you can fill it 100%, and, thus, better range,” he said. “It also has no filling restrictions.”

One of the added benefits of choosing a Type III tank — no matter the manufacturer — is that the added capacity may mean that a fleet may need fewer tanks to get the same range. This also decreases vehicle weight, increasing fuel efficiency. The cylindrical design of CNG tanks means that light-duty sedan and truck fleets that choose to use CNG may have to accept a loss of cargo capacity. In sedans, the tanks are often mounted in the trunk space, and in light-duty trucks in the bed. Truck fleets can counteract this loss of space by spec'ing a longer bed length, but this could add costs to the vehicle.

If a fleet decides on propane autogas, it will have the option of choosing from a number of shapes, including toroidal, which can fit in the spare tire void in a sedan trunk or under the bed of a light-duty pickup.

“Because the tank can fit in the spare tire space, you still have 100% of your trunk cargo space,” Hanners observed. “On the commercial side, you’ll have 100% of a light-duty truck bed or van cargo space.”

All propane autogas tanks are made of steel, thus add weight to the vehicle. Hanners said that Worthington has solved this issue by using lighter-weight steel, which cuts the weight of the tanks by about 30%.

Comments

  1. 1. Scott Moses, Purchasing [ May 12, 2016 @ 08:49AM ]

    Three years back the City of Bellingham was set up to buy five (5) propane autogas Ford F450 service trucks. These trucks were to have the tanks mounted between the frame by Rousch. They did not get the installation certified and at the last minute wanted to mount a large tank behind the cab and lengthen the wheel base. We cancelled the whole order and may never use auto gas now.

 

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

 

FleetFAQ

Fleet Management And Leasing

Merchants Experts will answer your questions and challenges

View All
 

Grants & Subsidies

Alternative Fueling Station Locator

Alternative Fueling Station Locator

Find your closest station or plan a route. Locate biodiesel, electric, ethanol, hydrogen, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquified natural gas (LNG), and propane across America.

Start Your Search

Blog

Market Trends

Mike Antich
Optimized Truck TCO Starts with the Right Specs

By Mike Antich
Vehicle specifications should be defined by the fleet application and mission requirements. A truism in truck fleet management is to design a truck that will accommodate your operational requirements rather than trying to make your operation conform to the truck. Here's how you do it.

Top Trends, Challenges, & Opportunities in South American Fleet Market

By Mike Antich

Driving Notes

Chris Brown
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

By Chris Brown
The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is the least expensive model on the market to offer electric-only range, while offering spirited driving performance and plenty of standard features.

2018 Range Rover Velar First Edition

By Mike Antich

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Fleet Management 2.0

By Sherb Brown
Data is driving fleet decisions more than ever. Whether it’s big data or small data, fleet management is becoming less of an art every day and more of a science.

Ready or Not, Electrification Is Coming

By Sherb Brown

Fuel for Thought

Joe Thompson
How the VW Settlement Funding Can Benefit Your Fleet

By Joe Thompson
Part of the settlement required VW to establish and fund an Environmental Mitigation Trust. Over the next 10 years, the trust will fund environmental mitigation projects that specifically reduce emissions of NOx.

Listen Up (or Lose)

By Joe Thompson