ST. PAUL, MN & OKLAHOMA CITY – 3M and Chesapeake Energy Corporation are working together to develop new compressed natural gas (CNG) tanks designed to help reduce costs while increasing performance and enable greater market adoption of CNG as an alternative automotive fuel source.
The companies announced the agreement Feb. 21 to collaborate in designing, manufacturing, and marketing a broad portfolio of CNG tanks for use in all sectors of the United States transportation market.
3M’s CNG tank solution combines the company’s proprietary liner advancements, thermoplastic materials, barrier films and coatings, and damage-resistant films. Using nanoparticle-enhanced resin technology, 3M Matrix Resin for Pressure Vessels, 3M will create CNG tanks that are 10 to 20 percent lighter with 10 to 20 percent greater capacity, all at a lower cost than standard vessels, according to the manufacturer.
Chesapeake has pledged an initial $10 million toward design and certification services, market development support, and a commitment to use the new tanks for its corporate fleet conversion to CNG. The company’s investment will be provided by Chesapeake NG Ventures Corporation (CNGV), established in 2011 to identify and invest in companies and technologies that will replace the use of gasoline and diesel derived primarily from foreign oil. CNGV has committed $1 billion over the next 10 years to help fund various initiatives to increase demand for natural gas, including investments totaling $300 million in Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and privately-held Sundrop Fuels, Inc.
3M has engaged Hypercomp Engineering, Inc. of Utah for the design and certification of tanks. 3M will manufacture the tanks and focus its capital on all future operations and production. The company expects the tanks to be available for sale during the fourth quarter of 2012.