3M announced it has successfully completed the NGV2-2007 certification process for its first compressed natural gas (CNG) tank. The 21.5 x 60 inch tank is designed for light- and medium-duty pickup trucks and corporate fleet vehicles. 3M’s tank capitalizes on improvements in geometries and proprietary 3M Matrix Resin, featuring nanosilica technology to deliver a solution that is lighter, offers greater capacity, and is more cost effective than similar tanks, according to the company.
“We are enthusiastic about the future of natural gas vehicles and are proud to introduce this tank to help companies take advantage of the benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel,” said Mike Roman, vice president of 3M’s Industrial Adhesive and Tapes Division, home to 3M’s advanced composites business. “With a tank that will help provide more range and more payload capacity at less expense, CNG vehicles are now an even more attractive alternative for fleet and individual retail customers alike.”
The tank will be showcased March 6-8 at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. Initially, tanks will be available through five approved upfitters with whom 3M is collaborating. These companies include OEM Systems of Okarche, Okla.; Venchurs Vehicle Systems of Adrian, Mich.; Alternative Fuel Solutions of Mahaffey, Penn.; AVS of Salt Lake City, Utah; and World CNG of Kent, Wash.
The successful certification follows the 2012 announcement by 3M and Chesapeake Energy Corporation that the two would collaborate in designing, manufacturing and marketing a broad portfolio of CNG tanks for use in all sectors of the United States transportation market. 3M expects to announce certification of other geometries in the coming months. Chesapeake is slated to become one of the first end users of the new 21.5 x 60 inch tank, which it will incorporate in its fleet vehicles. Chesapeake is currently converting its fleet of nearly 5,000 vehicles to run on natural gas.
“The fuel tank has been the most expensive single component on a CNG vehicle, causing a bottleneck for the market,” said Nathan Pumphrey, Chesapeake director – fleet operations. “3M’s tank portfolio will lower the total cost of natural gas vehicle ownership and speed market adoption. We look forward to incorporating these tanks into our fleet vehicles to save money on our conversions; and with CNG available for as little as $0.99 per gasoline gallon equivalent in some markets, we’ll cut our fueling costs, too.”
In line with a broader commitment to CNG, 3M has also begun working with its transportation providers to utilize CNG on trucks carrying 3M products. 3M has already implemented a pilot program with Dart Transit Company on dedicated routes, and anticipates others will follow.