US DOE to support $11 million in advanced natural gas engine research

The US Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), California Energy Commission, and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) have teamed up to launch new research focused on medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engines and vehicles.

   Through a new request for proposals (RHQ-8-82305), NREL will award up to $11 million for projects in three categories: (1) reducing the cost natural gas vehicles; (2) increasing vehicle efficiency; and (3) advancing new innovative medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engine designs.

   The RFP is looking for technologies that lower initial vehicle costs as well as TCO over a two-year period. Technologies may provide engine operation that will reduce costs or improve efficiency, as well as technologies that address costs for storage, fuel or emissions control, or other natural gas vehicle systems that contribute to higher costs, compared with conventional vehicles.

   Current natural gas vehicles can have an initial cost premium of between 15%-50% over conventional technology. Proposals should demonstrate methodology proposed to meet the objective to bring the cost differential between conventional technologies and NGV’s in the same vehicle class down to between 5%-25%.

   For proposals that do not demonstrate an initial cost reduction, proposals should compare the two-year total cost of ownership for the CNG technology compared with conventional vehicles of the same vehicle class and duty cycle, showing lower costs for the NG product. Successful projects will demonstrate the use of innovative engine, vehicle, drive-train, on- board storage, fueling systems or other technologies that can lead to the reduction in the TCO to meet the overall objective.