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Propane or CNG as Engine Fuel?


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#1 Jerryt94

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:35 AM

I have found a Ford that is Propane powered.

It has a V10.

I'm interested in Propane/CNG as it is a lot cheeper than gas or diesel, but as usual I'm diving in at the deep end.

Any one out there towing with Propane or CNG?

Also whats the difference? can a Propane truck use CNG?

Thanks

Jerry

Edited by Jerryt94, 02 April 2012 - 11:37 AM.


#2 HamRad

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:41 PM

Jerry,
I'll share my very limited experience regarding propane powered engines. Many years ago I worked on a farm where many of the vehicles were powered by propane. I believe the vehicles had less power than gasoline powered engines. Otherwise the only difference I remember was the refilling process! I'm sure this will not help you very much since I'm sure they have improved upon this process. I have no idea how widespread the supply network is for CNG. There seems to be propane available just about everywhere. It definitely is cheaper than gasoline or diesel. Maybe all of us should be looking for that sort of thing. Good luck. Dennis
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#3 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:37 PM

See similar post here: http://www.rvnetwork...=0

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#4 mrfrank

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:18 AM

I have found a Ford that is Propane powered.

It has a V10.

I'm interested in Propane/CNG as it is a lot cheeper than gas or diesel, but as usual I'm diving in at the deep end.

Any one out there towing with Propane or CNG?

Also whats the difference? can a Propane truck use CNG?

Thanks

Jerry

I think that you'll find that if Road Tax is added to propane or CNG, the cost benefit gets much smaller. You may have an issue finding a place to fill a vehicle. The main benefit to propane and CNG as a motorfuel is that they are clean burning.

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#5 j2catfish

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:34 AM

Back in the 80's, I converted my Oldsmobile 350 to propane. Actually it was a dual fuel rig as I could also run it on gasoline. I ran on propane until it ran out then switched over to gasoline till I could get more propane. It worked fine, but as stated elsewhere, the road use tax that is added to the cost of the propane made the cost differential much less. I also got less mileage out of the propane. The cost of the conversion ran about $1,000.00, and it wasn't that hard to do. I still have the propane carb, but got rid of the propane tank. If interested in the way I did it, drop me a PM.
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#6 Jerryt94

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:59 PM

Thanks to all for help.

I'm going to pass on this truck.

I do think that down the road CNG or Propane could be a big part of our fuel/energy usage, but right now its still in its beginnings.

If any one is interested in the truck here is the link.

http://inlandempire....2922303830.html

Sellers seem very nice.

Jerry

#7 RV

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:18 PM

Propane has more energy per cubic foot of gas than Natural gas. For example I have a Guardian whole house automatic switchover generator from Generac. It is a gas unit that can run either NG or Propane. With NG it is a 12.5 KW genset. With Propane it is a 15k genset. It is interesting that this comes up today as i just read an article about the two major alterantives to gas and diesel for our future transportation needs both passenger and commercial trucks and buses. Natural gas, or electric powered vehicles.

Excerpt:
"Oregon opened the first stretch of the West Coast "Electric Highway" last week, and the new chargers allow for fast charging along Interstate 5. The chargers can take an all-electric Nissan Leaf from 20% charged to 80% charged in less than half an hour, enough time to grab a quick bite to eat on the road. When complete, the highway will run all along the West Coast, allowing EV drivers to charge up about every 25 miles.

One of the challenges of getting fuel to fueling stations is the infrastructure necessary to transport fuel. But both natural gas and electricity have advantages over oil in this factor. Electricity runs to probably every major building in the country, so anywhere a fueling station is needed, electricity is available. Natural gas lines also run all over the country, through neighborhoods and industrial parks alike, so a majority of locations where you may want to build a station would be easily accessible.
Electricity may be a little easier to hook up in some locations, but it isn't as if natural gas is going to have to build a new infrastructure to keep up. Slight advantage to the electric-vehicle highway on this one."
http://www.fool.com/...le-highway.aspx

The article from today's Motley Fool goes on to compare the pros and cons of each in their comparison and end up with Natural gas being the winner. I totally disagree, as I think the blistering performance that the Tesla EVs demonstrate will win out. After their Model S debuts in a few months, and the Model X SUV for next year, they believe the economies of scale will have the prices down to the $20-30k consumer market price points for their everyman EV.

Edited by RV, 03 April 2012 - 03:24 PM.

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#8 blizzardND

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:48 PM

Propane has more energy per cubic foot of gas than Natural gas. For example I have a Guardian whole house automatic switchover generator from Generac. It is a gas unit that can run either NG or Propane. With NG it is a 12.5 KW genset. With Propane it is a 15k genset. It is interesting that this comes up today as i just read an article about the two major alterantives to gas and diesel for our future transportation needs both passenger and commercial trucks and buses. Natural gas, or electric powered vehicles.

Excerpt:
"Oregon opened the first stretch of the West Coast "Electric Highway" last week, and the new chargers allow for fast charging along Interstate 5. The chargers can take an all-electric Nissan Leaf from 20% charged to 80% charged in less than half an hour, enough time to grab a quick bite to eat on the road. When complete, the highway will run all along the West Coast, allowing EV drivers to charge up about every 25 miles.

One of the challenges of getting fuel to fueling stations is the infrastructure necessary to transport fuel. But both natural gas and electricity have advantages over oil in this factor. Electricity runs to probably every major building in the country, so anywhere a fueling station is needed, electricity is available. Natural gas lines also run all over the country, through neighborhoods and industrial parks alike, so a majority of locations where you may want to build a station would be easily accessible.
Electricity may be a little easier to hook up in some locations, but it isn't as if natural gas is going to have to build a new infrastructure to keep up. Slight advantage to the electric-vehicle highway on this one."
http://www.fool.com/...le-highway.aspx

The article from today's Motley Fool goes on to compare the pros and cons of each in their comparison and end up with Natural gas being the winner. I totally disagree, as I think the blistering performance that the Tesla EVs demonstrate will win out. After their Model S debuts in a few months, and the Model X SUV for next year, they believe the economies of scale will have the prices down to the $20-30k consumer market price points for their everyman EV.



I'd lean CNG over Electric. CNG tanks and a quick retrofit, will allow a much quicker fleet change over. If I ran the world I'd say no road tax on CNG vehicles until 2020. The truck fleets would switch over faster than they could supply the tanks and reto kits. Also the Tesla uses a bunch of rare earth materials for the battery construction. To make millions for the road, even as economies of scale bring costs down, the price of the rare earth lithium will go up. Meanwhile Nat Gas fields seem to be found and exploited every week.
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#9 Don Coyote

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:57 AM

From what I have heard charging an electric car at a fast rate currently has some major drawbacks. Even charging on a fast charge relies on having 1/2 an hour to sit around and wait. I'm pretty certain that on paper people may look at that and try to plan accordingly but a society that is always on the go and demanding quicker and quicker speeds from everything is unlikely to be satisfied with the current (no pun intended) charge times.

Also, most of the battery manufacturers that supply cells for electric cars warn that fast charging compared to deep slow charging will drastically effect the life of the batteries. There are estimates that a battery cell that is routinely fast charged may only last 5 years. At todays prices of $7,000 for a new cell that is hardly cost effective.

CNG is by far the more proven and older technology but one has to imagine that there will be huge leaps in battery technology like any new endeavor.


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#10 BrianT

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:51 AM

Have you ever waited in line just to get to a gas or diesel pump? I have. At times, that wait has been even longer than a half hour. There have been people ahead of me in line or maybe there was only one pump open that had what I wanted. Whatever the reason, a gas pump is not always immediately available.

Looking towards an electric charging station, I can see the same thing happening. If the line is 3 cars deep waiting their turn for the charger, you could easily be over an hour, perhaps closer to an hour and a half until you're recharged and on your way.

It's a legitimate concern.

Brian

#11 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:34 AM

A much better idea than fast chargers would be an exchangeable battery pack that you just rent. Pull into the service station, they pull the low battery and stick in a charged one. The low one gets recharged at a safe rate, possibly waiting for cheap power rates overnight. That would also make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers as the risk of the expensive battery pack failing would be on the rental company where the risk could be shared by all.

Designing a removable power pack system is a real challenge, might want a couple sizes and the ability to use more than one pack at a time to deal with various sizes of vehicle and needed ranges. Multiple sizes do add to the cost of the whole system but might prove to be a good idea.

Designing a car to use the removable packs is another challenge, easy out, easy in access gives you some significant layout issues.

Still a well done battery exchange system could get you in and out of the service station faster than pumping 20 gallons of gas.

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#12 BrianT

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:48 AM

I like the idea of an exchangable battery pack. It would also make it a lot easier for people who are inclined to set up their own personal recharging system from, say, a large solar array. If an owner's personal array could recharge a battery pack over the course of one full day of sunlight, it could work very well to exchange battery packs every day or every other day, (or whatever time period works for the miles driven / charge used). After all, most cars are away from home during those daylight charging hours.

Just a thought.

Brian

#13 Rif

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:59 AM

Another interesting concept is the Chevy Volt. You can go about 35 miles on a full electric charge, and then the engine automatically starts and runs a generator to power the electric motors. Overnight charging on a 120V circuit will get you to a full charge, but the generator/engine concept make the vehicle much more practical. My brother bought one recently and is getting about 40 MPG on the gas engine alone. That's not as good as a Prius or some other high mileage cars, but the vast majority of his driving is in electric mode. The electric fuel works out to about 1/4 the cost of gasoline.

Of course, this is not practical for most RV'ers, but it seems to offer some promise for regular city dwellers, giving them an electric car for running around town yet a fuel efficient vehicle for those times they want to travel longer distances.

I realize there is a lot more to the overall cost of ownership than just the electricity to recharge the batteries. Things like battery replacement and tax dollars being used for development, etc., but all in all I think it is an interesting concept that offers some potential benefit. Time will tell.
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#14 JoeNLynn

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:19 PM

My wife and I are going to travel across the US using No Gasoline and Only CNG.

You can check out our idea on our blog.

Joe & Lynn.
http://old-moho.blogspot.com/

#15 moisheh

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:39 AM

Propane conversions using the common technology that is available today is a bad idea. BUT I have been reading about a few companies that are developing ( And maybe one is available very soon) propane systems for diesel engines. Highly sophisticated technology. I will try to find the link. Many bus fleets are using CNG but they have their own filling stations. Great ideas but not quite ready for "prime time".



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Moisheh

Edited by moisheh, 22 April 2012 - 05:54 AM.