SAN DIEGO -- Trillium CNG announced a new compressor that has the potential to double the refueling rate for vehicles powered by compressed natural gas. This could allow more vehicles to fuel at one time and offer opportunities for future advances in CNG technology, according to the company.
At the American Trucking Associations' Management Conference and Exhibition Sunday, company officials highlighted its new 7-inch Hydraulic Intensifier Compressor, or HY-C.
It builds on the technology refined over the past 15 years in Trillium's 5-inch HY-C, which is being used at 37 of its existing heavy-duty public access CNG stations at fueling rates of 10 gasoline gallon equivalents per minute. The new 7-inch version can achieve double that, theoretically allowing a vehicle to fuel in half the time.
However, officials noted, most on-vehicle fuel storage systems don't currently have the ability to handle that high a rate. So in the near term, the benefit will be to allow filling stations to handle multiple dispensers and multiple lanes.
Trillium is betting on CNG over LNG, pointing out that in the transit world, LNG initially was the natural gas fuel of choice but that it has migrated to CNG. Company officials see the same thing happening in the trucking industry. Onboard fuel storage is becoming more efficient, allowing longer range, and build-out of public access fueling infrastructure is continuing.
"If history teaches us a lesson, we've seen a migration from LNG in transit to current technology being CNG as a preferred choice," explained Trillium President Mary Boettcher. "Similarly we've seen the trucking industry starting to follow the same suit. We believe there always will be a place for LNG and CNG, but CNG seems to be the preferred choice today."
According to Ted Calvin, vice president of manufacturing and supply chain, this year market expects to see 11,000 to 12,000 CNG engines to be deployed in Class 6 through 8 vehicles, including transit.
Trillium continues to build out its network of public-access fueling sites. There are currently 49, about 75% capable of fueling Class 8 trucks. Trillium has added 14 stations in the past 19 weeks to its public network, and is on track to hit 100 early in 2015.
"At Trillium we not only see the future, but we're developing the technology to take this industry into the future," Boettcher said. The company expects this new technology to pave the way for broader CNG innovation.