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Old 04-05-2012, 04:12 PM   #1
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Natural Gas Motor Homes

I was talking to a friend today who lives out in Las Vegas and we got into a discussion about the RV industry, especially in consideration of gas prices and where they are headed. He said he saw articles on CNBC and Fox Business about trucking companies switching over to natural gas powered trucks, especially Fed EX. and UPS in place of diesel. He also mentioned he thinks this will be a natural progression into the RV industry, in particular the diesel pushers becoming obsolete soon as the diesel engines are switched over to natural gas fueled vehicles. In Western New York state some bus companies already have natural gas fueled buses and New York State does have some vehicles in their fleet fueled the same. Has anyone read, seen or heard anything pertaining to the RV industry going in this direction? With the DW and I shopping for either new or a newer class A, my Las Vegas friend thinks if we make a move now our depreciation will be that much more in a few short years as the truck industry (basis of class A's) moves toward natural gas.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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It's a very interesting idea, but without a widespread infrastructure to deliver the gas throughout the country it is still many years away - sadly. It's the same with electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars. Infrastructure needs to be revamped. We as consumers also need to embrace it AND make it clear to our various politicians that it's time to revamp our fuel sources in this country.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:54 PM   #3
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After commerial trucks and buses, RVs would be a logical candidate for LNG. However, I think this is going to be more than 2-3 years out. I believe a lot more testing and evaluation needs to be done before an RV company will jump on the bandwagon.

They also won't do this until there are plenty of LNG stations across north america so the average RVer isn't worried about getting fuel.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:04 PM   #4
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In city it can work fairly well for delivery trucks, taxis, and buses. Over the road the propane and natural gas tankers are still being fired with diesel. To move loads like that it would take a engine twice the size they are now and twice as heavy. A friend of mine sells very large commercial generators and we have talked this in length. Propane or NG just won't create the same horse power and torque as diesel. This is not new technology, forklifts have been powered by propane for forty years or more. I would not hold my breath waiting on a NG fired MH. JMO
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:13 PM   #5
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I think your friend got some of it right but missed crucial points that make nat gas for RV's unusable for many years. The examples cited are truck fleets that, like buses, return to a home base every day. That makes it feasible to build a refueling facility to service those vehicles. There are some fixed-route long haul trucks being converted, too, but the key to that application is also refueling facilities. Navistar and FlyingJ have recently signed an agreement: Navistar International Corporation - Navistar Advances Commitment to Natural Gas Through Partnership With Clean Energy that will accelerate refueling station construction at some FJ truckstops to serve specific fleets and routes, but it will take years, if not decades before the infrastructure to supply nat gas at anything like diesel and gasoline today, exists.

My $.02

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Old 04-05-2012, 08:37 PM   #6
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Another problem with natural gas powered vehicles is the amount of time it takes to refuel. Natural gas comes from the "pipe" low pressure and must be compressed a lot in order to fill the tank much like a propane tank only the pressure is much higher. The local delivery vehicles take overnight to refill their tanks. Not gonna fly with your motorhome.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
Another problem with natural gas powered vehicles is the amount of time it takes to refuel. Natural gas comes from the "pipe" low pressure and must be compressed a lot in order to fill the tank much like a propane tank only the pressure is much higher. The local delivery vehicles take overnight to refill their tanks. Not gonna fly with your motorhome.
Our local school buses and trash trucks use CNG. This does not take overnight to fill. Slightly longer than diesel. The trick to RV's will be where and how to mount the much bigger tanks. All big cities have CNG fueling stations.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:53 PM   #8
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Natural Gas for commercial /RV

Check out omnitek. They make a full conversion and soon most of the containier trucking industries will be required to go to natural gas.
www.omnitekcorp.com
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
Another problem with natural gas powered vehicles is the amount of time it takes to refuel. Natural gas comes from the "pipe" low pressure and must be compressed a lot in order to fill the tank much like a propane tank only the pressure is much higher. The local delivery vehicles take overnight to refill their tanks. Not gonna fly with your motorhome.
Sorry to say you are incorrect with that statement.
While it is true that a slow fill routine is available with a unit that fills
overnight(typical 7 lbs line pressure then compressed), a fast fill is possible from cascade filling units or even larger yet fueling facilities, it is all about prior storage of fuel.
The cascade unit at the automotive college I work at is a unit that was a demo for the airport (PDX) then passed to us.
It has six large cylinders that are paired together for three individual fill units.
The "overnight" fuel station you refer to fills these units for a fuel load that will fill a few tanks.
How it works is like filling a balloon in effect with three puffs.
Imagine one balloon that is full and joined to one that is empty...
They will equalize in pressure, then paired to the next full balloon the one being filled will equalize to a greater level of pressure.
Finally when the third full balloon is paired to the one being filled it will bring the level to NEAR where an overnight fueling routine would top off at.
However this is done in minutes much like a gasoline fueling routine would be.
The larger yet unit I referred to is just a much larger capacity tank that do it all without having to use "steps" like the cascade type.

The first alternative fuel we taught was CNG and I have built a number of running training aids and converted several vehicles to use CNG in our school fleet of vehicles. The local natural gas company was not very interested in building the needed infrastructure to support other than private commercial fueling so CNG did not become a consumer level fuel here. Elsewhere such as Utah, Nevada and parts of Arizona there are CNG fueling stations along some of the major highways.

Recently we had a meeting with a major regional Propane dealer looking to
remake inroads for commercial fueling for fleets like back in the 80's.

Our current ALT fuel vehicles are naturally the Hybrids, the darlings of the moment.
There are a few dark side issues with them as with all things.

I recently built a Prius for use as a "classroom" teaching platform, splaying
all the toys out for looky peeky and measure this that stuff.
It was quite fun to do and has been well received by those who know
what and how to teach the technology.
I have been building these types of "toys" for near 20 years.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quadnkev View Post
Sorry to say you are incorrect with that statement.
While it is true that a slow fill routine is available with a unit that fills
overnight(typical 7 lbs line pressure then compressed), a fast fill is possible from cascade filling units or even larger yet fueling facilities, it is all about prior storage of fuel.
The cascade unit at the automotive college I work at is a unit that was a demo for the airport (PDX) then passed to us.
It has six large cylinders that are paired together for three individual fill units.
The "overnight" fuel station you refer to fills these units for a fuel load that will fill a few tanks.
How it works is like filling a balloon in effect with three puffs.
Imagine one balloon that is full and joined to one that is empty...
They will equalize in pressure, then paired to the next full balloon the one being filled will equalize to a greater level of pressure.
Finally when the third full balloon is paired to the one being filled it will bring the level to NEAR where an overnight fueling routine would top off at.
However this is done in minutes much like a gasoline fueling routine would be.
The larger yet unit I referred to is just a much larger capacity tank that do it all without having to use "steps" like the cascade type.

The first alternative fuel we taught was CNG and I have built a number of running training aids and converted several vehicles to use CNG in our school fleet of vehicles. The local natural gas company was not very interested in building the needed infrastructure to support other than private commercial fueling so CNG did not become a consumer level fuel here. Elsewhere such as Utah, Nevada and parts of Arizona there are CNG fueling stations along some of the major highways.

Recently we had a meeting with a major regional Propane dealer looking to
remake inroads for commercial fueling for fleets like back in the 80's.

Our current ALT fuel vehicles are naturally the Hybrids, the darlings of the moment.
There are a few dark side issues with them as with all things.

I recently built a Prius for use as a "classroom" teaching platform, splaying
all the toys out for looky peeky and measure this that stuff.
It was quite fun to do and has been well received by those who know
what and how to teach the technology.
I have been building these types of "toys" for near 20 years.
Part of the big deal with natural gas vehicles is the hype of being able to fill them at home. Most people will not have the $$ to install the fancy stuff to fill in a hurry.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:27 AM   #11
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Remember "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". If, or when, LPG becomes available as a popular automotive fuel, there will be a way to collect state and federal road taxes on this use. I wonder how this is done for current users?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
Part of the big deal with natural gas vehicles is the hype of being able to fill them at home. Most people will not have the $$ to install the fancy stuff to fill in a hurry.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:14 AM   #12
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If my memory is correct, back in the late 70's, or our famous Jimmy Carter years of oil shortages falsely caused by OPEC to drive up prices, Brazil took action to become independent from the whims of OPEC. They converted their entire country from gas powered vehicles to CNG. Today, Brazil is 100% free of the pull and take of the oil industry because of actions their government took when the situation called for strong action from it. Not to say they don't have their share of other problems, like money!
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincee View Post
If my memory is correct, back in the late 70's, or our famous Jimmy Carter years of oil shortages falsely caused by OPEC to drive up prices, Brazil took action to become independent from the whims of OPEC. They converted their entire country from gas powered vehicles to CNG. Today, Brazil is 100% free of the pull and take of the oil industry because of actions their government took when the situation called for strong action from it. Not to say they don't have their share of other problems, like money!
I seem to remember it was not CNG but Alcohol based fuel.

Remember "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". If, or when, LPG becomes available as a popular automotive fuel, there will be a way to collect state and federal road taxes on this use. I wonder how this is done for current users?

In Oregon they get a pass on road taxes and fuel at the rate they pay for heating their homes... quite unfair.


Part of the big deal with natural gas vehicles is the hype of being able to fill them at home. Most people will not have the $$ to install the fancy stuff to fill in a hurry.

An instructor at the college does have one of these units and uses it with his bi-fuel GMC truck. At the time the compressor unit was 2K now it is likely 4K but with the above conversations that would be made back quickly. He cannot go long distance on CNG but for the around town stuff it is fine. Not paying road taxes and buying at the homeowner rate for fuel is a huge discount on the price of fuel.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:13 AM   #14
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With the DW and I shopping for either new or a newer class A, my Las Vegas friend thinks if we make a move now our depreciation will be that much more in a few short years as the truck industry (basis of class A's) moves toward natural gas.
Vincee, Both Freightliner and Navistar have announced in Press Releases that they are going to be manufacturing trucks that are powered by LNG.

Some of the natural gas powered engines are: MaxxForce 10, 11 or 13 diesels and Cummins ISL-G natural gas engine.

Will this fuel replace diesel engines in the near term; I don't expect that it will. The trucking industry is producing LNG engines for specialty trucks; cement mixers, air port refueling, delivery & other short distance vocations.

Diesel engines today are burning very clean achieving .2% NOx. These are very low emissions and it is not expected that the Feds are going to push the number any lower. For over the road vocations, diesel powered trucks will be king of the road for the next decade or more.

Now if you research this subject on this site, you will see that one of the first things that motorhome owners in England do to their RVs is, LNG conversion ... which leads me back to paragraph #3 .... Short Distances.
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