The environmental benefits of switching from liquid to natural gas fuelling for road vehicles are now well recognised; prospects of realising these benefits are increasing through national Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) programmes. To maximise their environmental benefit and hence improve the quality of life in Europe there is a need to facilitate and accelerate the growth of NGV usage throughout the Community in a trans national approach. Three main issues need to be resolved: the space and weight intrusion of the cylinders required for high pressure on board storage; the high costs of refuelling the present range of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles; and the need to operate with natural gases distributed throughout Europe.
The LEVINGS proposal seeks to address these issues by development and demonstration of an NGV with integrated low pressure storage of natural gas, and by development of refill options that permit both refuelling at lower cost and with gases as distributed through European natural gas grids. Development of advanced ANG storage techniques will ensure fuel carrying capacity is maintained whilst increasing safety by the reduction in storage pressure from 20 MPa (200 bar) to 3.5 MPa (35 bar).
The development of low pressure storage will permit the replacement of heavy, bulky, CNG cylinders by innovative conformable steel tanks that can be integrated into the vehicle's structure. This configuration will result in improved vehicle ergonomics by reducing or eliminating the serious space intrusion of the cylinders in present NGV
installations. Paramount in the project objectives is to demonstrate improved vehicle safety through advanced design, manufacturing and integration methods.
This technically ambitious programme will be undertaken by the LEVINGS Consortium; this comprises a fuel supplier and large scale fleet operator (British Gas), a vehicle designer (Fiat Research Centre), both of whom would be first users of the LEVINGS vehicles, an international steel manufacturer and developer (British Steel), an SME that is a major contractor in the automotive industry (IETA), an internationally known manufacturer of shaped active carbons (Sutcliffe Speakman Carbons), an applied research organisation (TNO), a non profit making technical and scientific organisation (ISQ), and a higher learning institution (University of Gent).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
S60 3AR Rotherham
10043 Orbassano Torino
4430 Oiveira Do Douro Vng
2600 JA Delft
WN7 2HE Leigh