Natural Gas Fueling Infrastructure Development
Compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations vary considerably. CNG stations require more equipment and configuration, while LNG stations require less equipment, but more safety precautions during fueling.
The Alternative Fueling Station Locator allows users to search for public and private CNG and LNG fueling stations. Suggest new natural gas stations for inclusion in the Station Locator using the Submit New Station form.
There are essentially three types of CNG stations: fast-fill, time-fill, and a combination of these two. The type of station needed is dependent on the application. Typically, retail stations use fast-fill, and fleets that have central refueling and the ability to fill overnight use time-fill. All public fueling stations offer a fast-fill option.
LNG stations are structurally similar to gasoline and diesel stations in that they have a storage tank, meters, and dispenser. LNG dispensers deliver fuel to vehicles at pressures of 30 to 120 psi. Because LNG is stored and dispensed as a super-cooled liquefied gas, protective clothing, face shield, and gloves are required when fueling a vehicle, and personnel must also be trained on fueling procedures.
There are three options for LNG fueling: mobile, containerized, and permanent large stations. In mobile fueling, LNG is delivered by a tanker truck that has on-board metering and dispensing equipment. A starter station, or containerized station, includes a storage tank, dispensing equipment, metering, and required containment. A permanent station has greater storage capacity and is tailored to meet fleets' needs.
Cost of Installation
The cost of installing natural gas infrastructure is influenced by station size, capacity, the type of natural gas (LNG, CNG, or both) dispensed, and the way natural gas is dispensed (fast-fill or time-fill). According to a report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, costs of a CNG fueling station can range up to $1.8 million, depending on the size and application. Smaller fueling units average $10,000, including engineering, equipment, and installation. LNG fueling station costs are highly variable, ranging from one to several million dollars. Costs are dependent on factors such as storage capacity, station design, and the services needed to build it.
To begin exploring whether natural gas makes sense for your fleet, read Building a Business Case for Compressed Natural Gas in Fleet Applications, which discusses the various applications where CNG can be a successful replacement to conventional fuel. Use the accompanying Clean Cities Vehicle and Infrastructure Cash-Flow Evaluation (VICE) Model to evaluate the return on investment and payback period for natural gas vehicles and fueling infrastructure.
In addition, it is important to work with your local utility, which can help determine whether the appropriate level of gas pressure is available at your location, the gas quality and moisture content are appropriate, and whether your gas service can support the needed gas flow. Additional investment may be necessary to address these needs.
There are many safety guidelines that need to be considered when developing infrastructure, including the National Fire Prevention Association's NFPA 52 Vehicular Natural Gas Fuel Systems Code, which applies to the design and installation requirements of CNG refueling facilities. Your local fire marshal or Clean Cities coalition can help with this.