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Author Topic: Natural gas powered semi  (Read 4910 times)
cody
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« on: October 18, 2009, 08:00:04 PM »

Ok, lock and load lol, on the way back we stopped for lunch in a little town in southern illinios, a truck pulled in with a semi tractor on a lowboy, it said Ruan Natural Gas Powered on the door and was a freightliner.  The guy said he is taking it on a round of shows, the next one is in ohio and then they head back to the west coast for one in san diego or somewhere like that, the thing is a semi tractor that runs on natural gas, it has 3 cylinders in a box behind the cab that he said will run 1800 miles between fills.  He said it is going over great and is a prototype but scheduled for a limited production run, ok flame on lol.
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TomC
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 10:25:40 PM »

I hate to burst your bubble, but Freightliner has had both CNG (compressed natural gas) and LNG (liquified natural gas) trucks in first a Sterling and now in Freightliner M2112 powered with a Cummins ISL G engine that puts out 320hp and 1000lb/ft of torque for the past year.  We've sold a few hundred already to customers of the port of both Los Angeles and Long Beach.  It has an Allison 3000HS in it, and drivers love the quietness and ease at which it drives.  The LNG has a 115 gal tank that is about equal to 85 gal of Diesel.  And with getting 4-5mpg, they can get a safe 250 miles per fillup-which isn't that big of a deal since the trucks are designed and mainly used for port use around Los Angeles.  The cost difference is enormous.  A Diesel tractor with a Series 60 in it is about $102,000 out the door (including sales tax and license).  The LNG is $156,000 out the door!  So without government assistance (they are giving up to $100,000 in subsidies toward the purchase), it can and is an expensive proposition.  And considering the 100% natural gas engines have to have their spark plugs changed every 50,000 miles at a rate of 6 X $80 a piece, it isn't financially feasible for the common person.  Besides, next year with the addition of Urea injection, or the use of DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid), the Diesel trucks are going to be actually cleaner burning then Natural Gas.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 02:45:17 AM »

I worked for Perkins about 15 years ago and they sold a lot of Natural Gas engines then - mostly for use in generators, although they were based on a big truck (tank transporter) engine. I didn't think they had spark plugs though

Jeremy
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 04:37:11 AM »

I guess I'd be more impressed if they were driving the tractor between shows, instead of hauling it around on a lowboy. Roll Eyes

I think this is all we need. We're already paying the highest rates for natural gas to heat our homes because all the coal fired electric plants converted to natural gas over last couple decades and now there are shortages of natural gas. Lets get all the millions and millions of trucks and cars to switch too, so we can pay even more money to keep warm. Maybe then diesel will come down and I can install my unused 80K BTU Webasto on my house and put in hydronic  Cheesy
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 05:51:25 AM »

Yes, we have lots of natural gas, but it will go in a hurry if we starting switching our transportation over to it.  We supposedly have 100 years worth of natural gas, but that is probably based on today's consumption rates.  What happens when the natural gas is gone?

As Craig said, the conversion of coal power plants to natural gas is causing natural gas prices to increase which impacts those of us who heat with natural gas.  Natural gas prices went through the roof last year as they tend to follow oil prices.  Luckily, prices had decreased significantly before the gas companies bought their winter supplies in early fall last year.

Natural gas prices this year are pretty low compared to the last year or two, but I don't where they stand historically.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
kyle4501
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 06:00:05 AM »

I guess I'd be more impressed if they were driving the tractor between shows, instead of hauling it around on a lowboy. Roll Eyes

Now I have to question why it isn't SHOWING it can do the work vs. just claiming it can.

I believe Tom C has already addressed the real reason it isn't being driven - cost. . . .
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cody
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 06:27:17 AM »

I really hate to have my bubble burst too but the truth is that it was burst a bunch of years ago lol, the truck pulling the trailer was also powered by natural gas so that shoots down the showing idea over proving but the one on the trailer was chromed and shined to the max and brand new with the fancy paint, I thought it was interesting but I don't keep up with trucks cause of a major lack of interest, thats why I said to flame on, I figured it was something that had probably been around for a while but was new to me. Keep flaming me and I'll park my iggle next to your bus some cold night and you'll wake up with your bus expecting a smart car, so there lol.
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kyle4501
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 06:53:48 AM »

More information.
Isn't that what discussions are for - to expand our knowledge base.

Partial knowledge & things taken out of context yield misunderstandings & are sometimes costly.  Sad


Cody, I'd be careful who you park next to. . . . If you were to park next to one of mine, I'd expect to see a still birth or a 'dumb' car . . . . LOL  Shocked
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 07:00:14 AM »

One major issue with CNG powered vehicles today is lack of fueling stations.  The only station I know of in the Minneapolis area is at one of the local natural gas companies and not sure it is really public.  Most CNG vehicles today are parts of fleets and the fleet has a private fueling station.

Utah has had some pretty good success with CNG, but mostly because the fuel as of last year was selling at I think 64 cents a gallon when compared to gasoline.

I have had some experience with CNG vehicles and it wasn't real positive, but a lot of it had to do with the vehicles being between 25 and 50 years old at the time of conversion to CNG.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2009, 07:04:23 AM »

The semi tractor had a box behind the cab that the guy said contained 3 cylinders that gave it a range of 1800 to 2000 miles.  Thats ok Kyle, I've chosen long ago not to park around scenics due to the possibility of birth defects lol.
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2009, 07:25:16 AM »

The semi tractor had a box behind the cab that the guy said contained 3 cylinders that gave it a range of 1800 to 2000 miles.  Thats ok Kyle, I've chosen long ago not to park around scenics due to the possibility of birth defects lol.

A range of 1,800 to 2,000 miles?!  They are either smoking some good stuff or those are some HUGE tanks. 

The fleet I drove with CNG had six or nine tanks each about 1 foot diameter and maybe 6 or 7 feet long.  We probably got around 100 miles to a tank.  The tanks were so heavy that some of the vehicles had to be converted back to dual rear wheels.  (They had been converted to singles years ago to save on tires as the weight did not require duals.)  Now, this was unusual service.  It was a parking shuttle operation that averaged under 10 MPH and the vehicles often idled at the main station for upwards of 10 minutes between runs depending on the attendance.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2009, 07:31:34 AM »

That mileage was the claim they gave, the box behind the cab was the width and height of the cab and about 3ft thick, he said it contained 3 cylinders, looked almost like a small sleeper except for the gap between the box and cab.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2009, 07:54:27 AM »

Quote from: belfert
A range of 1,800 to 2,000 miles?!  They are either smoking some good stuff or those are some HUGE tanks. 

The fleet I drove with CNG had six or nine tanks each about 1 foot diameter and maybe 6 or 7 feet long.  We probably got around 100 miles to a tank

That mileage was the claim they gave, the box behind the cab was the width and height of the cab and about 3ft thick, he said it contained 3 cylinders, looked almost like a small sleeper except for the gap between the box and cab.

Brian sounds to me that the tanks on the truck Cody saw were about 3' in diameter and permanently mounted (to heavy to swap tanks) with that much difference it is highly possible to go that distance @ a road speed vs crawling around the fairgrounds all day. Also gearing has be considered. The people movers are not geared for highway spds so you won't see hwy mileages!
Also the guy told Cody that it had a range of 1800-2000 miles, but didn't say if that was bobtailing or pulling a loaded trailer!
FWIW  Grin  BK Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2009, 08:09:41 AM »

I understand it is the truck manufacturer making those claims.  I suspect they are overstating things a bit, but it would be great if they really have that kind of range.

The cylinders on the vehicles I drove were permanently mounted.  We had our own fill station that took maybe 10 minutes to do a fill.  Each fill of the 6 or 9 cylinders would yield about 100 miles.  The vehicles previously were gasoline powered and could do at least double as many miles on a tank.  (No idea how many gallons the gasoline tanks held.)

I think CNG vehicles are a good thing.  I considered buying one last fall when I bought a vehicle, but I dismissed it after about five minutes when I discovered there are no filling locations near my home.  I just wouldn't expect as big a range as a gasoline vehicle.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
kyle4501
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2009, 10:26:49 AM »

The semi tractor had a box behind the cab that the guy said contained 3 cylinders that gave it a range of 1800 to 2000 miles.  Thats ok Kyle, I've chosen long ago not to park around scenics due to the possibility of birth defects lol.

What do you get when you cross a Scenicruiser with an Eagle?

Nothing.
There are some things even a Scenicruiser won't do.  Grin  Roll Eyes Grin  Roll Eyes Grin
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cody
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2009, 11:24:42 AM »

lol, very funny, interesting tho, I know that there are many things a scenic won't do, thats why I have an eagle, I like to use mine, I don't have the yard space to accumulate buses just so I can say I have them, I actually get out on the road with my eagle, I've seen some very nice scenics tho, there are some great ones out there, you should look into them and see what makes them different from yard ornaments.
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kyle4501
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2009, 12:11:14 PM »

you should look into them and see what makes them different from yard ornaments.

I already know, $$$   Wink

BTW, I ain't the only one with a yard ornament, so I consider myself in good company.  Grin
Sometimes the journey is as important as the destination.  Cool
Sometimes, saving a classic from the scrap yard takes priority.
Different routes for different people. Some would rather plan until they get it worked out on paper, some preferr to just start on it change it as often as necessary until they get what they want.
Neither way is wrong - unless it is forced on you.  Sad
I have a plan & am sticking to it - progress is being made as funds allow.  Grin
If someone wants me to move at a faster pace, they are welcome to increase their funding of my project.  Grin  Cool

Enjoy the time you have, we aren't promised any tomorrows.


If I had it all to do over again, I would. The only change I'd consider would be to start earlier!  I have no regrets, but lots of happy memories, so no complaints here.
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2009, 02:55:21 PM »

The nice thing about the Cummins ISL G engine is that it is already '10 smog approved.  It has electronic fuel injection with a car like catalytic converter.  What I don't like-there are emissions that are not even regulated-like Flourine (smells like pool clorene), lots of carbon monoxide (you won't ever see a fork lift powered by Nat Gas inside a warehouse-would gas everyone out), and the particles are so small that they get absorbed into the body-compared to the large carbon particles from a Diesel engine.

I just got a tractor back from my customer.  The 110gal LNG tank actually holds 55gal Diesel Equivalent Gallons.  It was driven 260mile for 4.72mpg Diesel Equivalent Gallons @ 2.179/gal. 

Unless you have a government subisdies to help pay for the truck, I'd stay well away from Natural Gas.

Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2009, 10:32:45 PM »

Do the math. A 3 foot diameter tank would have about 9 times the volume of a 1 foot diameter tank of the same length. So the 100 miles per 1 foot tank estimate seems about right. 100 miles x factor 9 x 3 tanks = 1800 miles per fill. Plus some since highway mileage will be better than city driving.
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