Natural gas vehicles should not be confused with vehicles powered by LPG (mainly propane), which is a fuel with a fundamentally different composition.
In a natural gas powered vehicle, energy is released by combustion of essentially Methanegas (CH4) fuel with Oxygen (O2) from the air to CO2 and water vapor (H2O) in an internal combustion engine.
When comparing natural gas versus other fuels, NGVs usually have:
- Lower cost than gasoline and diesel
- High performance similar to diesel or gasoline powered vehicles
- Secure and long lasting fuel supply
NGV filling stations can be located anywhere that natural gas lines exist.
Despite its advantages, the use of natural gas vehicles faces several limitations, including fuel storage and infrastructure available for delivery and distribution at fueling stations.
CNG must be stored in high pressure cylinders (21,000 to 25,000 kPa operation pressure), and LNG must be stored in cryogenic cylinders (−162 to −129 °C).
These cylinders take up more space than gasoline or diesel tanks that can be molded in intricate shapes to store more fuel and use less on-vehicle space.
Though ANG (adsorbed natural gas) has not yet been used in either providing stations nor consumer storage tanks, its low compression (500psi vs 3600 psi) has the potential to drive down costs of NGV infrastructure and vehicle tanks.