BATTICE, Belgium -- Greenes Group, a Netherland-based installer and retrofitters of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) tanks for cars and light commercial vans has now selected to fit its vehicles with tanks manufactured using HiPer-tex™ high-performance fiberglass from 3B-the fibreglass company.
The CNG tank concept and design has recently gained composites industry recognition; it won the Composites Sustainability Award in the Market Growth category at the recent American Composites Manufacturers Association's (ACMA) Composites 2011 trade show held (February 2-4) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. USA.; and it was also nominated and runner-up in the Transportation category at the forthcoming JEC Composites Show to be held in Paris at the end of March (29-31) where, in addition, a car supplied by Greenes Group and fitted with the award-winning tanks will be displayed at the event.
The glass fiber made high pressure tanks replace those manufactured from steel which when compared with glass fiber are much heavier. Marc Dirkse, CEO of Greenes Group said, "A typical 32 litre capacity CNG cylinder manufactured from HiPer-tex™ glass fiber is 57 percent lighter than an equivalent steel cylinder and switching to this solution provides our customers several important practical advantages and in addition has a very positive impact on the environment."
In fact, due to their lighter weight, the glass fiber CNG tanks permits regaining lost payload which, for example, is very important for commercial vans. These can be fitted with up to 10 cylinders of which 8 are installed under the vehicle. And, with up to four cylinders installed in most cars it allows for the recuperation of lost seat (passenger) space all due to the heavier steel cylinder option adversely affecting the overall legal payload of the vehicles.
Marc Dirske added, "Greenes also operates a rental and leasing service and all our vehicles running on natural gas rely on a far cleaner combustion process and emit considerably lower levels of pollutants produced by vans and cars using traditional fuels such as petrol and diesel, and even LPG."
Installation of HiPer-tex™ made cylinders on a commercial van (left); CNG light duty vehicle (center) and commercial van (right) from Greenes
Using natural gas reduces CO2 emission levels throughout the entire supply chain from production to exhaust fumes so driving on natural gas makes a major contribution towards improving air quality and creating a healthier environment," he concluded. In addition to the environmental benefits, not only does it cost considerably less to run a car on natural gas the additional weight savings achieved lowers fuel consumption, contributes to better acceleration and helps reduce clutch and tyre abrasion.
CNG tanks made with HiPer-tex™ fiber are a truly viable replacement for heavier steel cylinders. 3B collaborates with several industry partners to develop tailored versatile solutions for a variety of high pressure vessels across a wide range of sophisticated end-use applications.
"HiPer-tex™ fiber can withstand immense impacts, has extremely long-term durability due to the fiber's high mechanical strength and considerably greater resistance to fatigue," said Eric Debondue, Business Development Leader at 3B.
"Combined with the high corrosion resistance of HiPer-tex™ fiber these unique properties enabled the tanks (manufactured by GASTANK Sweden AB) to meet the very stringent ECE R110 regulation governing the use of Type IV pressure cylinders storing compressed natural gas for motor vehicles," he added.
The Netherlands is at present the second largest natural gas producer in the EU (ninth in the world) with most of its production from on-shore wells in the Groningen Province which borders the North Sea. Thanks to the significant environmental benefits to be obtained the use of natural gas as a viable fuel for mass transportation is now on the increase with over 600 public transport buses in operation across the country.
To meet growing demand the number of service stations providing CNG filling points will increase by 25 percent to 100 by the end of 2011 and is expected to double by 2014 to meet the needs of cars and commercial vehicles across the country.
About 3B-the fibreglass company
3B-the fibreglass company is a developer and supplier of fiberglass products and technologies for the reinforcement of thermoplastic and thermoset polymers. The company has two fiberglass manufacturing facilities in Battice, Belgium and Birkeland, Norway as well as a dedicated R&D Centre located in the heart of Europe. 3B's ambition is to be the thermoplastic reinforcement global leader, the wind energy solution provider and the business development partner for innovative composite applications. The company operates two high performance glass technologies, Advantex® and HiPer-tex™. These two brands combine durability with eco-responsibility and versatility, making them the materials of choice for a wide range of industries.
3B-the fibreglass company