What is CNG?
CNG is the abbreviation for Compressed Natural Gas, which is natural gas that has been compressed in such a way that it is lighter than air. CNG is a fossil fuel that comprises of hydrocarbon gases and vapor, and contains mostly methane. It is a by-product of coal mining, or comes from crude oil productions.
The conventional method would require fuel to be transported via pipelines but the compression of natural gas allows CNG to be carried in pressure vessels instead. Being one of the two forms of natural gases (the other being Liquefied Natural Gas which is used mostly for heavy duty vehicles and fleet) CNG is becoming the alternative energy to fuel cars, busses, pick-up trucks and other vehicles.
CNG is safe and clean, given its non-toxic and non-corrosive nature. It is also tasteless, colorless and odorless.
Where does CNG some from?
According to the CNG Briefing on Local Governments and Energy Independence by the National Association of Counties, CNG is produced from 3 types of wells and renewable sources. These wells are natural gas-and-condensate wells, oil wells and coal bed methane wells. On the other hand, water or sewerage treatment and landfill gas produce fossil fuel in lesser quantity, which makes up the most of the available natural gas.
CNG, as is well known, is a fossil fuel; meaning it comes to be when oil and gas deposits that have been trapped under soil are placed under the transforming power of temperature. These oil and gas deposits are actually the remains of millions years old animals and plants buried deep beneath seas and lakes, that have undergone extreme pressure over the elapse of time. So, it is no surprise that CNG actually comes from the ground.
How does CNG reach consumers?
The history of CNG dates back to the period around World War II. In the 1960s, a business project was conducted in an endeavor to transmit natural gas across the sea using pressure containers. This was a commercial experiment carried out by an organization called the Columbia Gas Company. In order to create a pressure vessel, this company found a ship that was aimed at carrying troop, and then adapted it to become a CNG transporter. However, CNG, being a very high pressure gas, demanded vessels that could keep it in; resulting in enormously weighty and solid enclosures.
Due to the state of technological advancement during that period of time, the bulky CNG carrier was unavoidable. This caused the costs associated with shipping CNG to escalate to a point where it was impossible for the mission to go on, financially. Nevertheless, that undertaking ascertained that there was a way to transport CNG and it was to be developed to ensure future handiness and safety.
Now, after nearly half a century, the progress in science has paved the way for CNG to reach consumers with definitely more ease and cost efficiency. The technology today enables CNG to be carried via gas pipes that go all the way to fueling stations. Natural gas travels through gas pipes and is kept in storage cylinders. It is then sent to dispensers. The gas that reaches the refueling stations is such that it transforms into CNG upon compression.
The natural gas delivery structure in the United States is immense. The pipelines that transport CNG surround and connect states which are close to 300,000 miles apart. However, the convenience of supplying CNG through these conduits is questionable and further enhancements are on their way for future betterment.
Some natural gas fueling stations compress CNG on site, while others compress them offsite. For the latter, tanks or containers are used for transportation purposes to the stations. CNG is then available for use to automobiles, ships and stores. This is how CNG reaches consumers.