The number of fueling stations is increasing rapidly worldwide. It is estimated that there were about 9,271 fuel stations in the UK in 2007 which had increased from 18,000 in 1992. Based on census in 2002, the USA possessed about 121,446 fueling stations. In China, there are about 30,000 fueling stations followed by Canada of 14,000. Many countries such as Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa have shown tremendous additions to their number of fuel stations. As of 2008, it is estimated that there are about 12,000 fuel stations in Turkey and 8,000 in Mexico. Nigeria has close to 5,000 fuel stations and South Africa is estimated to have more than 6000 fuel stations. Statistics has also shown that there are around 500 fuel stations in the Malawi region. The production of more CNG consuming vehicles across the globe increases the demand of compressed natural gas. Bearing in mind that many vehicles using CNG are bi-fueled by both gasoline and natural gas, this encourages the increase in the number of refilling stations and CNG fuel infrastructure within regions for the convenience of CNG consumers.
Most filling stations are built in a way where fuel installation is done underground. The underground installation process requires a pump machine which is used in an open space. In addition to that, a point of service is used inside a building. Whether single or numerous sizes of tanks should be installed is a factor that is based upon the amount demanded by the necessity of the local market. Once the volumes of the tanks are ascertained, they are positioned underground. Underground installation can be done using a number of methods. Each of these procedures takes into account aspects such as environmental issues and local regulations. As far as fueling stations within the regions are concerned, fuel is stored mostly in container tanks. The fuel then enters the tanks through the aid of separate valves which are placed on the filling station’s perimeter. Besides that, fuel is carried to dispenser pumps via interconnected pipes underground. This is to ensure easily available refilling for customers at each fuel tank, whenever needed.
Fuel stations are made to function in several ways. Conventional fuel stations are operated using a separate pipe for any sort of fuel and dispenser. On the other hand, newer stations could use a single pipe for every dispenser compared to the older stations. This pipe occupies a large amount of smaller pipes for the individual fuel types. As for fuel dispensers, they are placed on firm, confining ridges to guarantee the best possible safety. Natural gas, which travels through pipelines, is contained in storage cylinders. Natural gas transforms into CNG upon compression and is directed to dispensers to the disposal of consumers. Dissimilar from CNG, there are additional elements needed to be taken into count for the refilling of gasoline, such as metal barriers. A proficient drainage system should also be established because petrol is frequently spilled on the ground which absorbs into the soil. Therefore, a proper drainage system is able to drain the extra spilled fluids into a waste container. Considering the rise of bi-fueled, CNG and the standard gasoline consuming modes of transport, fueling stations will have to look into both CNG and gasoline infrastructure as long as natural gas and petrol are used as mutual substitutes.
As is the same for both gasoline and CNG, fueling stations allow customers to pay at the register. The data from the dispensers is then transmitted wirelessly to the point of sale. Customers usually use this facility from inside the filling station’s building which is connected straight into the station’s cash register operating system. This operating system is automatic and it limits the control over fuel dispensers. Besides that, there also exist a separate system that is generally used to keep track of the fuel tank status and the quantity of fuel. The fuel tank also is equipped with a sensor which allows the data to be channeled to a terminal in the back room. The data can then be downloaded or printed out. This method has been confirmed to be the most trustworthy and fail-safe. Most fueling stations also are built complete with the facilities that include tire air pump and car wash zones with vacuum cleaners.
As of 2009, the latest statistics by Asian NGV Communications on World Review reveals that there are close to 8,000 NGV fueling stations in Asia, about 3,000 in Europe and around 1,000 in North America. There are only 7 NGV refilling stations in Africa. Eurasia records almost 200 CNG refueling stations while the South & Central region of the world has built more than 4,000. All in all, there are slightly more than 16,000 CNG refueling stations globally. The number of infrastructure for natural gas vehicles is expected to take an upward trend if more vehicle users adopt compressed natural gas at the alternative fuel in the future.