gasfill Ltd is a small company based in Leicester. The company has a history of working in energy, engineering and vehicle manufacturing. They design and manufacture products aimed at the business and home vehicle user specifically in the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
What They Do
The company has developed a small slow fill CNG compressor unit (gasfill HOME) that can operate at any home, office or factory around the world and is ideal for car or light van users. The products have been extensively tested for safety. Some of the benefits of this system are:
- Simple installation at a home, business or factory by a qualified natural gas installer and takes its electricity supply from a domestic socket
- Simple to operate
- The unit takes gas from normal natural gas supply and compresses it into the on-vehicle gas cylinder
- Significantly lower fuel costs (up to 60% saving)
- CO2 saving technology (20% reduction v petrol)
- Low emission fuel (low NOx and near zero particulates)
- Oil free compression for very low maintenance
- No need to visit a retail fuel station
This unit can refuel a car or van in under 10 hours at a rate of 2.0 m3 of compressed natural gas per hour, which can give a range of over 195 miles on a full fill.
The company have also developed an on-site storage and a fillpost to create a mini fast fill system suitable for small fleets of cars and light vans. This can be linked to the HOME system.
In order to evaluate the performance of the refuelling system over the design life of the compressor used in the unit, and also to check performance prior to delivery to customers, some type of test rig was required that was capable of exercising multiple machines on a continuous basis. The rig also needed to be capable of carrying out tests to satisfy the US market, where some interest had been generated, as well as the UK market.
The company applied for an ERDF Luminate grant from the Transport iNet, and were successful. This enabled them to develop the test rig which is capable of emulating real-life vehicle fill conditions up to 250bar (the US Standard) and also capable of carrying out accelerated tests round the clock unattended. The rig can also be used for “sign-off” tests prior to delivery to customers.
In order to achieve this, the rig needed to allow:
- Gas to be supplied at standard conditions to the machines
- Collect gas at pressure from the machines, and
- In a manner whereby the gas could be recirculated to minimise costs
The grant from Transport iNet has allowed the company to develop a rig which fulfils the requirements described above. In addition the company has been able to create a new job.
‘Without the grant support from the Transport iNET the development of this essential test rig would have been delayed. Furthermore it has allowed us to provide detailed results on lifetime performance to our potential customers both here in the UK and the USA’
Norman Leece, Managing Director