Dublin Villager

After conversion, CNG fueling process is quite similar to that of gasoline

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Dublin will now use the same fuel used for heating homes and cooking in some city vehicles.

Work began a year ago on the compressed natural gas, or CNG, fueling facility that is set to open next week.

A pipe was installed by Columbia Gas to supply Dublin's Fleet building with fuel for the new facility.

Once inside Dublin's facility, the natural gas goes through a drying system, because it naturally carries some moisture, said city fleet manager J. Darryl Syler.

The gas then flows through two compressors and on to tanks that hold 4,000 pounds per square inch of natural gas for the fueling stations.

"It allows us to be able to fast-fuel the vehicles," Syler said. "There is a lot of technology in this area to make it work."

Four trucks can be filled at the same time and Syler said it takes about as long as a gasoline fuel-up.

To convert the 44 vehicles -- 41 trucks, two sedans and one van -- Dublin purchased kits.

The conversion takes certified city workers about 6 hours and includes installing Kevlar CNG tanks, a new fuel rail and changing fuel lines.

"It's pretty simple," Syler said. "And if we ever decide to go back you only need to disconnect the tank and remove the fuel rails."

The CNG tanks are smaller than gasoline tanks. On trucks the CNG tanks hold an equivalent of 11 gallons of gas.

Depending on the usage, vehicles might need to be fueled more often, Syler said.

"I guess they're probably going three-quarters of the distance of regular gas," he said.

So far Dublin has only converted gasoline-fueled vehicles, but that could change in the next few years.

"Part of what (director of administrative services) Michelle (Crandall) has tasked me with is to green the fleet where possible," Syler said. "We'll do 10 more pickups this year."

Heavier, diesel-fueled vehicles could be converted in the next few years, Syler said.

"Within the next 12 months we'll convert a few diesel vehicles," he said.

As for any resident considering converting their vehicles to be CNG fueled, Syler said they should use EPA-certified kits for the job.

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