Natural Gas Vehicle On-Board Storage

Low-pressure adsorbed natural gas storage to reduce natural gas vehicle costs.



San Francisco, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

BlackPak successfully demonstrated the technical viability of using low pressure adsorbed natural gas storage on a light-duty vehicle. The vehicle was tested on a chassis dynamometer and showed a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and maintained equivalent or lower hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, and nitric oxide emissions when using natural gas. In addition, BlackPak demonstrated that adsorbed natural gas storage tanks are at least as safe as conventional compressed natural gas tanks. The project was completed in June 2017. The final report will be available online soon.

The Issue

Current compressed natural gas (CNG) solutions for light-duty vehicles are not viable alternatives to petroleum due to the high cost of high-pressure CNG storage tanks and the low availability of CNG refueling stations. A home refueling station adds several thousand dollars to the initial vehicle cost. Without home refueling stations, the limited quantity of commercial CNG refueling stations dramatically affects consumer convenience in vehicle usage patterns; consumers must tie their driving pattern to a limited set of fixed refueling points.

Project Innovation

This project developed and tested adsorbed natural gas on-board storage systems capable of storing natural gas at lower pressures using microporous carbon. The project developed an adsorbed natural gas storage tank suitable for light-duty passenger vehicles which can drive down costs to a price that is considered competitive and viable with conventional gas storage tanks.

Project Benefits

The adsorbed natural gas-gasoline co-fuel system is a practical solution to introducing more natural gas fueled vehicles to the California market. The system affords fuel cost savings, low volume restrictions, minimal impact on driving performance with a positive impact for more than 80 percent of drivers. Natural gas operation reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent compared to gasoline operation, equivalent to a comparatively sized electric vehicle. Additional greenhouse gas benefits can be obtained from using renewable natural gas.

Lower Costs


The economics of an adsorbed natural gas co-fuel vehicle is comparable to those of electric vehicles with purchase price savings of at least 40 to more than 50 percent with equivalent costs per mile driven. The low-pressure system also enables home refueling options using lower cost compressors.

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

When operated in natural gas mode, the adsorbed natural gas co-fuel vehicle exhibited 20 percent reduced carbon dioxide emissions compared to gasoline operation. Other pollutants (nitric oxide, hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide) were measured to be equivalent or lower during natural gas operation compared to gasoline operation. These measurements were obtained from a chassis dynamometer test over the UDDS and HWFET cycles.

Increase Safety


Burst, bonfire, gunfire, and highly accelerated life test results indicate that the adsorbed natural gas tank is at least as safe as a conventional compressed natural gas tank. This project validated that the addition of carbon sorbent material inside a pressurized tank does not significantly affect the safety or integrity of the tank.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Doug Kirkpatrick



CSA Group






VForce, VForce Consulting, VForce Security


Match Partners




Contact the Team