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steve4611
01-24-2012, 07:57 AM
In recent weeks, I have been seriously contemplating a conversion of my truck and my big mower to natural gas. In my first season back in the lawn business, I now fully understand how my profit margins are affected by the fluctuation in gas prices and started looking for alternatives.

Natural gas seems to be a viable solution.

Pros: About half the price if you are buying gas @ $3.30 and the price doesn't fluctuate as much as gasoline. I can still keep my existing gas tank and use it if I cannot reach a station near to me. Natural gas runs keeps engines cleaner increasing the longevity and bypassing certain fuel problems that can occur. 100% of my money will stay in our national economy. I can also receive a nice, hefty tax credit for switching. I could also use this as an advertising ploy to possibly increase sales for the greenies. From the information that I have picked up, it's just as safe as using gasoline.

Cons: $3500 to convert my V-8, and about $800 for a 27hp Kawasaki. There are only three gas stations in the Indy area that I could fill up. There is also an inevitable learning curve by switching and some unknown problems that might arise.

What do you guys think? Am I in over my head? Can you think of something that I haven't?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

ffemt1271
01-24-2012, 12:35 PM
Probably will when i get new vehicles. We are in the middle of.the haynesville shale here and almost every station is putting in a nat has filling station
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GreenI.A.
01-24-2012, 09:27 PM
I've started the conversion. I have a couple CNG stations 20 mimutes away heading towards each of my service areas, thankfully one is within minutes of a supply house I go to every few days during the season. Look into tax credits for doing the conversion. If you have NG at your house/shop then you can also get a compressor to fill right on site. You can get these installed at a pretty reasonable price after tax credits, check with city, state, fed. The only problem with these small compressors are that they take hours to fill the tank.

steve4611
01-25-2012, 05:14 PM
Yeah, it was my understanding that the gas stations all have rapid fill and the "garage" version is a slow fill. I don't have that option to fill at home because we just have electric. The average size tank can run 250 miles, so I would just have to fill up weekly.

For those interested, you can find where a station is near you here (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/natural_gas_locations.html)

Are you planning on doing the conversion yourself? I am somewhat mechanically inclined, but I know I would run into problems, and in the end, there is a good chance something would be installed incorrectly. However, I would have a lot more knowledge of the inner workings of the technology if I did it myself.

GreenI.A.
01-26-2012, 02:59 PM
I'm in the same boat with no NG available at my shop or house so I have to use the fill stations. That sight is better than many others i have seen. They atleast tell you if the ftation is open to the public or not. It would be nice here if the state would set up a system where the public could use their stations to, it would double the amount of locations available

integrityman
01-26-2012, 07:19 PM
I really like the idea of using cng on stuff. Its beyond shameful that our country has such a crappy cng infrastructure.

In S. America you can purchase a CNG conversion kits for 1500- 2000$ whereas in the us kits cost around 10k.

CNG is a great fuel, its clean, its "cheap" and most of it comes from the good ole USA.

bscill
03-16-2012, 10:18 AM
My wife works for the gas company in our town and her boss asked me if I would switch truck and mowers over if he could get everything. I told him it sounded great, so looks like I will be switching when we get something in our area.

themadcutter
03-17-2012, 05:34 AM
I was just talking to someone about nat and prop gas equipment.

I was told it burns much hotter and can cause seal problems on mowers

and that you get much less mileage per tank (as it were because its not a direct comparison)

you loose abut 20% hp also

Bloggermano
03-22-2012, 09:05 PM
I hear nat gas is expected to have a large supply glut this summer (bc of mild winter and huge shale field expansion recently). So...low prices could be here for a while...at least in the short term..

designman
04-03-2012, 11:03 AM
anyone know of a site that discusses the conversion process for a dodge hemi?

Mountain Peak
04-03-2012, 10:06 PM
I've been going back and forth between CNG and Propane. I'm being told the pressure on the CNG tanks is a lot higher, and that the propane is lower pressure. I am going to run to the local propane guy and see if they have an "in" to any conversion kits. I really want to stabilize my fuel pricing and think this is a good start.

bscill
04-18-2012, 09:24 AM
anyone know of a site that discusses the conversion process for a dodge hemi?

http://cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?8059-Doing-a-conversion-on-a-Ram-with-5-7-Hemi-MDS-Engine
This is what I found, not sure if it helps any.

GreenI.A.
04-18-2012, 10:17 AM
http://cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?8059-Doing-a-conversion-on-a-Ram-with-5-7-Hemi-MDS-Engine
This is what I found, not sure if it helps any.

I have used that site as well. All the research I did, I was not able to find any really good sites specifically for CNG conversions forums. It would be nice to find one site specific to CNG that had seperate forums. Most of the forums I found are simular to this one on LS, where it is a site that is based on something related and has a single forum for CNG conversions. I would look at dodge forums. I found a lot of information when I was going through the process on different ford and GM specific forums

ashgrove landscaping
04-19-2012, 10:01 AM
Don't support hydro fracking. It's worse than oil. And it destroys your land. Let the middle east keep the destruction.

olde_blue
10-27-2012, 11:05 AM
Cons: $3500 to convert my V-8, and about $800 for a 27hp Kawasaki. There are only three gas stations in the Indy area that I could fill up. There is also an inevitable learning curve by switching and some unknown problems that might arise.


Who makes kits to convert small engines to CNG?

rob7233
11-19-2012, 10:10 PM
Don't support hydro fracking. It's worse than oil. And it destroys your land. Let the middle east keep the destruction.

Strong statement. Then please educate us and provide referral web sites to get further information.

Natural gas export infrastructure likely won't be developed till about 2015 but it will come.

Weekend cut easymoney
11-19-2012, 10:15 PM
Who makes kits to convert small engines to CNG?

What he said...
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olde_blue
11-20-2012, 09:23 AM
From some preliminary research, I think that you can tune a propane carb to run on low pressure natural gas (many people make tri-fuel propane/gasoline/natural gas kits for generators). The conversion will run alot more than $800, however. The propane carb is over $300 (I haven't found a bi-fuel kit for mower engines yet--which would be more practical). A small, less than 3 gallon gasoline equivalent (gge) 3600 psi natural gas tank is at least $350 and weighs about 100 lbs (lighter ones in the 40 -50 lbs range are available, but cost 2-3 times more). Then you will need special mounting straps not to damage the tank ($150+), a 3600 psi valve (over $100), a high pressure regulator (over $100), low pressure regulator, pressure gauge, fill valve and safety, lots of hoses and fittings, etc.

Then, to fill your tank you will either need a commercial natural gas fueling station (which may prohibit the fueling of your mower) or a home refueling appliance (HRA) which will set you back at least $4000 plus installation and may only be able compress only about 8 gge of nat gas per night. Next generation HRA are in development (2 year eta) and should be cheaper.

Natural gas burns hotter than, which might be a problem in mower engines. Engines speced for it have special valves. Similar stationary small engines burn it, however.

I'll revisit the idea of CNG when the new HRA's are released. It is interesting because it could save about $4000 in fuel costs over the life of a mower (2000 hours x 1 gal/hr x $2/gal) at current gasoline and CNG prices--even more if gasoline increases.

It looks like Dixie Choppers CNG mower was not a commercial success. They are not listed for sale. Did anyone buy one, or where they just a concept mower?

lawnservjoe
03-22-2013, 10:19 AM
I would think the CNG Fule tank would cost more than you could ever save on the mowers life?

olde_blue
03-23-2013, 10:00 AM
A fairly fuel efficient Z (such as my 800 lbs stander) burns 1 gallon of gas per hour, or 2000+ gallons over it's lifetime or $7000+ worth of gas at current prices. A small steel cng tank about $400, while a lighter carbon fiber one is $800 or so. They last for 20 years, so if you wear out a mower every 5 years, you could reuse the tank on multiple mowers.

lawnservjoe
03-23-2013, 11:24 AM
I have been running propane the last few years. Kwik Trip stores have installed CNG pumps. 1.65 a gallon. Could you give me info on that CNG tank.
Also is my Kawa 21hp FH ok to run CNG. I think my propane parts will also work with CNG. If you have info on this let me know. thanks, Joe

olde_blue
03-24-2013, 11:27 AM
Here is a link to a site that sells small (2.5 gge tanks, 85 lbs) inexpensive Type 1 (steel) tanks: http://www.americancng.com/categories/Cylinder. A similar Type III tank (only 46 lbs) is found here (no price): http://www.luxfercylinders.com/products/alternative-fuel-cylinders/443-type-3-alternative-fuel-cylinder-specifications You will need strong brackets to mount the tanks without damaging them. They can be expensive. You will need alot more parts to convert to CNG from propane. Here is a schematic for a low-pressure CNG conversion for a carburated automotive application: http://www.pngtechnologies.com/PDF_Files/Auto_Dual_Fuel_CNG_Gasoline_Over_Schematic.pdf. You will need most of the same components. Here is a site that sells some CNG/Propane conversion parts for small engines: http://www.propanecarbs.com/tri_fuel_kits.html. They do not have duel-fuel kits for mower engines. A site for CNG info for autos and some other conversions: http://cngchat.com/forum/forum.php.
Beware, I have no practical experience with CNG. I have only done a bit of research. Here are three cautions I have come across: (1) CNG gas stations may not allow you to fuel your mowers, since they are not factory conversions. In my area, there is only one station, so home refueling would be my main option. (2) Natural gas burns hot; in specially built engines they use hardened valves. You may be able to counteract this with a water-injection system. (3) Engines produce less power on natural gas than propane or gasoline.

designman
03-27-2013, 06:54 PM
I worry about long term, i have natural gas at my shop and the compressor for filling is 5-7k, and Nat gas prices are going up. Sure would hate to get stuck before thing pay for themselves