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Switching to Natural Gas

Discussion in 'Alternative Fuel Forum' started by steve4611, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Mountain Peak

    Mountain Peak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    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.
  2. bscill

    bscill LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Posts: 94

  3. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    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
  4. ashgrove landscaping

    ashgrove landscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,460

    Don't support hydro fracking. It's worse than oil. And it destroys your land. Let the middle east keep the destruction.
  5. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 349

    Who makes kits to convert small engines to CNG?
  6. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    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.
  7. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,078

    What he said...
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 349

    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?
  9. lawnservjoe

    lawnservjoe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    I would think the CNG Fule tank would cost more than you could ever save on the mowers life?
  10. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 349

    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.

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