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Chemical company BASF bringing its expertise to natural gas vehicles

Chemical company BASF is developing technology that could increase the range of natural gas vehicles or make it easier to refuel them.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: September 18, 2013

The world's largest chemical company has set its sights on improving natural gas vehicles.

BASF is developing materials that could increase the capacity of natural gas storage tanks by as much as 30 percent, said Raghu Gummaraju, business development manager for the company's energy storage materials division.

“We have a lot of ideas,” he said.

Gummaraju was part of a panel on evolving natural gas vehicle technology Tuesday at the 2013 Energy Policy and Future of Passenger Transportation Conference sponsored by Oklahoma City University's Meinders School of Business.

He said BASF's technology has been tested only in a laboratory at this point, but the company has been working on a demonstration vehicle to help commercialize it.

The company also is looking for partners to help test the technology's performance in the field.

Gummaraju said BASF has developed a metal-organic framework that can increase the amount of gas that can be stored in a conventional storage tank. Each pellet acts as a small tank inside to regularize storage.

He said the technology also could make it possible to fill compressed natural gas tanks at a lower pressure.

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