An Oklahoma City compressor company is making a move into the natural gas vehicle market.
HYPRES, which manufactures high-pressure breathing air compressors, has developed a home-fueling unit for vehicles that run on compressed natural gas.
HYPRES President Ron Peeler said the company's small compressor block is perfect for that application.
“There's nothing else out there,” he said.
Peeler said HYPRES's system, which is calls Smart Fill CNG, is the only American-made unit available.
“There is no competition right now,” he said. “But there will be.”
Natural gas is increasingly being embraced as a cheaper, cleaner alternative to gasoline or diesel, with booming production keeping prices low.
Chesapeake Energy Corp., a leading natural gas producer, struck a deal with General Electric earlier this year to develop and market home-fueling solutions. The companies already have produced a modular unit for use in commercial fueling stations.
Peeler said natural gas always has been a viable alternative fuel, but it was not economical in the 1990s when gasoline was cheaper. CNG is the cost-effective choice now, he said, with gasoline selling for $3 to $4 a gallon.
Peeler said a home-fueling unit for CNG can provide fuel for about $1 a gallon. The gas costs about 70 cents a gallon, while it costs another 30 cents a gallon to power the fueling unit.
He said consumers can finance a vehicle conversion and home-fueling unit for less than they will earn from fuel savings over a one- to three-year period.
“The price is almost nothing when it pays for itself,” Peeler said.
Peeler said HYPRES began to explore the CNG market late last year when a customer in Wichita inquired about using one of its compressors to develop a home-fueling system.
The company, which employs 11 people, used its expertise in compressors to develop its own CNG unit.
“All we're doing is changing gas,” he said.
HYPRES had to look outside of Oklahoma for many of the needed parts because of competition from the oil and natural gas industry.
“Everything on the pump itself is made by companies in America,” he said.
Peeler compares it to a residential air conditioning unit, since it was designed to be placed outside the garage. It connects to the home's existing gas and electrical lines, with a control box mounted inside.
“Every garage is going to be a custom look,” he said.
HYPRES has the necessary parts on hand to build 60 home-fueling units, Peeler said.
He said three are built and ready to go, while seven more should be completed in the next 10 days. Units will be built as ordered after that.