Cryostar USA West held a successful demonstration of its pioneering LNG fuelling station for gas powered vehicles at its base in Santa Fe Springs, CA in May. Visitors to the demo included companies attending the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, which was held concurrently at the Long Beach Convention Centre.

The launch is indicative of how Linde Group member Cryostar is leveraging over three decades of cryogenic equipment design and manufacture in a bid to capture a larger slice of the natural gas-based vehicle fuelling market in North America.

Cryostar has already developed refuelling stations to deliver both LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG), and aims to cover the entire natural gas supply chain. It has stations already operating in Europe and equipment operating at three stations in Southern California. Now the company aims to roll out its new LNG/LCNG fuelling station design tailored to US customers.

The new fuelling station features a skid-mounted cryogenic transfer pump that delivers LNG from the customer’s storage tank to the vehicle via a dispenser. The pump skid has two control loops, both executed by a Siemens PC-based controller.

CNG filling capability can be added optionally by installing additional equipment including a high-pressure pump and vaporiser to convert the LNG to CNG. Cryostar also plans to offer the fuelling station in a movable ISO container version, to which customers can add their own LNG storage tank.

Cryostar’s standard LNG-only station can be set up to deliver fuel at two different conditions to accommodate the two types of heavy duty LNG engine currently on the market.

Typically one pump skid will fuel two dispensers, with an average fuelling time of three minutes for a 120 gallon tank. This means each dispenser can refuel around 10 vehicles per hour. The dispenser even includes the option of a heated receptacle to prevent the nozzle from freezing in cold climates. Cryostar’s US team worked in tandem with engineers based at company HQ in Hésingue, France to deliver the new station design, orders for which have already been taken.

The biggest obstacle to the adoption of LNG vehicles is the inadequacy of the LNG fuelling infrastructure in the US — as of February 2012 there are just 46 public LNG stations, according to the DoE, although projects are underway to add more.

“It seems that Cryostar has all the pieces of the puzzle at their fingertips,” commented one visitor to the demo, Rick Victor, Business Development Manager, Energy Solutions, Linde. “They can incorporate this sophisticated pump technology [submerged pump] along with the recirculation to the tank so that they manage the boil off – Cryostar satisfies the safety concerns, the environmental concerns…and the economics, right now, are highly favourable.”