As the prices of ‘traditional’ vehicle fuels continue to rise, so vehicle manufacturers and drivers continue to seek more cost-effective and efficient ways to propel road vehicles.

Among the fastest-growing of these is compressed natural gas (CNG), for which running costs are around 35% of those of gasoline.

The rapid growth in CNG vehicles – of which there are now nearly 15 million worldwide - is being accompanied by an increase in the number of CNG filling stations across the globe, which has now topped 20,000.

Traditional systems for delivering CNG into vehicles rely on a complex arrangement comprising a regulator, solenoid valve, rotary actuator and ball valve.

Not only does this create significant potential for leakage through the number of components and extensive pipework required, but invariably some gas is vented into the atmosphere during the filling cycle.

Recognising this, Norgren, an international market leader in pneumatic motion and fluid control technology, has developed an innovative, high-performance valve product which delivers Engineering Advantage by reducing component count and cost, minimising potential leak paths, and eliminating waste during filling.

Drawing on Norgren’s extensive global experience in high pressure gas valve design, the single high-pressure direct acting valve is suitable for both OEM installation and retrofitting and can operate at a temperature range between -40ºC and +70ºC, making it suitable for use in most environments in the world.

It is designed to cope easily with the working pressures of up to 320 bar typically found in the applications. Installation and servicing are both significantly simplified, while its design ensures no gas is lost during the filling cycle, minimising wastage of precious resources, reducing air contamination, and saving cost compared with traditional systems.

To complement the valves portfolio, Norgren also offers an extensive range of solenoid valve manifold solutions designed specifically for CNG applications. Specifiers can select from a three-way valve manifold which can be used in propriety panels or in a bus or truck dispenser; a six-way manifold which can be used in a two-sided small vehicle dispenser; or an eleven-way manifold to control a priority panel and dispenser. All manifolds have integrated check valves.

Jon Taylor, Global Sector Head – Energy at Norgren, explained: “Norgren and its subsidiaries across the globe have been at the forefront of innovation in the design of valves for high-pressure applications of up to 1,000 bar. Drawing on our pedigree and technical expertise in the energy sector, we have developed solutions which save time, cost and waste in both OEM and retrofit CNG compressor and dispensing applications. These products have been extensively tested by some of the leading players in the CNG sector, with impressive results.”