General Electric Company recently announced plans to develop a way to refuel natural gas cars within people’s homes. Their ultimate goal is to develop a natural gas home fueling station that could sell for $500 a unit and reduce fueling times to under an hour.

“Since the beginning of the automotive industry, cars and trucks have driven on diesel fuel or unleaded gas,” said Anna Lis Laursen, project leader and chemical engineer at GE Global Research. “But with new technologies to reduce the cost of CNG re-fueling and continued improvements in battery technology, the prospects for vehicles that run on alternative fuels will only grow.”

GE hopes to create an in-home natural gas fueling station that could sell for $500 per unit and can fuel vehicles in under an hour. Credit: General Electric Inc.

Current home fueling stations cost around $5,000 and have re-fueling times between 5-8 hours, though prices for natural gas are at an all-time low. To help assuage this demand and make natural gas fueling more accessible, GE is working in partnership with Chart Industries and researchers from the University of Missouri through the U.S. Government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E).

“The goal of our project is to design an at-home refueling station that is much simpler in design,” said Laursen. “More cost effective and reduces re-fueling times to under an hour. By reducing the time and cost of re-fueling, we can break down the barriers that are preventing more widespread adoption of CNG vehicles. If we can meet our cost targets, the price of a home refueling station would be less than typical appliances in the home such as a dishwasher or stove.”

Worldwide, there are currently around 15 million vehicles that are fueled by some form of natural gas. There are more than 250,000 in the United States. U.S. natural gas vehicles are primarily used in fleets such as buses and delivery trucks. There are some commercially available passenger natural gas based cars as well.

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