In the context of today's rapidly increasing
environmental concerns, the compressed natural gas (CNG) car offers
an important alternative to conventionally fuelled automobiles.
Unfortunately, up to now, most CNG cars have been little more than
normal gasoline cars retrofited for CNG application. The full potential
for emission reduction and reduced fuel consumption represented
by CNG technology has yet to be realised.
This project was aimed at developing dedicated
equipment for natural gas-fuelled passenger cars. Software modules
were developed for the design of improved combustion processes and
systems within the CNG engine, including a new natural gas injection
system and a special catalyst. The new developments have made for
considerable reductions in energy consumption and toxic gas emissions
compared to conventional CNG cars.
The final result is a fully optimised
and marketable CNG-driven passenger car, now being produced and
sold by project partner Fiat. Production start-up involved the engagement
of an additional 80 employees and another 30 are due to join. Partners
say their new CNG system represents an important step ahead for
the European automotive industry.