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What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

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  • What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

    Team,

    What are some of the problems with your home refueling appliance, and what would be an ideal replacement for the unit?

    Does the compressor fail due to lack of oil?

    Do the controls fail?

    I am interested in all feedback and suggestions.

    Bradley Trembath
    President
    NatGasCar LLC

  • #2
    Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

    I had my VRA installed over 8 years ago and overall it has been a good unit for me, but if you're asking me what I'd want to make a better one...
    1. Lower the replacement part costs. Replacement part costs are VERY high with the Fuelmaker FMQ2-36. e.g., I had a failed (leaky, wouldn't completely shut off from the source side when venting) fill valve replaced with a used/remanufactured fill valve and the part cost was almost $800. This was last year, while the company was in business and operating "normally."
    2. Assure "nominal" operation at high ambient temperatures (design for ambient use to 120 F minimum). FMQ2-36 units do not operate reliably at high ambient temperature. OK, so it's hot in Arizona... the unit won't run an hour during the day this time of the summer (granted the temperature can exceed the 45C ambient temperature rating here, it likely will today; but anything over 95F (35C) seems problematic with my unit)
    3. It's not really a "problem," but I'd prefer a unit that filled at a faster rate (we just have the one VRA, and three vehicles that use CNG, plus a fourth if you count when my daughter makes it to our side of town and is using her bi fuel pickup)
    2008 GX (extended range, trunkless version)
    Polished Metal Metallic 2012 Civic Natural Gas
    Fuelmaker FMQ-2-36 (since 2001)
    Previously owned: 2000 GX (11 years), 1995 Bi-fuel Sonoma, 2000 Bifuel Tahoe, 2000 Bi-fuel F150

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

      The VRA compressor is designed as oil-less and runs out 4000 hrs. It is built for industrial use and is a reliable product. With FM having been sold to the new company, Impco Technologies a good future is likely for the company.

      The Phill, certified for indoor operation is limited by the NFPA to 50cfm/hr at which it performs at average. (.6gge lower pressure- .42gge at the top 3% of fill) The Q2 runs at .9gge/hr at top pressures. If one needs more capacity, the VRAs can be daisy chained together. (the Q-8 exceeds the NFPAs 300cfm/hr for residential use)

      Check the threads for reliability issues but keep in mind that the happy user is the silent user.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

        Thanks for the feedback.

        You will see much more of my company very soon..........

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

          Originally posted by NatGasCarCo View Post
          Thanks for the feedback.

          You will see much more of my company very soon..........
          OK, Since I'm in limbo and waiting for some word about installing a Phill...
          I'll Bite..
          What is your company name and can I get some more info.
          Silver 09 GX
          Phill G:1.5

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

            Since you seem to be designing a home refueler, some pointers:
            1. Safety is important. Get the necessary approvals, to be able to get them: make sure you have deep pockets.
            2. FuelMaker uses oil-free compressors. Oil lubricated compressors do the job as well, but a suitable service infrastructure is essential. Don't sell to locations where you cannot service.
            3. FuelMaker recently went down. Hire some of their most usefull people to get millions of dollars worth of know-how.
            4. Everybody has different needs. Don't make a zillion variants for all those demands. Just one standard compressor (in the 0.5 - 2 GGE range) is enough. 0.5 - 1 GGE is only for home refueling (needs to be absolutely idiot proof). 1 - 2 GGE is (also) for light commercial applications: you should be able to vary by connecting multiple units and/or equipping them with 1 or 2 hoses or a fill line where you can connect as many lines the customer wants.
            5. The main problem I have experienced with oil lubricated home refuelers is noise. The Phill is extremely quiet, don't invest in a home refueler that forces people to close all windows at night.

            Once you have a proven product I might be interested in importing to Europe.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

              Thanks for the additional information.

              Safety is my main concern. I am already working with CSA to gain listing status and approval.

              The fill rates that you are discussing are contained within my design parameters, and our unit does have the ability to change fill rate using alternate power options (One Unit Design).

              Our organization is well organized, well funded, and pushing hard for approval. One of our sister companies is a manufacture of acoustical components for the automotive industry. I am very experienced with NVH issues, and I am working to keep our unit's noise levels at appropriate levels.

              Again, thank you for the updates and info.

              Best Regards,

              Bradley Trembath
              President
              NatGasCar LLC

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                FMQ2-36

                Too Loud. Too Slow. Too Expensive

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                  Can not fuel vehicle in the winter due to fuel freeze. Columbia Gas (Ohio) says their gas is dry enough so the problem must be with the Phill unit. FuelMaker said that the new unit they sent me was thouroughly tested so the problem must be too much moisture in the gas. Both companies pointing the fingers at each other but, of course, I'm the person with a car I can't refill in the winter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                    Gee, a rock and a hard place.

                    Since a Phill, or any other refueing compressor does not generate moisture, I would wonder where it is coming from?

                    You may have to look into a coalescing pre-filter to clean and dry your gas. Check with your FM dealer for one. They are available.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                      Originally posted by jadfitz View Post
                      Can not fuel vehicle in the winter due to fuel freeze. Columbia Gas (Ohio) says their gas is dry enough so the problem must be with the Phill unit.
                      The gas may be dry enough at the point they measure it. If you're at the end of a long low pressure line that's burried in wet land, the gas will get wet.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                        Moisture for pipeline grade gas and for fuel grade are 2 very different things. Your utilities moisture will change thorough out the day, season, and year. In So. Ca. gas from under ground storage Is VERY WET. I would recommend installing a desiccant dryer before your Fuelmaker.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                          Bradley,

                          As you have an MBA I suggest you think a lot about the value chain and the business system that a home refueling device will live in. You will find that the technology is really just a small part of what can make this kind of product a success. If you want to see how the people who developed the Fuelmaker technology dealt with that, see the chapter in Dr. Vijay Jolly's book that deals with mobilizing stakeholders. There is also a business case study written about this by the IMI business school.

                          Note that the VRA/HRA did not just happen to not use oil, and that is not the reason it is quiet. You will not have a viable home product if it uses any oil. Lots of reasons for that. It was conceived as an oil free unit from day one.

                          Next, if you are going to design the next technology that is going to be around for 20+ years(yes - FM techlnoolgy has lasted that long), you will need to do more than to cobble together a few parts that compress gas. What you will need to do is to commercialize an entirely new way to approch the issue. Otherwise, the odds of you selling more than a few of these are very very long.

                          Having said all of the above, the market conditions right now are the best they have ever been. Wish you the best of luck

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                            Use of oil is a disadvantage, but comes with a big advantage: oil-lubricated compressors are a lot cheaper. FuelMaker units are too expensive and will never be a success as long as they remain this expensive. FuelMaker failed because they didn't dare change their basic design and go for the cheaper (but less optimal) solution.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What are some of the problems with your current Home Refueling Appliance?

                              Oil compressors are cheaper until the oil gets into the vehicle fuel system. There are posts here with the blues of filter changes and etc.

                              FM HRA compressors cost money, but less the $2000 tax incentive (and some states have incentives also) the investment is quite reasonable. Then you have to look at the ROI. CNG being 4 times cheaper than gasoline. (my area, present time frame) Reduced maintenance, the environment and national security all play into the big picture.

                              All the negative and yet the mag wheels, electric windows, A/C, moon roof, and audio system are no big deal. Does it all boil down to what the car salesman has available? Maybe if the cars look like Caddys more people would want to drive past the church at the end of Sunday service.

                              Really helping the CNG market is to adopt a positive outlook that is only aquired through an understanding of what CNG is and can do for us personally and nationally.

                              It is coming mainstream. Stop resisting change.

                              Comment

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