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Greetings from Finland

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  • Greetings from Finland

    Hello Folks,

    I've been driving with OEM CNG Volvo V70 for 1,5 years now and have been looking for a place to chat with other CNG drivers. This forum looks very promising and I look forward bringing my two cents into the discussion of this fascinating technology.

    Some difficulties which I have had with CNG have been resolved and now I'm a happy camper with a reliable, clean running car with low fuel costs. I'm interested to learn more about how to utilize the high knocking resistance of CNG in order to increase the engine power. Currently SAAB is already offering a turbocharged flexifuel model which delivers some extra muscle on ethanol. And ethanol has only about 104 octane number where as CNG has a whopping 130!!! It is a crying shame that the CNG BiFuel engine has to limit the compression ratio according to the gas octane. Perhaps in the future along with the incresing number of CNG drivers, we will be able to enjoy the full potential of this great, clean fuel with more sophisticated engine systems.

    But in the meantime, let's enjoy the numerous benefits CNG is already offering today for the enlightened people, the CNG drivers!

    Best Regards,

  • #2
    Re: Greetings from Finland

    Welcome, What types of cng vehicles are available to the public,and are they more costly than a standard petrol or diesel version of the same? Are there incentives offered by the government to purchase or convert vehicles to cng?


    • #3
      Re: Greetings from Finland

      Thanks, at least the following OEM cng cars can be currently purchased as new:

      VW Caddy EcoFuel
      VW Caddy Maxi Ecofuel
      Iveco Daily
      Mercedes Benz B170 NGT
      Mercedes Benz E 200 NGT
      Mercedes Benz Sprinter
      Opel Combo
      Opel Zafira

      Several older models can be easily imported from other countries. I bought mine from Germany. Sadly Volvo does not sell anymore new CNG models : (

      The CNG feature does not count anymore for much extra, due to the low CO2 emissions they produce. Currently the tax for a new car is determined by the CO2 emissions. There are no incentives available, and retrofitting is still a
      new thing here and it is not particularly supported by the authorities.

      However the CNG still costs so much less than gasoline & diesel, that it's enough incentive for me : )


      • #4
        Re: Greetings from Finland

        Are those all bi-fuel?
        FYI Honda's dedicated CNG Civic has a 12.5 to 1 compression ratio to optimize the high octane fuel, maybe they need some dedicated CNG cars in Europe, and throw a turbo on it.
        Welcome to the forum!
        BLUE 09 GX


        • #5
          Re: Greetings from Finland

          Yep, they're all bi-fuel. I guess some models are more tuned towards CNG, but mine has only 10,3:1 compression ratio to be able to deal with the regular 95 octane crap. It's a pity they had to be so cautious, because I think you can get atleast 98 octane benzine in most places and Shell even offers their sweet V-power stuff that is 99+. Well I guess I'm not entitled to buy that anyhow for my in-line fiver ; ) Well, I'm quite fine with the 2.4 litre engine with 140 hp that goes 11 miles per CNG kilogram. BTW, do you buy CNG in weigh or volume units in USA? We buy it in kilos. It's practical because the temperature varies so much.

          Dedicated CNG:s have a some hard times ahead here due to the small number of filling stations. They are buildin more all the time, but currently 11 stations are nothing to brag about. The target is to reach 30 stations in 2010, maybe then you could already imagine using a dedicated car. Another downside of the current CNG network is that most stations work only with a dedicated gas-card. Currently only one station accepts VISA/Mastercard. Talk about hospitality!

          I see BiFuel as the best option to allow flexible vehicle usage and also to extend the maximal driving range. However the low energy utilization of CNG would be nice to resolve. I think SAAB had a prototype engine with adjustable compression ratio, but it has not become a reality yet. And I guess it never will, now that the whole company is collapsing. Well, perhaps some other company with more resources would be brave enough to continue the development.

          Future of CNG/CBG does seem to offer many possibilities though. A guy in middle-Finland has been developing bio-gas equipment for quite some time, using cow manure as raw material. This technology is also to be implemented in waste water treatment plants in some communities. The plants will then feed the purified biogas to the existing NG pipeline. Currently the developer thinks that it would be more effective to collect the hey or any other biomass directly to the reactors, rather than letting the cows consume some of it's energy. If he gets his process to work with raw hey etc, then we are talking business. I can write updates here when ever I hear something new.

          Thanks for the warm welcome, I'm proud to be part of this kind of active and friendly community. I'm done with critisism and try to make atleast something good for the future. Without open interchange of information, very little would really happen.

          Best Regards, Hewey

          EDIT: Found the link to introduction of the SAAB Variable:

          Boy what a treat it would be: CNG BiFuel with variable compression ratio and a supercharger... lots of muscle and superb fuel economy...
          Last edited by Hewey; 02-19-2009, 03:28 AM.


          • #6
            Re: Greetings from Finland

            People here in the USA probably believe bi-fuel cars are the best way to implement CNG into the car market. I would consider owning one if I retire my Chevy Astro cargo van that I drive to tow my personal watercraft.
            Here in California the octane of regular gas is 89, and the highest is 93. In Arizona at the CFN station in Parker they used to sell Aviation fuel at over 100 octane for high performance boats. You could also get it from a couple fuel docks. My 85 Ford Ranger P/U would run fine on regular gas and even Mexican gas with 10.5 to 1, probably would not have ran as good without EFI.
            CNG is sold as GGE (Gasoline Gallon Equivalent) which is the same energy as a gallon of gas. It is sold by weight which is 5.66 LBs/GGE. Your 11 miles per KG of CNG comes out to about 28 mpg which is good.
            I am fortunate here in southern california to have many stations, and most are open 24/7 and take most credit cards. I have never had an issue with getting fuel except for one unreliable station on my commute, which I dont bother with anymore (Ontario). I am very happy with driving dedicated NGVs now for almost 3 years, my '99 Civic averaged around 36mpg, and in my '09 I have done a few runs of over 42mpg on the highway.
            BLUE 09 GX


            • #7
              Re: Greetings from Finland

              Octane numbers seem to vary a lot in different countries. No wonder car companies will tune the engines to suit them all, that's just reasonable.

              I see, the stations here show a similar equivalent number for benzine litre. It is a very attractive number to show next to a benzine station : )

              You are very lucky to have such an infrastructure that already favors dedicated vehicles. And boy they seem to suck every bit of energy out of CNG! Have fun!

              Damn I started to like the supercharger idea so much. I have to start to look around for a used compressor to throw under the hood. Propably I've watched too much movies (Mad Max etc.) but it would be so sweet to switch on a supercharger while running on CNG...


              • #8
                Re: Greetings from Finland

                Hello to Hewey in Finland,

                Glad to see a country going forward with CNG . . . . al beit in a small way.

                According to Intl Assoc of NGV at the most recent numbers on Finland are 150 NGV vehicles and 8 refueling stations. How accurate is this since it's old data at June 2007??

                Also curious about year of your Volvo and whether any bi-fuel vehicles are available there and their street price?? Here in USA there has been roller coaster ride in prices of NGV's with 2007 being low, 2008 being extremely high, and now 2009 dropping down to very low. EXAMPLE: 2000 Ford F150 pickup (dedicated cng) with power locks & windows with only 58K miles went for $4,000 USD . . . . that seems like super bargain.

                Glad to hear from you . . . . Final Question: Any development of GasAtHome home refueling device that was developed in Netherlands?? What is street price in USD of such a VRA and does is have 248 bar (ie 3,600 psi) capability to slow-fill cng vehicle??

                Thanks . . . . cngacrossusa


                • #9
                  Re: Greetings from Finland

                  Originally posted by Hewey View Post
                  Octane numbers seem to vary a lot in different countries. No wonder car companies will tune the engines to suit them all, that's just reasonable.
                  Europe and the US use different tests to measure octane and that explains the large gap (5 Octane) in values. Europe uses the RON (research octane number) while the US uses an average of the RON and MON (Motor octane number). Basically our 87 Octane gasoline here in the US is the same fuel sold as 92 Octane in Europe. Here's link to a Wikipedia article that explains it pretty well:


                  Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                  Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                  Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)


                  • #10
                    Re: Greetings from Finland

                    Hello cngacrossusa,

                    It's good for any country to support the use of alternative fuels incase the supply of the traditional fuels someday ceases. I don't know the present exact number of the NGV's, but I think it's still way lower than 1000 cars. 11 filling stations are up and running and some more will shortly join them.

                    It seems that the market there is so big that you can really have bargains every now and then. Here the market is so small that such phenomen has not happened yet. You can have a view of the street prices from here, although it is finnish text, you can surely see the important numbers.

                    However, it is not expensive to fly to e.g. Germany, pick a NGV from the 2000+ list (link) and drive home. Mine (year 2000) cost 6000€ there, the trip cost about 1000€ and the taxes were 4000€, making a grand total of 11000€.

                    The only home refilling equipment that is available to my knowledge is the Phill, which costs 6000€ installed. The prize is ridiculous, I don't know anyone who would pay that much for it. You'd have to use it about 20 years to overcome the costs at the current prizes... I think that the operating pressure of the existing cars here is always the 3000 psi / 200 bar, so the filling stations propably only meet this level. It would take some serious incentives before the home refueling would become even slightly interesting.

                    It's nice to be able to share the experiences. It seems that quite many people all over the world are having same kind of challenges and the more we know what happens around, we can compare facts and maybe influence the local authorities and make things better.

                    Hi Adrian,

                    Thanks for the correction about the octane numbers. No confusion no more!

                    Best Regards, Hewey


                    • #11
                      Re: Greetings from Finland

                      Hello Hewey,
                      What do you think about this two cars?

                      Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo(maakaasu) ecoFLEX
                      Finnish version:

                      Passat and Passat Estate Ecofuel TSI with direct fuel injection and twincharger
                      (Data for estate: acceleration 0-100 km/h 9,9 sec / topspeed 208 km/h /
                      CO² emissions with DSG in natural gas mode 121 g/km / Horsepower 150 or 110 kW /
                      Maximum torque 220 Nm )

                      German version:

                      German version:



                      • #12
                        Re: Greetings from Finland

                        Hello ZafiraCNGGermany,

                        Thanks for the links. It seems that the car makers finally start to see the CNG segment as a profitable area. These cars are something that we ought have had from day one. I hope they soon arrive in Finland too.

                        The existing CNG's are still good cars however and anyone should have a clean consience driving with one, the new models are just even better. I hope that everyone having enough bucks to buy a new car, would end up with a CNG model. Then when they have driven the expensive miles away and the ignitor coils start to really screw them up, CNG old skoolers can buy them as "wreckages", fix them easy and enjoy nice, reliable, low fuel cost cars once again : )

                        I bet my ass off that it is possible to drive over 1.000.000 kilometers with a properly maintained CNG engine. Even when running 20000 km with the same oil, the filter seems still almost as new. These must be the luckiest combustion engines there is. No wonder they run so great year after year.

                        Regards, Hewey


                        • #13
                          Re: Greetings from Finland

                          Hello Hewey
                          This is an old thread to resurrect, but you have the same car as me. A v70/1 1999 with the dreaded Necam CNG system. You can get repair kits on Ebay now. at last. Your tank must be about to expire. Mine too. Have you sourced a new one?


                          • #14
                            Re: Greetings from Finland

                            Note you can also send the member a private message, just click on his name and the menu for this will appear.


                            • #15
                              Re: Greetings from Finland

                              I shall give it go. Thanks