Agility Fuel So­lu­tions en­ters In­dia with cleaner, long-range prod­ucts

Agility Fuel So­lu­tions, the lead­ing global provider of clean fuel so­lu­tions for com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, en­ters In­dia.

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Head­quar­tered in Costa Mesa, Cal­i­for­nia, USA, Agility Fuel So­lu­tions is into clean fuel so­lu­tions. The com­pany makes a va­ri­ety of clean en­ergy prod­ucts to run trucks and buses in­stead of diesel. The com­pany’s prod­ucts in­clude mod­u­lar on-board stor­age sys­tems for Com­pressed Nat­u­ral Gas (CNG), Liq­uid Nat­u­ral Gas (LNG), propane, and hy­dro­gen; bat­tery packs for elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles; low-emis­sions propane and nat­u­ral gas en­gines, and propane dis­pensers.

In case of the CNG prod­ucts, Agility man­u­fac­tures Type-4 com­pos­ite cylin­ders in its Lin­coln, Ne­braska, USA fa­cil­ity, the largest­ca­pac­ity fa­cil­ity, glob­ally, for the man­u­fac­ture of com­pos­ite CNG cylin­ders for ve­hi­cles. Agility’s prod­ucts are sold to global au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers in­clud­ing Daim­ler, Volvo, Sca­nia, MAN, and New Flyer for use in their medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. The com­pany and its pre­de­ces­sors sell clean fuel prod­ucts in 45 coun­tries. The com­pany has op­er­a­tions in the USA, Canada, Nor­way, the UK, and Brazil, with a sales of­fice in Ben­galuru. In In­dia, Agility plans to ex­pand its busi­ness ex­ten­sively.

Com­pos­ite Cylin­ders for the In­dian Mar­ket

With the In­dian au­to­mo­tive mar­ket fo­cused on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the strin­gent Bharat Stage VI (BSVI) emis­sions stan­dards from April 2020, CNG and other clean fu­els are nat­u­rally on top of the mind for Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEMs) and ve­hi­cle own­ers alike. A chal­lenge in the large ve­hi­cle mar­ket has been the range lim­i­ta­tions and heavy weight of on-board steel CNG cylin­ders. How­ever, Type-4 com­pos­ite cylin­ders such as those made by Agility are poised to over­come these chal­lenges. In 2017, In­dia’s CCOE ap­proved the use of Type4 cylin­ders, open­ing the In­dian mar­ket to these light­weight gas cylin­ders which are in wide use across the Euro­pean and North Amer­i­can mar­kets for more than 20 years now. Com­pos­ite cylin­ders are the lat­est and most ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies. They have a pedi­gree of over 50 years in au­to­mo­tive and aerospace ap­pli­ca­tions. Agility’s cylin­ders busi­ness in fact made com­pos­ite cylin­ders used on the Space Shut­tle in the 1980s, as an ex­am­ple of mis­sion crit­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions to demon­strate safety, re­li­a­bil­ity and per­for­mance.

Type-4 cylin­ders are made with a plas­tic liner that is fused to alu­minum ‘bosses’, the open­ings at either end to which gas valves are at­tached. Over this liner, is wrapped a high-strength car­bon fiber com­pos­ite. These com­pos­ite cylin­ders of­fer sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tages over steel cylin­ders, es­pe­cially when pack­aged into a CNG stor­age sys­tem. The Type-4 cylin­ders are 70% lighter than

steel cylin­ders. Be­cause they have a plas­tic liner, they ex­hibit zero cor­ro­sion or rust­ing ir­re­spec­tive of the qual­ity of the gas; in fact, in­ter­na­tional stan­dards do not re­quire pe­ri­odic hy­dro­static retest­ing of Type-4 cylin­ders as is the case for the steel cylin­ders. In ad­di­tion, the cylin­ders’ plas­tic liner is not sub­ject to metal fa­tigue as the tank is filled and emp­tied over many cy­cles. Be­cause of their con­struc­tion, Type-4 cylin­ders can be made in much larger di­men­sions than steel cylin­ders. This al­lows fewer, larger cylin­ders to be used to store the same amount of gas, mak­ing the over­all gas stor­age sys­tem on a ve­hi­cle sim­pler and lighter.

Long-Range Com­pos­ite CNG Bus Sys­tems

Agility also of­fers com­plete CNG sys­tems to bus and truck man­u­fac­tur­ers, in­clud­ing com­pos­ite cylin­ders plumbed into stor­age ar­rays on the roof or un­der­neath the body of a bus, with an in­te­grated fuel man­age­ment mod­ule for fill­ing, pres­sure reg­u­la­tion, fuel fil­tra­tion, and elec­tronic con­trol and telem­at­ics. Be­cause of its use of com­pos­ite cylin­ders, the com­pany is able to of­fer a CNG stor­age sys­tem with the same CNG stor­age ca­pac­ity as in the case of a typ­i­cal In­dian city bus hav­ing 250-300 km range. It makes use of 2 large com­pos­ite cylin­ders in­stead of 8 to 10 steel ones. This then radically sim­pli­fies the fuel stor­age sys­tem, re­duc­ing the amount of plumb­ing and ex­pen­sive valves needed, and dras­ti­cally re­duc­ing the num­ber of po­ten­tial leak points. Most im­por­tantly, this sys­tem weighs a full 750 kg less than a sys­tem of sim­i­lar ca­pac­ity made with steel. It trans­lates to a re­duc­tion of 750 kg in weight on the roof of the bus, which al­lows for the bus it­self to be built with a lighter struc­ture. This light weight­ing con­trib­utes greatly to­wards in­creased pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity, bet­ter mileage, bet­ter per­for­mance, lower main­te­nance, lower cost of op­er­a­tions and im­proved ease of driv­ing and safety.

Agility ad­di­tion­ally can also of­fer larger ca­pac­ity CNG sys­tems with 4 large com­pos­ite cylin­ders that en­able a range of over 800 km be­tween re­fu­el­ings. This prod­uct, which Agility is in­tro­duc­ing at Bus­world In­dia, opens up the pos­si­bil­ity of long-range in­ter­city CNG buses in In­dia for the first time. These stor­age sys­tems can be fit­ted to new buses, and the com­pany can as­sist in con­ver­sion of the stor­age on ex­ist­ing CNG buses from steel cylin­ders to com­pos­ite cylin­ders. Through its strate­gic part­ners, Agility can also have the diesel buses con­verted to CNG or dual fuel.

Pow­er­train So­lu­tions

Agility also brings to In­dia the ca­pa­bil­ity to de­velop and cer­tify cost-ef­fec­tive and high-power nat­u­ral gas and propane en­gines based on lead­ing au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers’ diesel and gaso­line en­gines. At Bus­world In­dia 2018, the com­pany dis­played its 366NG nat­u­ral gas en­gine. This is a Gen­eral Mo­tors 6.0-litre V-8 en­gine with an Agility nat­u­ral gas fuel sys­tem, cer­ti­fied by the Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board (CARB) to meet their op­tional Low NOx emis­sions stan­dards and green­house gas emis­sions stan­dards. The 366NG de­vel­ops over 300 brake horse­power and is cer­ti­fied to have NOx emis­sions that are 90% be­low the al­ready strin­gent BSVI stan­dard.

The com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives say that they are look­ing for­ward to work­ing with In­dian man­u­fac­tur­ers to de­velop cer­ti­fied pow­er­trains that are sure to ex­ceed BSVI stan­dards. These en­gines can power newer gen­er­a­tion of buses and trucks to meet the re­quire­ments of higher power, newer emis­sion stan­dards, and in turn change the way the fleets drive. With huge in­crease in road in­fras­truc­ture in In­dia, and good qual­ity high speed high­ways in place, this cost-ef­fec­tive but high­power pow­er­train is aimed at the fu­ture In­dia.

Truck­ing Sys­tems for the Long Haul

Agility has in­te­grated LNG stor­age sys­tems on thou­sands of long-range trucks in North Amer­ica. But its high-ca­pac­ity com­pos­ite CNG sys­tems have largely re­placed LNG in that mar­ket in long range truck­ing. With var­i­ous in­no­va­tive de­sign op­tions aimed at sav­ing space and in­creased safety, Agility truck CNG sys­tems can be de­signed for a be­hind-the-cab sys­tem of up to 2300-litres wa­ter ca­pac­ity (660 DLE) and with side mount sys­tems of 800-litres wa­ter ca­pac­ity (220 DLE) each. In com­bi­na­tion, truck­ing com­pa­nies can have a horse that can haul a trailer over 1800 km on CNG. Com­bined with Agility’s high­power CNG en­gines, In­dian fleet own­ers can look for­ward to haul large loads at higher speeds and with greater ef­fi­ciency across In­dia—say, from Pune to Delhi, or Mum­bai to Kolkata— us­ing CNG. Long-range CNG is ex­pected to rev­o­lu­tionise the In­dian truck trans­port in­dus­try, and with a pres­ence in In­dia, Agility looks for­ward to turn­ing this idea into a re­al­ity.

Fu­ture Fuel Op­tions

Recog­nis­ing that no sin­gle fuel will be the pre­ferred so­lu­tion in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, the com­pany also has in place so­lu­tions for propane pow­er­trains, as well as hy­dro­gen stor­age sys­tems and mod­u­lar bat­tery packs. One of the pi­o­neers in hy­dro­gen ve­hi­cles, Agility part­nered with fuel cell man­u­fac­tur­ers start­ing in 2001 to put hy­dro­gen ve­hi­cles on the road in North Amer­ica in a va­ri­ety of uses. More re­cently, the com­pany has com­pleted hy­dro­gen stor­age sys­tems that are set­ting dura­bil­ity records in bus fleets in the USA and Canada, and hy­dro­gen stor­age sys­tems for heavy trucks from ma­jor global ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers be­ing tested for goods move­ment in Cal­i­for­nia. It of­fers a va­ri­ety of hy­dro­gen sys­tems to­day with 350 bar op­er­at­ing pres­sure and is ac­tively work­ing to­ward com­pos­ite hy­dro­gen stor­age sys­tems op­er­at­ing at 700 bar pres­sure, which will en­able more ef­fi­cient on-board stor­age of this light­weight, zero-emis­sions fuel. Agility also launched this spring a line of con­fig­urable, high­per­for­mance bat­tery packs for elec­tric and hy­brid trucks and buses. Tak­ing mass-pro­duced high-volt­age bat­tery mod­ules, Agility com­bines these into sealed packs of vary­ing shapes and sizes to meet the needs of a range of ve­hi­cle types.

Clean En­ergy in In­dia

With its range of so­lu­tions that span across CNG, propane, hy­dro­gen, and elec­tric sys­tems, the com­pany is poised to help the global and In­dian au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try stay fu­tur­eready for the next 10 years. And with Agility’s grow­ing pres­ence in In­dia and com­mit­ment to clean air, that fu­ture cer­tainly looks bright.

2. Agility’s Low-NOx 300+ bhp nat­u­ral gas en­gine, the 366NG. 2

1. The dou­bledecker city bus fleet in Not­ting­ham, UK runs on re­new­able biomethane CNG, and uses Agility’s Type-4 CNG stor­age sys­tems. 1

4. Agility’s Type-4 Com­pos­ite CNG Cylin­ders. 4

3. Agility’s ProRail side-mount CNG fuel sys­tem for trucks. 3

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