Abstract.

A general strategy to promote Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an engine fuel is presently launched in France by Gaz de France, the French Institute of Petroleum (IFP), automotive and truck industries, for the markets of captive fleets and urban transport. The objective is a fleet of 30 to 50000 vehicles by the year 2005.

The programme is now encouraged by public authorities considering energy diversification, prevision of environmental impacts (perceived pollution and greenhouse effects), impact on the trade balance and technicoeconomical assessments.

The studies include new engine developments (light and heavy duty vehicles) adapted to this fuel, test and research on specific catalytic converters and improvements on the on-board storage by the use of lighter materials (composite tanks).

An important work has also been undertaken to update technical regulations: light-duty vehicles, city buses, refuelling stations, certification procedure for CNG components, agreement procedure for conversion kits installers...

INTRODUCTION

Like all the other countries of the world, France is interested in replacement fuels. The objective pursued is threefold: to diversify energy sources, to protect the environment and to obtain the best possible socio-economic results. Since 1991, interest has been growing in the use of natural-gas fuel. Discussions have been stimulated by the French authorities and furthered by three main players: Gaz de France, the automobile industry and the Institut Français du Pétrole.

This paper starts by outlining how natural gas can best be used as a fuel in the light of its inherent qualities and specifies the areas (bus engines in urban zones, captive fleets of private cars) in which its potential advantages would be of most benefit. The paper then describes the design and development of engines adapted to use this fuel and the projects for its development in France with particular reference to regulatory aspects, the creation of a distribution circuit and the design and production of suitable vehicle fuel tanks. 1. THE UNIVERSALITY AND SPECIFIC FUEL Pollution and road transport CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL-GAS In France, the transport sector accounts for more Proceedings of the 14th World Petroleum Congress 0 1994 The Executive Board of the World Petroleum Congress Published by John Wiley & Sons than 33% of final energy consumption. Largely dominated by the road transport component, the sector is particularly dependent upon oil products and absorbs some 60% of total hydrocarbon consumption. Virtually all the energy needs of road transport are met by oil products.

While emission from industrial facilities and heating have been halved si

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