GM announces plans to develop its first natural gas-powered engine

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 1, 2011

General Motors Co. made a surprise announcement that it will be developing its first natural gas-powered engine. U.S. automobiles have largely been dependent on gasoline but that may soon change as GM has embarked on a plan to use natural gas, a fuel that’s both cleaner and less expensive.

For a time, GM has avoided considering alternative fuels but apparently it has changed its mind and decided that smaller players may be on to something that has a ton of potential.

For example, Marlon Kirby of Indianapolis has put together a supercar that runs on liquid natural gas. The Maxximus LNG 2000, which is valued at $1 million, was built after 21,000 man hours. It is now preparing to undertake speed trials. Kirby expects it to have a top speed that exceeds 200 miles per hour.

Experts say that the U.S. has up to 100 years of supply of natural gas. This is made possible with a new drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing that releases huge reserves of natural gas caught in shale rock.

Primarily, natural gas is being used as electricity generation and for industry. However, there are only 120,000 natural gas vehicles on the road and just 900 filling stations, representing a small portion of the total demand.

Topics: gm

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