The 2020+ CO2 and regulated noxious emission limits will impose drastic technological choices. Even though in 2030 65% of road transportation vehicles will be still powered by internal combustion engines, a progressive increase of hybrids and battery electric vehicles is expected. In parallel, the use of low-carbon alternative fuels, such as natural gas/ biomethane, will play a fundamental role in accelerating the process of de-carbonization of the transportation sector supporting the virtuous circular economy.
Since the nineties FCA has invested in CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) powered vehicles becoming leader with one of the largest related product portfolios in Europe. A progressive improvement of this technology has been always pursued but, facing the next decades, a further improvement of the current CNG powertrain technology is mandatory to achieve even higher efficiency and remove residual gaps versus conventional fuels.
CNG direct injection technology will be a step forward because it can be easily applied on new generation spark ignited engines providing simultaneous benefits in terms of performance (gasoline-like) and engine efficiency (4-6%), particularly in combination with variable valve actuation, advanced boosting, high compression ratio and alternative combustion cycles.
The paper shows a comprehensive overview of this technology evolution, focusing on a related large collaborative project named “GasOn” supported by the EU commission.