Roush Promotes Propane System For Vans And Cutaways

Posted on June 8, 2010

Roush Performance Products, a vehicle performance engineering company, has partnered with such vehicle manufacturers as Tuscany to offer vans that run on propane fuel which costs only $1.60 per gallon.

LPG As An Automotive Fuel

Propane as an auto fuel has a high octane value and has key properties for spark-ignited internal combustion engines. LPG as an automobile fuel carries a 97 year heritage, with the first propane based vehicle being developed in 1913.

LPG, which has propane as its primary constituent, has the advantages of producing lower emissions, offering more energy per unit mass while having a higher octane rating than gasoline.  In addition, through the use of LPG we can continue to work away from dependence on foreign companies to supply domestic energy.

LPG also has the advantage of already having an infrastructure in place to support its implementation not only as an alternative fuel, but as a primary fuel. 

LPG Safety

LPG is considered as safe as any conventional automotive fuel.  Propane is a nontoxic, non carcinogenic, and noncorrosive fuel. It poses no harm to groundwater, surface water, or soil. Since propane is odorless and colorless, an odorant, ethyl mercaptan, is added for leak detection. Propane vehicles and their respective fueling systems are designed to perform safely during both normal operations and crash situations. A pressure release device (PRD) is designed to release propane gas if pressure rises in the tank beyond safe levels.  Tanks are not filled with more than 80% to the total capacity.  This ensures there is sufficient room for the liquid to expand when heated or when the ambient temperature rises.  Moreover, in any eventuality of a leakage the gas escapes into the air and does not remain in the tank like gasoline.

LPG Emissions

Propane is an approved, clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992.  Propane is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels.  Tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that propane-fueled vehicles produce 30 percent to 90 percent less carbon monoxide emissions and approximately 50 percent fewer toxins and other smog producing emissions as compared to gasoline engines.

Propane is not a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) when released into the atmosphere.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did not find a global climate impact from propane emissions.  Propane, when burned, generates fewer GHG emissions in almost every application than conventional fuel sources.

LPG Conversion Technology

To operate a vehicle on propane as either a dedicated fuel or dual-fuel (i.e., switching between gasoline and propane) vehicle, only a few modifications to the vehicle must be made. Until recently, propane vehicles have commonly used a vapor pressure system that was somewhat similar to an old carburetor system, wherein the propane would be vaporized and mixed with combustion air in the intake plenum of the engine. This leads to lower efficiency as a result of pumping losses associated with inducting the combustion charge into the cylinder.

A more recent approach is in the form of multi-port liquid injection that is capable of delivering liquid propane directly into each cylinders intake port.  Such a system will improve breathing efficiency and thereby lead to overall improved engine efficiency.   Because LPG does not occupy a significant amount of volume within the intake, the performance of the engine will not be reduced.  Furthermore, the LPG will vaporize as it mixes with the air, absorbing energy from the air, lowering the air's temperature and ultimately increasing its density, again increasing performance.  This advantage over a gaseous system eliminates the need for forced induction in order to maintain performance. 

The single greatest drawbacks of a liquid injection system are problems associated with maintaining the propane in a liquid state up to the injectors, given the operational temperature of the engine.  This issue is addressed within the Roush LPG system.

Information: Carlos Landeros, Fleet Services Manager, ROUSH Performance, (714) 742-4845


Related Topics: alt fuel vehicles, energy savings, fuel efficiency, propane vehicles

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