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Forklift Fuel Comparison Cng vs LPG

  • April 26, 2013

Forklift Fuel Comparisons:

Compressed Natural Gas VS Liquid Propane Gas, making the switch

Most Internal Combustion units are built with engines that run on liquid propane gas, diesel, or petrol. But what if you wanted to switch your forklift from Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)?  This article will highlight some of the benefits and detriments of converting your lift to run on compressed natural gas. The major difference between liquid propane gas and compressed natural gas? The availability and pricing in the United States of these two gasses vary immensely, for example in San Francisco there are more than 20 filling stations for compressed natural gas that cost anywhere from $2 – $2.50 per gallon.  In Tampa, FL there are only about three stations selling CNG and cost up to $3 per gallon and other locations in the country that sell it for less than $1 per gallon.  For liquid propane the supply is far greater (Same gas used for grills) and will typically cost $2.50 up to $5 per gallon. In comparison, LPG is more widely available therefore is more expensive and CNG is less expensive but can be harder to find.

When switching forklift fuel here are some reasons for considering a CNG powered engine:

-Considerably lower emission levels than petrol, diesel, and LPG.  Also, almost 50% quieter meaning less noise pollution and a safer operating environment.

-Easy refueling, the average time to fill up is less than three minutes.  Also, there is no need to load and unload large LPG cylinders which will prevent many employee injuries and have less equipment to store.

-CNG units provide the same heavy duty power as LPG lifts and do not sacrifice any power.

However, there are some negative aspects to a conversion to natural gas:

-LP trucks have tanks with enough propane gas to last enough for an 8 hour shift, which will last about two times longer than a CNG truck.

-Liquid Petroleum has higher heat energy per unit volume than Compressed Natural Gas and therefore has a higher burning efficiency.

-CNG lift trucks represent less than 1% of the market, so resale value is worse than for LP units.

-CNG is harder on an engine than LP, and therefore maintenance costs are potentially higher.

-Storing CNG with an onsite storage tank can be a hassle, and a consistent supplier will also be required.

Ultimately, the presence of Liquid Propane Gas forklift fuel will typically outweigh the benefits of switching to Compressed Natural Gas.  Ideally CNG is a good return on investment in large fleets ordering directly from manufacturers equipped with CNG capabilities, rather than an aftermarket installation.

CNG Forklift Fuel
Liquid Propane Gas Forklift



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