The operation process concept of this station is based on a continuous process, similar to the assembly process of a car factory. Buses are identified automatically upon arrival at the station and are quickly and efficiently provided with all necessary services which are required for optimal performance, such as the provision of CNG, lubricants, air, as well as vacuum cleaning.
A helpful fact to understand the magnitude of this installation: it is possible to fill out 400 buses in less than three hours and a half. Because of this and other outstanding features, this station may be regarded as “the Record-Breaker CNG Station”.
The facility has a total compression capacity of more than 24.000 m3/hour, with an exclusive direct filling system called “COMMON MANIFOLD®” connected to nine ultra-fast flow CNG dispensers, which rates this CNG station amongst those that feature the largest compression capacity as well as the fastest refilling capacity in the world. The average filling time of each bus is 3 minutes, with an average filling volume of 180 Nm3 per each vehicle.
The station has a central control system, which administrates the equipment operation, so as to optimize the working hours of each compressor. This control system also ensures the constant supply of CNG since one of the most important objectives of this installation is that it can operate 24 hours a day. Moreover, the compressors have a system of intelligent speed control, called “ENERSAVE®”, which regulates and adjusts the compression capacity according to the expected demand for CNG. This ensures the availability of CNG flow at the same time it is required and, in addition, it reduces the station energy consumption by decreasing the number of equipment starts and stops.
On the other hand, it is important to note that the ability to control all the station can be remotely monitored via Internet, which facilitates its technical supervision and increases its reliability due to the permanent monitoring.
A striking feature of this station is that it includes a exclusive technology called “ColdBox ®”, which uses the existing internal energy of the gas to cool the gas used to fill the buses, achieving temperatures below ambient temperature and avoiding the typical overheating of the fluid inside the bus storage, during the refilling process. The Coldbox® solution, allows us to increase the refilling volume of the vehicles in more than 20%, which is very important for this type of projects, so that the buses can make trips of greater distance and / or reduce the refilling frequency.
The environmental aspects were important factors in this project, and that is why the facility is equipped with a natural gas vent collection system, which ensures the complete absence of methane gas leaks into the atmosphere.
Moreover, the station has an automatic fleet management system, which identifies and enables each user on the refilling point, it carries out a detailed control of consumption for each vehicle and provides daily reports for monitoring.
Regarding security aspects, the installation includes safety systems which act automatically in case of any potential anomalies, and additionally it has several emergency stops located in areas of easy access, which can be activated manually by the operator in case of need. This ensures complete safety of the station operation.
Finally, it should be mentioned that power generating units were also supplied, which ensure the necessary electric energy required for the operation of the station in case of power outage.
The facility described has its main records in the combination of the an advanced CNG compression and refilling technologies with the modern practice in bus servicing processes, allowing to regard this installation as a “Record-Breaker CNG Station”.
Source: GNC Galileo