Texas Universities Get Natural Gas Grants
A federal agency awarded millions of dollars in research grants across the country to help develop cars to run with natural gas. Two of the grants give a nod to the future of alternative fuels in Texas.
UT-Austin and Texas A&M each got grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund different natural gas research projects. The goal is to make it cheaper and easier for the general public to own natural gas vehicles.
UT’s Center for Electromechanics received more than $4 million to engineer new ways to refuel natural gas cars at home.
Shannon Strank, the center’s assistant director, says the team is working on a new, cheaper mechanism.
“The current technology costs around $5,000 and is fairly mechanically complicated,” Strank said. “But what we plan to do is a simpler design that makes the cost go down to about $500 per unit.”
Texas A&M’s College of Science received $3 million to develop fuel tanks for natural gas cars. Overall, more than $30 million in grant money was awarded in an effort to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.