The design of a fueling station is dependent upon finding the right combination of needs versus wants, all within the confines of funding, vehicle sizes and quantity, available real estate and access to both roads and a natural gas pipeline.
Unfortunately, there are no cookie cutter solutions that will fit every situation. Where we can provide standardization of equipment, layout and construction, we do so in order to better know what is required and therefore how to best prepare for a successful refueling station. Once a general site layout is accepted then the details can be organized to provide the necessary equipment within that layout. This assumes that the general site layout incorporated the size and turn radius of vehicles and the volume of both fuel and vehicles that will be expected.
Given a satisfactory site plan, the designer must then prepare for all activities related to achieving the end result. From grading and demolition to planning ahead for future expansion, each aspect of the facility must be addressed, quantified, and documented.
Our team has experienced the construction of two CNG refueling stations from conception to completion and learned much from each process. The construction of a Fast-Fill service station is significantly different from a dedicated Time-Fill station as the goals and characteristics of each are extremely diverse. Both require a clean supply of dry natural gas to begin the compression cycle. However, a Time-Fill only requires up to 3600 psi while the Fast-Fill requires at least 5000 psi and a volume that addresses the recovery period allowed.
Time-Fill compression can be fairly small volume because there are more actual hours available to complete the refueling action. Fast-Fill activities are measured in minutes not hours as the delivery of fuel into vehicles can quickly drain the station of available pressure and fuel. The compression unit must be capable of replenishing both the pressure and the volume of fuel within a specified amount of time; otherwise the station is unable to function.