Methane, chemical formula CH4, is an ideal fuel, found abundantly in nature as a natural gas, practically ready for use and clean. Natural gas is also the only fossil fuel in Italy; 15% of Italian requirements are in fact met thanks to national deposits. Combustion of methane leads to much fewer emissions than diesel and petrol, free from particulate and combustion residues. Furthermore, due to its chemical composition, Methane produces up to 25% less CO2, in this way reducing the formation of ozone in the atmosphere. For this reason, when drawing up the plan to reduce greenhouse gases to meet the Kyoto Protocol, the Directorate General for Energy and Transport of the European Union stipulated that methane cover up to 10% of the European fuel market by 2020. In Italy there are over 900 methane fuel stations, and this number continually increases thanks to growing environmental awareness and over 650,000 vehicles powered with this gas. .

CNG conversion is suitable for petrol cars with carburettor, turbo, injection, catalytic and Euro-6 approved engines. CNG conversion kits also exist for the most common direct injection engines.

Considerable savings in the price of fuel (over 65% compared to petrol). When calculating savings, you must consider that a 100-litre cylinder holds about 17 Kg of CNG at a pressure of 220 bars and that 1 Kg of gas corresponds, in mileage terms, to about 1.7 litres of petrol. Greater autonomy, generally 300 to 400 km, due to the addition of the CNG cylinders. Lower emissions, normally guaranteeing that CNG vehicles can be used even when roads are closed to certain kind of vehicles or even-odd number plate measures are enforced. A CNG vehicle lowers CO2 emissions by over 20%, helping to reduce the greenhouse effect. CNG combustion does not produce carbon residues (which cause engine oil to turn black). For this reason the engine oil in gas vehicles remains clear and its properties unaltered, even after many thousands of kilometres and this helps to improve performance and reduce engine wear and tear.

A CNG vehicle is as safe as a petrol or diesel powered one. Systems currently installed in Italy meet the European UN ECE R110 regulation, which guarantees very high safety standards, based on extremely stringent international specifications and tests (crash tests, vehicle fire, etc.).
Methane’s inherent characteristics actually make it safer than other fuels, for example:
  • methane is lighter than air and in the case of leaks it disperses upwards into the air instead of pooling at ground level. For this reason, since 1986, CNG-powered cars have been allowed access anywhere, including closed or underground locations, just like petrol or diesel cars;
  • an air mixture must contain 5% methane to be inflammable, while only 1% of petrol would make the mixture inflammable; 
  • the ignition temperature of an air/methane mixture is 595°C, more than double that of an air/vaporised petrol mixture (270°C).
  • the fuel circuit of gas in vehicles is designed and tested during installation to guarantee perfect seal under pressure and to ensure against gas or vapour leaks even during refilling;
  • CNG cylinders are approved and tested to the strictest of standards. Modern CNG systems can therefore be considered absolutely safe and Lovato Gas CNG systems are today used as original equipment or recommended for installation also by various automobile manufacturers.

Due to the different chemical and physical properties of this gas compared to petrol, CNG cars are inevitably less powerful. With Lovato Gas modern sequential injection systems loss of power however stands at around 10-15% and has no significant effect on driving.

Due to the different chemical and physical properties of gas compared to petrol, when assessing the consumption and autonomy of CNG cars, the following factors must be considered: as the CNG cylinder is filled with gas and not liquid, this is measured in terms of molecular mass, namely in Kg. The ratio between tank capacity in litres and the mass of containable gas at 220 bars is about 0.17. Therefore a 100-litre tank can hold about 17 Kg of CNG. In terms of mileage, one Kg of methane is about the equivalent of 1.7 litres of petrol. In the case of a petrol car that does an average of 13.5 km/litre, this will do almost 400 kilometres with a 100-litre cylinder. Considering the fact that CNG costs less, this generally gives savings of about 65%, with enormous benefits for the environment and a reduction in the greenhouse effect.

After installation of the CNG system, the vehicle becomes Bi-fuel, in other words, it can run either on gas or petrol. In this way the original autonomy of the vehicle actually increases, depending on the size of the gas tank installed.

LOVATO GAS S.p.A., through its importer/distributor, guarantees its products as follow:

a) about sales inside EU: on mechanical and electronic parts of the products of 27 (twentyseven) months from the date of delivery of the same product;
b) about sales outside EU: on mechanical and electronic parts of the products of 18 (eighteen)  months from the date of delivery of the same product.

The efficiency of the guarantee is subject to the timely reporting of the defects within 8 (eight) days  from the delivery of products for those defects immediately detectable, and within 8 (eight) days  from the discovery for the hidden defects.

To guarantee correct long-term working, the system is checked periodically (e.g. filter replacement) according to a programmed maintenance plan, every 10-20,000 km. This maintenance is therefore usually carried out by a mechanic during the vehicle's normal services.

By law, after CNG conversion, the vehicle must comply with the same reference law applied to the original petrol type approval. Lovato CNG modern sequential systems are approved to EURO 6 and are, therefore, compatible with vehicles compliant with the most recent EU legislation.

When certain measures are taken for pollution reasons, such as even-odd number plates or road blocks based on emission levels (e.g. EURO 0/2 vehicle bans), gas vehicles are generally recognised as ecological and are free to circulate.

CNG tanks, which are cylindrical and come in different diameters and lengths, are usually installed in the car boot. Installation on the outside of the vehicle, in particular underneath the chassis, is sometimes possible if the minimum distance from the ground can be guaranteed, together with legal safety distances.

CNG tanks are made from extremely resistant full steel or steel and fibre composites to hold the final weight of the cylinder. They have extremely high mechanical resistance, tested to 300 bars, 1.4 times the normal working pressure, and are therefore extremely safe, approved and tested according to extremely stringent standards. Italian law also requires that each tank, after production testing, is then checked every 5 years for Italian-approved cylinders and every 4 years for R110-approved cylinders (from the production date stamped on the tank identification plate) by the GFBM, the Italian vehicle cylinder control body. Specialist mechanics carry out these tests, replacing the tanks with others already tested. The cost of the test and replacement is paid for by the GFBM, which also guarantees insurance cover for the cylinders (Italian law no. 145 of 07.06.1990), while the car owner pays for tank removal/refitting.

Assistance is available from official retailers and Lovato Gas authorised mechanics in Italy and abroad. Lovato Gas in fact has its own distributors throughout arcoss the globe.

Using methane as a fuel reduces the emission of the greenhouse gas CO2 by over 20%. Emissions of CO and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) are also significantly lower. HC emissions are also almost totally made up of pure, non-toxic methane. Gas cars do not produce particulate, in particular the PM10 that are critical for urban pollution.

CNG vehicles are not subject to any kind of limits and can be parked anywhere.

No specific legislation exists in this case and regulations are left to the discretion of the maritime companies. Normal practice is to declare that the car is gas fuelled when buying the ticket and again when embarking. It is however, always a good idea to ask information from the company in question.

After installation of the CNG system, the vehicle becomes Bi-fuel, in other words, it can run either on gas or petrol. In this way the original autonomy of the vehicle actually increases, depending on the size of the gas tank installed.

Everything is automatic with Lovato Gas modern injection systems. All the driver needs to do is fill up with gas, push the fuel-switch and… start saving!