April 22, 2009 We've all heard of vehicles that run on the smell of an oily rag, but what about one that runs on the smell of cow dung? A new prototype golf cart developed by Yamaha does just that by running on the methane made from cow dung. The golf cart was tested with the assistance of the Osaka Gas Co. which provided methane at low cost to Yamaha for the vehicle tests as part of efforts to promote the use of cow dung biomass as a fuel.
To overcome the need for high-pressure filling, which would make methane less viable as a vehicle fuel, Osaka Gas developed activated carbon that is capable of absorbing methane at low pressure. By putting methane into a tank with this activated carbon under a pressure of around one megapascal, (equivalent to the pressure at a depth of 100 meters under water), the tank can hold around 30 times the tank's volume of methane. Yamaha chose golf carts to test using methane as a fuel as they are driven relatively regular distances at low speed.