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If you’re an experienced diesel technician or are considering a career in the field, you may be familiar with the
various types of natural gases, which serve as an alternative to conventional petroleum-based fuels.
The world we live in today relies heavily on diesel fuel, but due to environmental concerns and cost efficiency, more and more industries are turning to CNG, LPG and LNG fuel. In the last decade, we’ve seen new applications for natural gas emerge
in the transportation, retail and industrial sectors. As a result, it’s important for today’s diesel technicians to stay ahead of the curve and understand these different types of gases and how they work.
Keep reading to learn the basics of CNG, LPG and LNG fuel and how these natural gases are impacting the industry and the future of your career.
In the diesel industry, you will hear the acronym CNG used quite often. You may have even seen the blue diamond CNG sticker on commercial vehicles and mass transit busses and wondered, “What is CNG gas?
CNG stands for compressed natural gas. It is the gaseous product of petroleum and is the first product that is separated during the distillation process. CNG is odorless, tasteless and non-toxic, and is made up of 93.05% methane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide,
propane and traces of ethane. It is an environmentally clean alternative fuel, as its combustion process emits a lower percentage of greenhouse gases when compared to other fuels.
While CNG fuel won’t give you the same amount of power that would come from diesel fuel, it certainly has its advantages. CNG has a high octane rating that provides a high compression ratio and is adaptable to modern engines. The combustion of CNG
produces less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen. Overall, this type of gas can help in reducing pollution, as it is a clean burning fuel.
In addition to CNG fuel, LPG and LNG are two other common alternatives to gas and diesel fuel. Each of these types of fuels have both similarities and differences.
LPG fuel, or liquefied petroleum gas, is a liquefied gas and is a byproduct derived while extracting crude petroleum. LPG weighs twice as much as air and is colorless, odorless and is a highly flammable explosive gas. It is comprised
of propane mixed with butane, traces of propylene and butylene.
One of the advantages of LPG is that it emits less hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. It also has a high octane rating and increases engine longevity. The fuel weight-to-mileage of LPG is equal to that of gasoline-operated vehicles.
LNG fuel, or liquefied natural gas, is a natural gas converted to liquid form through liquefaction. During this process, natural gas is cooled at low temperatures until it turns into a liquid, and the volume of gas is reduced by approximately
LPG is comprised of 95% methane, and other components include nitrogen, ethane, carbon dioxide and propane. It is non-toxic and non-corrosive, resulting in less pollution. It occupies 1/600 the volume as natural gas, making it much more cost-effective
for storage and transportation.
While liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas are similar, their delivery and storage methods are different.
LNG is frozen in order to turn it into liquid form, whereas CNG is pressurized to the point where it is very compact. LNG takes up less storage space on a vehicle than CNG, and it also offers an energy density that can be compared to diesel fuel. This
makes it a common choice among many long-haul trucking companies. Using proper procedures, LNG can be converted to CNG.
On the other hand, CNG is easier to refuel than LNG, which requires special handling and equipment. CNG is also very light, so if there is a leak, it will dissipate. It has an unlimited hold time, so even if it goes unused, there is no fuel loss. This
makes CNG a safer choice over LNG. CNG also has lower production costs than LNG.
CNG and LPG fuel also have both similarities and differences. While CNG is comprised of methane, LPG is comprised of propane and butane. CNG is typically used as a substitute for gasoline in automobiles, while LPG is often used in the industrial, refrigeration,
agricultural and catering industries. It is also used to power cooking and heating in homes, and like CNG, can be used as automobile fuel.
CNG releases less greenhouse gas, while LPG releases carbon dioxide, but is still cleaner than gasoline. In the case of a spill, CNG quickly dissipates, whereas LPG will settle on the ground. In general, CNG is considered safer than LPG, since LPG is
difficult to disperse.
Knowing about the different types of alternative fuels can benefit you greatly in your diesel career.1 There is a growing demand for technicians who are able to work on applications that run on these fuels, but not enough candidates who have
the right skills. This skills gap is opening the door to exciting opportunities for those who are preparing for careers in the diesel industry.1
Having CNG, LPG and LNG qualifications on your resume can give you a competitive advantage and make you more valuable as a technician overall. Construction equipment, trucks, agricultural equipment and many other applications have already made the switch
to natural gas, which means a new generation of technicians will be needed to keep them up and running.
Technicians who possess knowledge of alternative fuels often work for transit authorities, an engine manufacturer or dealer, and in the power generation industry. Today, nearly every manufacturer makes something that runs on natural gas. No matter where
you go to work, you will most likely be exposed to working with these types of fuels—especially as their popularity grows.
UTI’s 45-week Diesel Technology program is designed to provide you with a foundation of knowledge you can build upon in the diesel industry.1
In addition to learning concepts like truck preventive maintenance, diesel fuel systems and transportation refrigeration, your coursework will cover the different types of alternative
fuels and the applications that run on them. Graduates are well prepared to complete ASE examinations and can substitute their training for one of the two
years of work experience required to become ASE certified.
As a UTI student, you may also elevate your training with manufacturer-specific education. Created in conjunction with leading brands, UTI’s specialized training
programs are designed to set you apart as a technician and provide you with the skills employers look for.
If pursuing a career in the diesel industry is a dream of yours, UTI is the perfect place to complete your training. You’ll have the chance to learn alongside other students who share your same passions and work with the equipment and technology used by the industry. Along the way, you’ll have the support of instructors who will be there to mentor you as you complete your program and work toward graduation.
UTI’s Diesel Technician Training program is offered at 10 campus locations across the country. To learn more, visit our program page and request information to get in touch with an admissions representative.
Have an upcoming diesel mechanic interview? Click here to learn some helpful diesel mechanic interview tips.
Following a maintenance checklist is essential for maintaining your diesel truck. In this post, we’re sharing a complete preventive maintenance checklist for diesel trucks.
Thinking about pursuing a career in the diesel industry? Click here to learn more about light duty vs. heavy duty diesel training.
Want to find out what makes a gas engine and a diesel engine unique? You've come to the right place, because this article was written for you.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2) For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, and to review the applicable Gainful Employment disclosure, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
6) UTI graduates' achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
10) Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
12) Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2016-2026), www.bls.gov, viewed October 24, 2017. The projected number of annual job openings, by job classification is: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, 75,900; Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, 28,300; Automotive Body and Related Repairers, 17,200. Job openings include openings due to growth and net replacements.
15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI’s Custom Training Group on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation.
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