NGVAmerica News Week in Review: June 15, 2015
- Hearings Scheduled on Funding Highway and Transit Programs
- Rethink Methane Conference Explores Opportunities for Natural Gas
- New Report Builds the Case for CNG Programs
- Enhancements to the DOE Alternative Fueling Station Locator
- New Study Says Natural Gas Poised for Growth in Transportation
- Texas Natural Gas Sales Show 78 Percent Increase over FY 2014
- TravelCenters of America Open LNG Fueling Lanes in Dallas
- Sunoco Station Reopens with CNG Fueling at Pittsburgh Airport
- Norwich Public Utilities Breaks Ground on New CNG Station
- U.S. Gain Signs Agreement with Unilever for Sustainability Efforts
- Gain Clean Fuel Secures $1.2 Million Grant for CNG Stations
- AGL Takes Natural Gas on the Road for Alternative Fuel Tour
- Agility and Freightliner Enter Long-Term Agreement
- Rolls-Royce Natural Gas Engines Reach 25 Million Operating Hours
Hearings Scheduled on Funding Highway and Transit Programs
June 15, 2015
This week both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have scheduled hearings to consider ways to pay for the Highway Trust Fund’s road and transit programs. The House Ways and Means Committee’s hearing is scheduled for June 17 and the Senate Finance Committee hearing is scheduled for June 18. The hearings could shed light on how Congress would fund the road and transit programs which expire on July 31.
The hearings will come a week before a June 24 markup by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee of its highway programs portion of a long-term reauthorization. A number of state officials have urged Congress to provide long-term certainty and more funding for surface transportation programs, and have said recent short-term extensions have slowed infrastructure investments. States have already cancelled or postponed $2 billion worth of projects this year due to the uncertainty in highway funding.
The hearings provide NGVAmerica with an opportunity to urge both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committees to include a proposal that would tax LNG on a DGE basis. Taxing LNG on a DGE basis will remove an artificial barrier that is a significant disincentive for the use of LNG. Several bills that change the taxation of LNG to be on a DGE basis have been introduced in the Congress, including S. 917 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 1665 in the House of Representatives.
Rethink Methane Conference Explores Opportunities for Natural Gas
June 15, 2015
This past week, several hundred attendees participated in the inaugural Rethink Methane Conference held in Sacramento, California, and organized by Gladstein, Neandross & Associates. The conference highlighted the opportunities for changing the way the natural gas industry operates and ways that our industry can continue to improve on natural gas’ environmental friendly attributes. Speakers addressed topics that are of increasing importance to policies in California, such as climate change and reducing emissions of short-lived pollutants. These issues, however, are not limited to California, as many states are similarly focused on promoting policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advance the use of renewable fuels, reduce reliance on petroleum and encourage renewable natural gas (RNG).
A new concept that received a lot of attention at the meeting was “power to gas,” which essentially means using electric power to produce hydrogen or synthetic natural gas. Companies interested in power-to-gas projects highlighted the significant energy storage opportunity as renewable electricity and excess electricity can be used to produce natural gas or hydrogen with the products easily stored or distributed through-out the vast natural gas network, something that electricity producers generally can’t do unless they have existing demand or battery storage. Natural gas advocates pointed to the advantages for natural gas in this application, which is lower cost than battery storage and which also greens the natural gas system with extremely low carbon hydrogen or synthetic natural gas made from renewable fuel. Several speakers used Europe as an example, where limited amounts of hydrogen already are being injected into natural gas systems.
A number of other speakers addressed the growing importance of traditional RNG markets and how this fuel is increasingly being used as a transportation fuel. In his opening remarks, Cliff Gladstein highlighted the advantage of renewable natural gas as a fuel for heavy-duty trucks and emphasized that RNG is one of the only short-term as well as possibly longer-term options for substantially reducing greenhouse gas emission from heavy-duty trucks. RNG costs more to produce than conventional natural gas, but it currently is aided by policies such as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the national Renewable Fuel Standard, both of which provide a way for renewable natural gas producers to earn and sell valuable credits as a way to offset production costs. Growing levels of renewable natural mean that California could replace 75 percent of the diesel fuel used in the state if it directed all RNG to transportation fuel use. Clean Energy’s Harrison Clay reported that the 20 million gallons of renewable fuel sold by the company in 2014 offset 201,045 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Renewable natural gas is increasingly seen by some in the natural gas industry as an important aspect of enhancing the environmental benefits of natural gas vehicles.
New Report Builds the Case for CNG Programs
A report and new online tool from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) helps fleets considering a CNG program to evaluate cost-effectiveness. The report, Building a Business Case for Compressed Natural Gas in Fleet Applications, helps readers assess the various aspects of a new CNG vehicle and fueling infrastructure project to determine viability.
The publication details an enhanced version of a previous online modeling tool developed by NREL-the Vehicle Infrastructure and Cash-Flow Evaluation (VICE) model-that helps businesses and fleets evaluate the financial soundness of CNG vehicle and CNG fueling infrastructure projects. The tool, VICE 2.0, can help assess projects to acquire vehicles and infrastructure, or to acquire vehicles only.
VICE 2.0 offers users visual and reporting enhancements, including graphic images of return on investment, cumulative cash flow, and payback periods. It also calculates petroleum displacement (annual and cumulative) and annual greenhouse gas reductions, and displays them based on the fleet’s specific attributes. The publication features an overview of VICE 2.0 and the default values for such factors as investment type, tax exemption status for fuel, and operations and incentives for base-case vehicles. In addition, the report addresses profitability and its sensitivity to parameters such as fuel cost and vehicle miles traveled.
Enhancements to the DOE Alternative Fueling Station Locator
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Station Locator was recently updated to include new options that will improve the way you search for and update natural gas station information.
Previously, Station Locator users could select “more search options” to look for stations with a certain access type, owner type, and payment method. The Station Locator now also allows users to search by fuel-specific fields corresponding to each alternative fuel, including natural gas.
To view the natural gas fuel-specific fields, first select CNG or LNG from the “All Fuels” drop-down menu, and then click on “more search options” to choose from the following filters:
- CNG and LNG:
- Vehicle accessibility – the maximum vehicle size that can physically access the fueling station (e.g., light-, medium-, heavy-duty vehicles), keeping canopy height in mind.
- CNG only:
- Fill type – the type of dispensing capability available at the station (e.g., fast-fill, time-fill).
- Fill pressure – the service pressure, in pounds per square inch (PSI), available at the station (e.g., 3,000, 3,600).
DOE will continue to make improvements to the Station Locator in the coming months. Upcoming changes include additional fields and search options, updates to the iPhone app, and a new app for the Android platform.
The Alternative Fueling Station Locator is a widely used tool, with over 140,000 users searching for natural gas stations on the AFDC last year alone. You can help keep the data up-to-date with planned and new stations using the “Submit New Station” in the top right corner of the Station Locator map or by emailing TechnicalResponse@icfi.com.
NGVAmerica members should also watch for monthly Natural Gas Station Report emails, which summarize station growth over time and recent station updates. These reports are compiled based on data from DOE’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator.
New Study Says Natural Gas Poised for Growth in Transportation
June 3, 2015
A new study by IHS, business information provider, forecasts significant market growth and value for LNG as a transportation fuel. The study, LNG in Transportation: Challenging Oil’s Grip says that use of natural gas as a transportation fuel could displace more than 1.5 mbd of oil demand by 2030.
A combination of drivers—environmental, technological and commercial—will drive greater adoption of natural gas in transport, particularly in high-fuel use applications such as trucks and ships.
IHS forecasts that gas demand in trucks will reach 2,860 bcf by 2030 for both LNG and CNG. An additional 600 bcf in LNG demand is expected to come from ships by that same year. LNG demand in the truck and marine sectors is expected to account for 10 percent of all globally traded LNG at that time.
The study examines the impact of lower oil and fuel prices on the adoption of natural gas and finds that lower oil prices may slow adoption in the short term but unlikely to halt it. Much of the “launch pad for expansion” such as critical infrastructure is either in place or close to being in key markets such as the U.S. and China, awaiting a rebound in diesel prices, the study notes.
“The fall of oil prices has diminished much of the glow from what was an overly optimistic market opportunity for natural gas in transportation,” said Michael Stoppard, chief strategist for global gas—IHS Energy. “Nonetheless, the shift to greater use of gas in trucks is set to continue.”
The study also finds differences between drivers and market outcomes in key regions. However, in all regions the tax treatment of fuels will be critical in determining consumer choice especially as oil prices fluctuate, and a minimum level of fuelling infrastructure is essential to jumpstart adoption.
The IHS Multi-client study report LNG in Transportation: Challenging Oil’s Grip was conducted between September 2014 and March 2015. Parts of the study were officially presented on Wednesday, June 3 in Paris at the World Gas Conference.
Texas Natural Gas Sales Show 78 Percent Increase over FY 2014
June 4, 2015
Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter announced that Texas fleets are purchasing natural gas to fuel their vehicles in record numbers, according to new numbers from the state Comptroller’s office. Porter reported tax revenue from sales of CNG and LNG fuel totaled more than $3 million as of May 31 for FY 2015.
“Natural gas vehicles are becoming main stream faster than expected. These collections are nearly double the amount collected last year at this time,” Porter said. “At 15 cents per gallon equivalent, $3,033,600 of motor fuel tax equates to the sale of 20,224,000 gallon equivalents of natural gas.”
The figures reflect the growth in natural gas refueling infrastructure in Texas over the past year. The number of stations has increased by 30 percent, to 137, with an additional 44 stations coming on line in the next 12 to 18 months.
Commissioner Porter launched his Texas Natural Gas Initiative in 2013 to encourage the adoption of natural gas fuel in the transportation and exploration and production sectors.
TravelCenters of America Open LNG Fueling Lanes in Dallas
June 14, 2015
TravelCenters of America announced the opening of LNG fueling lanes at its TA location in Dallas, Texas, off Interstate-20. TravelCenters has completed retrofitting its TA Truck Service and Petro Lube facilities to provide truck maintenance and repair on both CNG and LNG fueled trucks. These locations include:
- TA, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, #012 (I-81, Exit 77)
- TA, Baytown, Texas, #017 (I-10, Exit 789)
- TA, Lafayette, Louisiana, #161 (I-10, Exit 101)
- TA, San Antonio, Texas, #147 (I-10, Exit 583)
- TA, Dayton, Ohio, #011 (I-70, Exit 10)
- TA, Dallas South, Texas, #150 (I-20, Exit 472)
- TA, Santa Nella, California #163 (I-5, Exit 407)
- TA, Wheeler Ridge, California #239 (I-5, Exit 219A/219B)
- Petro Shawn Hubbard, Ontario, California, #026 (I-10, Exit 57)
- Petro Jerry Fritts Jr., West Memphis, Arkansas #311 (I-40, Exit 280)
“Dallas South is our fifth site to offer LNG and we now have ten truck maintenance and repair facilities for LNG and CNG vehicles,” shared Tom O’Brien, President and CEO of TravelCenters.
Sunoco Station Reopens with CNG Fueling at Pittsburgh Airport
May 20, 2015
The Sunoco APlus fueling station and convenience store located at the Pittsburgh International Airport reopened with alternative fueling options, including CNG. The station, which had been closed for remodeling since April 6, features new CNG dispensers, gasoline dispensers, additional diesel fueling positions, liquid propane fueling, and electric vehicle charging stations.
Sunoco officials said the changes represent the company’s ongoing partnership and commitment, along with leaders of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, to provide additional options for customers and to advance a healthier environment. This will be Sunoco’s second CNG station in Pennsylvania.
Norwich Public Utilities Breaks Ground on New CNG Station
Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) has broken ground on a new $1.8 million CNG fueling station, located close to I-395. The station, which will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will feature a dual-hose fast-fill dispenser.
The project is funded through the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, which awarded a grant for $1,386,000 of the total project cost. NPU is funding the remaining $414,000 of the project. The grant also includes the purchase of six CNG-fueled vehicles by NPU: four service vans, a dump truck and a sewer jet truck, used for servicing NPU’s wastewater system.
“Alternative fuel vehicles are good for business and good for the environment and NPU is proud to extend our commitment to support this American fuel source,” said John Bilda, General Manager at NPU.
In Connecticut, CNG is currently approximately $1 less per gallon than diesel fuel and 75 cents per gallon less that gasoline, according to NPU.
The West Town Street station is NPU’s second CNG filing station, joining a facility that currently services a number of commercial entities. Construction is expected to be completed in time for the station to go into service in November.
U.S. Gain Signs Agreement with Unilever for Sustainability Efforts
June 10, 2015
U.S. Gain has partnered with Unilever to build a GAIN Clean Fueling CNG fueling station in Edwardsville, Illinois, just east of the St. Louis, Missouri metro area. The station will be the largest station U.S. Gain has built to date.
The Edwardsville station not only gives Unilever’s carriers a strategic fueling location, but contributes to Unilever’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment and improve its sustainability efforts. The agreement calls for Unilever to purchase 800,000 gallons of GAIN Clean Fuel CNG per year.
“We’ve made significant investments to reduce our costs while lowering our environmental footprint by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, water use, and waste.” said Camille Z. Chammas, VP Procurement at Unilever. “The use of GAIN Clean Fuel is important part of this program.”
With the addition of the St. Louis area location, U.S. Gain continues to work towards its goal of having more than 100 GAIN Clean Fuel stations in operation through North America within the next two years. The Edwardsville location will open in June 2015 and will be available for use by other companies and the general public.
GAIN Clean Fuel Secures $1.2 Million Grant for CNG Stations
June 10, 2015
Leonardo Academy announced this week that the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development ACE Program has awarded two grants that Leonardo Academy submitted on behalf of GAIN Clean Fuel. The grant awards, which total approximately $1.2 million, will support GAIN Clean Fuel’s construction of CNG stations in Fairless Hills and Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania. Both stations will be open to the public.
Two anchor customers for the sites were key partners in securing the grants. Silvi Concrete is partnering with GAIN to build the CNG station in Fairless Hills, and W.C. McQuaide is partnering with GAIN to add CNG dispensers at a Pacific Pride station in Fredericksburg.
Leonardo Academy is working with GAIN Clean Fuel to procure funding in multiple states in order to promote the use of CNG nationwide.
Agility and Freightliner Enter Long-Term Agreement
June 10, 2015
Agility Fuel Systems will now serve as the sole provider of natural gas fuel systems to Freightliner Trucks. The seven-year agreement will provide custom designed products with the latest features and technological innovations. Agility offers a variety of CNG and LNG solutions in a number of customizable configurations.
Freightliner has worked with Agility Fuel Systems for more than 13 years. Together, the companies have developed factory engineered and installed natural gas solutions that contribute to performance, efficiency and reduced environmental impact.
Agility recently announced the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Salisbury, North Carolina, which is in close proximity to the Freightliner manufacturing plants in Cleveland and Mt. Holly, North Carolina, where the Freightliner Cascadia 113, M2 112 and 114SD natural gas trucks are produced. Expected to start production in late 2015, it is the industry’s first vertically integrated natural gas fuel system production facility, which will help contribute to shorter lead times.
“We have been collaborating with Freightliner since 2002 and in 2009 we began the industry’s first on-line factory installation of our natural gas fuel systems. We have worked as partners ever since to drive natural gas adoption rates in the heavy duty trucking industry”, stated Barry Engle, Chief Executive Officer of Agility Fuel Systems.
AGL Takes Natural Gas on the Road for Alternative Fuel Tour
June 10, 2015
Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) announced it will join the 2015 Georgia Alternative Fuel Roadshow. Starting June 15, alternative fuel vehicles will be on display in several cities throughout Georgia. The tour dates are as follows:
June 15 – Gainesville, Brenau Downtown Center
June 16 – Cartersville, Tellus Science Museum
June 17 – Albany, Dougherty Gov. Building
June 18 – College Park, Georgia International Convention Center
June 23 – Decatur, Agnes Scott College
June 24 – St. Simon’s Island, Sea Palms Resort
June 25 – Valdosta, Valdosta State University
June 26 – Savannah, Savannah Convention Center
“The Alternative Fuel Roadshow is a great opportunity for decision makers to learn more about natural gas and other alternative fuel vehicles available to them on the market,” said Bryan Batson, president of Atlanta Gas Light, which operates a fleet of natural gas vehicles. “We are happy to be supporters of the roadshow, which continues to highlight natural gas and other fuel sources as a viable transportation option.”
In addition to learning about the economics and general practices of implementing and financing alternative fuel fleets, attendees will hear from local officials from host cities, which now operate CNG refuse trucks, pickup trucks, sedans and other CNG vehicles in their fleets.
Private sector leaders who have adopted alternative fuels will also share their experiences during the tour. Companies such as AT&T, Mansfield Clean Energy Partners, and The Langdale Company have made significant investments transitioning to natural gas for their fleet vehicles.
Register for the closest tour stop near you to find out more. Registration is free to fleets and government. To learn more about the Alternative Fuel Roadshow, visit www.afvroadshow.com.
Rolls-Royce Natural Gas Engines Reach 25 Million Operating Hours
June 3, 2015
Rolls-Royce engines powered solely by LNG have completed 25 million hours of operation on land and at sea, since their introduction in 1991. More than 650 Bergen lean burn gas engines are in service today, with a power output up to 9,600kW. The engines are used for a variety of applications, ranging from powering ferries, cargo ships and tugs, to a wide range of land-based power generation throughout the world.
“LNG is now firmly established as a major fuel option for the power generation and marine markets,” said Dr. Ulrich Dohle, Rolls-Royce Power Systems CEO.
The gas fueled engines reduce Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions by about 90 percent while Sulphur Oxide (SOx) and particulates emissions are negligible. Emissions from Rolls-Royce gas engines are already within the limits of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Tier III environmental legislation, due to come into force in 2016.
The engine with the highest accumulated running hours is still operating today, powering the Lemvig power plant in Denmark. It has run more than 160,000 hours since installation in 1992.
The first Bergen engines using LNG for marine use entered service in 2006 powering doubled-end car ferries, and their use has since been adopted for a growing range of ship types including coastal cargo ships, tankers, cruise ferries, tugs and offshore support vessels.