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NGVAmerica Hosts Stakeholder Meeting to Discuss Key Safety and Technical Issues

 

The NGVAmerica Technology & Development Committee held its quarterly meeting this past week in Washington, DC.  The meeting demonstrated great collaboration between industry and government with representation from over 50 NGVAmerica member companies, the US Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Department of Energy (DOE), and national laboratories.  The meeting was an excellent occasion for the open discussion of issues and opportunities impacting the natural gas vehicle industry.

The DOT had participants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  NHTSA stated that the agency is in the process of going through its internal review of recommended changes to FMVSS 304 from the NGVAmerica Technology & Development Committee’s petition, which would take the inspection label requirements from three years / 36,000 miles to every twelve months.

The US DOT Office of Defects and Investigations presented a desire to continue working side by side with NGVAmerica and industry on investigations involving natural gas vehicles.  The NGVAmerica Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis Working Group will continue working with the US DOT Office of Defects and Investigations on incidents involving natural gas vehicles.

The DOE discussed upcoming funding opportunities and activities within DOE relating to natural gas vehicles. This meeting was also a great opportunity for NGVAmerica Technology & Development Committee members to learn about the work that many of the national laboratories are doing in the natural gas vehicle space—Sandia National Laboratory modeling indoor gas releases for maintenance facilities, National Renewable Energy Laboratory testing out of service CNG tanks, and Argonne National Laboratory developing tools to calculate greenhouse gas emissions of various conventional and alternative fuels.  The US DOE also informed the committee of current and upcoming funding opportunities for natural gas vehicles.  The US DOE and NGVAmerica will continue its long relationship of working together on opportunities to grow the natural gas vehicle industry.

There was a brief presentation of the Committee accomplishments from 2016.  These accomplishments include:  successful maintenance facility proposals to the International Fire Code Committee, the publication of Fleets Run Cleaner on Natural Gas White Paper and Infographic, the publication of Natural Gas >> A Clean, Safe, and Smart Choice for the Waste and Recycling Industry, hosting of an LNG in High Horsepower Symposium, a draft Recommended Practice with the American Trucking Association’s Technology Maintenance Council on natural gas fuel system inspections, and a petition to the US Department of Transportation to modify the inspection interval label recommendation from 3 years / 36,000 miles to every twelve months.

Committee members discussed Working Group priorities for 2017:

The NGVAmerica Emissions & Environmental Working Group is looking for opportunities to strengthen its messaging by reaching out to third parties, such as academic institutions and corporate sustainability associations, to collaborate on upcoming studies and publications.  The Research & Development Working Group has been tasked with identifying the R&D needs of the natural gas vehicle industry that would help move the industry forward.

The CNG Fuel System Inspection Working Group will continue leading the effort with the American Trucking Association’s Technology Maintenance Council on natural gas fuel inspection recommendations.  The Group will also continue to support the DOT on any supporting material to move the Committee’s petition forward.

The Gas Quality Working Group continues to support efforts from ASTM and SAE on the development of a gas quality standard.  The Working Group is also working with American Gas Association’s Building Energy Codes & Standards Committee on a survey of utilities throughout the US to get an understanding of the natural gas makeup.

The LNG Working Group is focused on identifying and removing technical barriers for the growth of the LNG market across vehicle segments. The Group is looking into various opportunities including personal protection equipment requirements during LNG fueling and upstream emissions for liquefaction and delivery. The Working Group will work closely with the Emissions and Environmental Working Group on upcoming studies and reports.

The Maintenance Facility Modification Working Group will be working on educational materials for authorities having jurisdiction to provide them with the appropriate materials to make a judgement on facility designs.

The Codes & Standards Working Group continues to seek input from Committee members as codes and standards are being developed.  The Working Group will continue to provide feedback to standard and code development organizations while keeping the Technology & Development Committee up to date on CNG and LNG standards being developed.

The Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis Working Group will continue to lead NGV incident investigations with the DOT, industry representatives, and national laboratories.  The overarching goal of the working group is to educate the industry as to root cause of the incident and ensure that there is proper coverage in NGV codes and standards to reduce the risk of occurrence in the future.

The committee is always looking to increase participation and asks that anyone interested in providing input should contact Dan Bowerson, NGVAmerica Director of Technology & Development, at dbowerson@www.ngvamerica.org.

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