President Obama Announces $30 Million NGV R&D Effort
February 24th 2012:
On Thursday, President Obama announced that his administration intends to “bring together the nation’s best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to figure out how more cars can be powered by natural gas, a fuel that’s cleaner and cheaper and more abundant than oil.” The remarks were made in the President’s speech at Miami University.
Since his State of the Union speech, the President has made a number of positive references to efforts to promote the increased use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The Administration’s FY 2013 budget proposes adoption of tax credits for medium- and heavy- duty alternative fuel trucks, which we reported on in detail last week. The tax credits for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles would be available for 2013 – 2018. The FY 2013 budget proposal also calls for a one-year extension of the natural gas fuel credit and fueling infrastructure credit. The FY 2013 budget also proposes changes to the $7,500 tax credits currently available for light duty plug-in electric vehicles. The credit would be available from date of enactment until the end of 2019. According to the Administration, the changes are intended to expand the credits to include other alternative fuels and could be available to NGVs.
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The President’s remarks this week were accompanied by a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPE-E) Program. The funding announcement indicates that DOE plans to provide up to $30 million in new funding to promote transformational breakthroughs in the development of CNG storage cylinders and also in home refueling devices. The announcement includes four potential funding categories:
- Systems for on-board storage and at-home refueling;
- Sorbent materials for low pressure storage;
- New tank materials and manufacturing methods for high pressure storage; and
- Compressor technology for at-home refueling.
Funding awards may vary between $250,000-$10 million. According to the announcement, DOE hopes to fund the development of technologies that will significantly lower the cost of storage systems and refueling devices. The goal is to provide a home refueling unit plus vehicle storage system for light duty NGVs at a combined cost of about $2,000 (not including installation). DOE estimates that the combined cost is currently $7,500: $4,000 for home refueling devices and $3,500 for on-board storage. The solicitation indicates that lower costs are needed to make NGVs viable for the light-duty vehicle consumer market, and are necessary in order to provide a five-year payback period for NGV purchasers.
Persons interested in this funding opportunity may review the funding announcement at: https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/#dc1d731e-f2cf-4be9-b6ac-ab315582d000 (See Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE)). The initial deadline for applications – a two-page concept paper – is March 26, 2012. For more information, contact Jeff Clarke at 202.824.7364 or jclarke@NGVAmerica.org.
CWI Officially Announces New Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Engine
On Monday, Cummins Westport officially announced the ISX12 G, a 12-liter heavy-duty, factory built dedicated natural gas engine for regional haul truck / tractor, vocational and refuse applications. The new ISX12 G is currently in field trials with full production expected to commence in early 2013. The ISX12 G natural gas engine is based on the Cummins ISX12 diesel engine platform, the newest member of Cummins heavy duty engine family. The dedicated (CNG or LNG)ISX12 G will utilizing Cummins Westport’s proprietary spark- ignited, stoichiometric combustion with cooled exhaust gas recirculation (SEGR) technology, first introduced with the 8.9 liter ISL G. The ISX12 G features three-way catalyst aftertreatment, which is packaged as a muffler and is maintenance free. No diesel particulate filter or selective catalytic reduction aftertreatment will be required. Preliminary specifications
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include a range of ratings to 400 hp and 1,450 lb-ft torque, optional engine brake, and manual and automatic transmission capability to meet customer and original equipment manufacturer requirements. The ISX12 G will be manufactured in Cummins’ heavy-duty engine plant in Jamestown, New York.
The ISX12 G target markets at launch will be North American regional haul and vocational truck/tractor, and refuse applications, where demand for NGVs is growing. Anticipated end- use applications in the regional haul market segment include intermodal and distribution operation, pickup and delivery. Potential post-launch market opportunities include motor coach and specialty vocational applications. The ISX12 G is expected to be certified at launch to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board emission standards of 0.20 g/bhp-hr NOx and 0.01 g/bhp-hr PM. The engine is additionally expected to be capable of meeting EURO VI and pending U.S. greenhouse gas and fuel economy regulations. Partial funding in support of the ISX12 G engine development has been received from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the California Energy Commission in conjunction with the Gas Technology Institute. For more information, contact CWI’s Gord Exel at 604.718.8384 or email@example.com
LNG Fueling Station Opens in Louisiana
On Friday, the first LNG fueling station in Louisiana was opened in DeSoto Parish. About 100 LNG industry representatives were on hand the ceremonies marking the opening of the public station by EnCana Natural Gas. The business, called the Relay Station, plans to offer LNG and CNG as well as gasoline and diesel fuel. EnCana moved ahead with the LNG station after cementing a partnership with Heckmann Water Resources, which provides water management services to EnCana and other operators in the Haynesville Shale natural gas area. For more information, contact EnCana’s David Hill at David.firstname.lastname@example.org
Chesapeake and 3M to Develop New CNG Tanks
On Tuesday, 3M and Chesapeake Energy announced an agreement to collaborate in designing, manufacturing and marketing a broad portfolio of vehicle CNG tanks. It is expected that the CNG tanks developed through partnership will reduce costs while increasing performance. 3M’s CNG tank solution combines the company’s proprietary liner advancements, thermoplastic materials, barrier films and coatings, and damage-resistant films. Using nanoparticle-enhanced resin technology (which 3M calls its “Matrix Resin for Pressure Vessels”), 3M will be able to create CNG tanks that it says will be 10 to 20 percent lighter with 10 to 20 percent greater capacity, all at a lower cost than standard vessels. Meanwhile, Chesapeake has offered an initial $10 million towards both design and certification services as well as market development support. It has been reported that 3M
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has already spoken to Hypercomp Engineering Inc, in Utah, about design and certification and hopes to make the tanks available for sale in the fourth quarter of this year. For more information, contact Chesapeake’s Norman Herrera at 405.935.3786 or email@example.com
NGV Message is Prominent at Truck Stop Operator Conference/Expo
The importance of natural gas as a transportation fuel and related messages about vehicle and station options were front and center at this week’s National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) Annual Conference/Expo at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV. The three-day event, attended by independent- and chain-owned-and-operated truck stop and travel center executives, included educational sessions, social networking functions, and a mini-expo comprising approximately 45 exhibitors – including NGVAmerica, Chart Industries and Trillium CNG, which was a sponsor of the event and conducted a private focus group session there.
Monday’s luncheon keynote presentation, “The Outlook of Fuel,” featured Joe Petrowski, Chief Executive Officer of the Cumberland Gulf Group, operator of nearly 600 Cumberland Farms convenience stores in 11 states in the northeast and Florida and more than 2000 Gulf- branded fueling locations across the country. Petrowski’s remarks were very bullish on natural gas, highlighting the environmental, economic and energy security benefits, the potential for growth of natural gas use in the trucking sector, and noting the company’s recent purchase of natural gas fuel trucks. That afternoon, NGVAmerica’s Stephe Yborra, Drive Natural Gas Initiative’s Dr. Kathryn Clay and Trillium CNG/Integrys Transportation Fuel’s Charles Koontz participated on a panel entitled “Natural Gas: What’s Ahead for Travel Plazas and Truckstops.” The session, which was moderated by Pilot Flying J VP of Development Bill Mulligan, included short presentations and Q&A from audience members. Also attending sessions and the expo area were representatives from Clean Energy and Chesapeake Energy. For more information about the NATSO event or other outreach activities, contact Stephe Yborra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.829.2520.
NGV Opportunity Highlighted at World Bank Energy Forum
On Friday, Stephe Yborra presented a session on the worldwide NGV market and its potential to displace petroleum and improve economic opportunity in developing nations at the SDN Energy Forum, sponsored by the The World Bank in Washington DC. In addition to providing a summary briefing of NGV technologies, fuels and vehicle and station basics, the presentation, prepared and presented on behalf of NGV Global, noted the distinct differences between NGV market acceptance and adoption rates in economically disadvantaged and/or developing countries where vehicle ownership per capita is low as opposed to those countries where vehicle ownership is high and allegiances and “comfort
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levels” with gasoline and diesel are already well-established. The briefing also included observations about the unintended consequences of subsidizing petroleum fuel, especially in countries rich in natural gas resources. Also highlighted was the opportunity for greater use of LNG in marine applications and the potential oil displacement and related supply-pricing consequences. NGV Global has been working with the World Bank to undertake initiatives that will spur greater development of CNG and LNG infrastructure and use in the transportation sector throughout the developing world. For more information about this conference and/or NGV Global’s World Bank initiatives, contact Brett Jarman at email@example.com
Upstate NY Trash Company Unveils New CNG Station
On Wednesday, Buffalo, New York’s Modern Disposal opened its new CNG station to fuel its fleet of 15 natural gas trash trucks. By year end, Modern Disposal expects to have 40 natural gas trucks. The company has been investigating switching to CNG trucks for five years, but the combination of very low natural gas costs plus $1.25 million in federal funding was enough to have them make the decision. The CNG station will be only the third in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Each CNG truck costs $30,000 to $50,000 more than a conventional diesel vehicle, said Gary E. Smith, the chief operating officer of Modern Disposal.
“It’s just a matter of getting over the investment of the fueling station,” said Smith, whose company is investing $3.9 million of its own money into the project. “There is always a cheaper, dirtier alternative,” said Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY). “Natural gas is the cleanest- burning alternative transportation fuel available today,” said Francis Murray, the president and chief executive officer of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “They’re a wonderful way of demonstrating technology and introducing it to the public,” Murray said. “You’ve got to bring the chicken and the egg together.”
The natural gas-powered Modern trucks will join similar vehicles used by Waste Management in the Buffalo area, which last fall opened its own CNG fueling station as part of its efforts to eventually convert 80 percent of its fleet to the alternative fuel.
Cruise Ship to be Powered by CNG
In an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 percent, Viking Line’s newest cruise ship will be powered by LNG. The new vessel with the project name “NB 1376” will operate on the stretch Stockholm-Åbo, Sweden beginning January 2013. It is being manufactured at the STX boatyard in Åbo and will have a capacity of 2,800 passengers, as well as large space for vehicles. The 700 ft cruise ship, called “Viking Grace,” represents “major environmental gains in comparison to traditional maritime fuel,” according to Jan
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Bäckvall, the head of Europe North in Linde responsible for AGA, which will be providing the fuel. Bäckvall and AGA believe that converting large ships like the Viking Grace to LNG can help to address concerns about carbon emissions associated with commercial shipping. Indeed, he said that, “for Baltic shipping, this can be the primary solution in the future.” A ship like the Viking Grace uses about 60 tons of fuel PER DAY, and there are hundreds (if not thousands) of massive ships like the Viking Grace cruising around the Earth’s oceans every day. The Viking Grace is only the first step towards a greener fleet, but Viking and AGA hope it’s the first of many. “The cooperation between AGA and Viking Line means that the guidelines for the management of a new fuel will be developed. This paves the way for a new infrastructure for Swedish shipping where LNG is of great future importance,” says Michael Backman, CEO of Viking Line Abp.
Huge Increase in Natural Gas Consumption in Bolivian Vehicles
According to Bolivia’s Executing Agency of Compressed Natural Gas Conversion Scheme (EEC-GNV), with the help of more 15,000 CNG conversions between April and December last year, the amount of natural gas used in the country’s vehicles increased by 380 percent in 2011. The EEC-GNV is responsible for implementing the government’s program, which aims to cut consumption of diesel, petrol and LPG and, thus, eliminate subsidies. This year, the EEC-GNV plans on 34,000 more conversions. Interestingly, because of the lower cost of natural gas, the continued conversion of public transportation vehicles is expected to reduce the ticket cost up to 50 percent.
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