Monthly Archives: November 2012

Christina Nyquist How Students Stayed Warm during Hurricane Sandy: Meet Princeton’s Natural Gas-fired Cogeneration Plant

As Hurricane Sandy raged outside and caused power outages for millions of residents, Princeton University’s campus stayed bright and warm thanks to its highly efficient, natural-gas fired Cogeneration Plant.

Cogeneration allows services to continue to operate when the electricity grid is down. This is vital for institutions and facilities with critical services, such as hospitals. In a video produced by Princeton’s newspaper “The Prince,” the plant’s operators explain how the plant functions on a day to day basis, and how they responded during the storm.

On a normal day, Princeton’s plant provides all of the steam and about half of the electricity for the campus. The rest of the electricity is provided by PSE&G. Princeton’s plant uses a natural gas-fired turbine to create heat to make steam to warm the campus. The gas turbine also fires a generator that, during the Hurricane, was able to power the entire campus when regular service went out.

Cogeneration plants, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), simultaneously generate electricity and useful heat to increase the overall efficiency of a system. With traditional electricity generation, more than two-thirds of the primary energy used to generate power is lost as heat, and only one third is available as useful electrical energy. By capturing and using heat that would otherwise be wasted, CHP is more efficient than traditional separate electricity generation and heat production, thereby using less fuel and emitting lower levels of greenhouse gases for the same amount of energy.

Natural gas is the primary fuel for CHP – like Princeton’s plant, more than 70 percent of CHP uses natural gas.  CHP is used predominantly in industrial applications, but as is evident with the Princeton example, CHP serves as a cost-effective solution for heating and cooling for commercial buildings and institutions like universities.

In addition to its use of clean, abundant energy resources, CHP technologies create demand for highly skilled American labor and technology. Yet today, CHP is vastly underused, with just eight percent of electricity in the U.S. generated from CHP turbines. Even at its current rate, CHP use in the U.S. avoids more than 1.9 quadrillion Btu of fuel consumption and 248 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

That’s equivalent to removing more than 45 million cars from the road.

The White House has taken note of this opportunity. On August 30, the President signed an Executive Order that set a national goal of deploying 40 gigawatts of new CHP in the United States by the end of 2020. This would increase the total amount of CHP installed by 50 percent. The use of more CHP means that we can look forward to a cleaner, more affordable and more energy-efficient future.

Princeton made a smart choice by investing in a cogeneration plant when they built it in 1995. Adding the efficiency of CHP to the low cost of domestically-produced natural gas means that greater use of natural gas-fired CHP technologies will deliver cost savings for users and help improve our environment. And as we saw during Hurricane Sandy, the reliability of these plants and their ability to power a generator during a storm makes them an even smarter choice.

Posted in Natural Gas, people, technology, weather | 2 Comments

Christina Nyquist Saving Money by Switching to Natural Gas: The Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator

Across the country, city buses, refuse vehicles, delivery trucks and even taxi and limousine services are saving money and reducing tailpipe emissions by switching from gasoline and diesel to natural gas.

Now, the Drive Natural Gas Initiative (Drive Nat Gas) has worked with Ricardo, a leading firm in sustainable energy technology, to help make it easier for vehicle fleet owners to make that switch.

The Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator lets users conduct a preliminary analysis and calculation of the payback period for converting a fleet, or part of a fleet, to natural gas.

Drive Nat Gas and Ricardo will host a free, public webinar on Tuesday, November 27th at 11 am EST to present the tool and give a tutorial, and will answer questions from the audience.

Expanding the use of natural gas in transportation delivers both economic and environmental benefits. On average, natural gas is currently 47 percent less expensive than an equivalent gallon of gasoline, and 59 percent less expensive than equivalent gallon of diesel. Natural gas-powered vehicles can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent compared to gasoline- fueled vehicles.

Using natural gas at the pump can provide significant cost savings. Yet making the initial investment to switch to natural gas vehicles and ensuring the infrastructure exists to fuel it can be daunting to businesses and individuals concerned with the bottom line.

Fleet vehicles, – like delivery trucks, refuse vehicles, transit buses and more – may see a significant benefit from making the initial investment to switch to natural gas. This is because fleet vehicles use more fuel than the average passenger car or truck, and frequently return to the same base to refuel, making them less reliant on a steady supply of fueling stations.  Fleets also replace their vehicles more frequently than lighter-duty vehicles. This may make it easier for them to recover the initial investment costs in a shorter amount of time.

As more fleets make the switch and encourage investment in fueling stations and infrastructure, it will become easier for lighter-duty vehicles to follow suit. More vehicles powered by domestic natural gas across the country will spur our economy, increase our energy security and improve our environment. AGA and Drive Nat Gas work every day to make those goals a reality.

Drive Nat Gas is a membership-based, collaborative effort of natural gas utilities and producers seeking to further develop the use of clean, domestic, affordable natural gas as a transportation fuel.  Through Drive Nat Gas, over 50 natural gas industry members  work to expand the role natural gas can play in enhancing national and energy security, improving air quality and providing America with a more affordable and reliable source of transportation fuel.

To join tomorrow’s webinar and learn more, contact Christina Nyquist at

Posted in CNG, Natural Gas, vehicles | 2 Comments

Tracy Burleson Helping To Make Natural Gas the Star of the Kitchen

Guest Blogger: Mike Besack on behalf of Thermador*

Nothing stands out in the kitchen quite like the unique flow of natural gas on a powerful cooktop, range or rangetop. It’s part of what makes cooking an integral part of the American home. Thermador certainly has done its part to help make that special experience happen on a whole other level.

When Thermador first introduced the exclusive Star® Burner in 1998, the shape of gas cooking was literally changed. The typical, circular natural gas burner was transformed into a striking, catchy star. This design offers ample heat coverage and a smaller cold spot, making it ideal for any pan size. It’s tailor made for the perfect pancake, your favorite searing recipe or anything you love to cook that demands maximum and even heat.

Thermador’s Star Burner design allows for more ports and flame distribution than a typical round burner (35 ports around the perimeter versus 28), as well as a maximum power of 22k British thermal unit (Btu) and a delicate simmer of 375 Btu. Consumers will also appreciate the elevated brass burner and solid black maintop allowing for quick and easy cleanup.

All Thermador gas cooktops and ranges feature the exclusive Star Burner, and even the most demanding of culinary enthusiasts couldn’t be happier. It’s a welcomed star of any kitchen.

To experience the Star Burner in action, click here to watch online cooking demonstrations. The Star Burner will also be on display as part of the American Natural Gas and Propane Industries exhibit at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show on January 22 through 24 in Las Vegas, NV.

Will you be cooking with natural gas this Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments box below or send a tweet to @naturalgasflk and use the #Thanksgiving hashtag.

*Statements of fact or opinion in this blog post are the responsibility of Thermador alone and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of the American Gas Association.

Posted in appliances, energy, International Builders' Show, Natural Gas, technology | 2 Comments

Tracy Burleson Natural Gas Cooktops Offer High Efficiency, Easy Cleaning and Reliability

Guest Blogger: Melissa England, Associate, Consumer Team, Rogers Finn Partners on behalf of Bosch*

Just as most professional chefs insist on cooking with natural gas, “everyday” cooks recognize that natural gas offers even heat, excellent temperature control and instant on/off settings for cooking and baking. Today’s natural gas ranges, ovens, cooktops and grills feature high efficiency, easy cleaning and the reliability that natural gas equipment is known for.

The Bosch 800 Series 30” Gas Cooktop marries innovative engineering and modern design to improve appliance dependability, efficiency and ease of us. With five burners, the Bosch Cooktop has the versatility of a 36” Cooktop in a compact format for kitchens where space is limited.  Continuous grates and centralized controls allow consumers to effortlessly move pots and pans across the stove, as well as clean up after messy spills.

With power and efficiency at the heart of its German engineering, the “OptiSim” feature heats at a low British thermal unit (Btu) to simmer the most delicate sauces or melt chocolate by evenly spreading the flame across the bottom of the pot to help prevent scorching. The “PowerSim” feature on the largest burner uses a diffuser cap to output a large flame of up to 18,000 Btu for quick heating.  For added convenience and safety, the burners automatically re-ignite if the flame goes out during cooking. With a low-profile and sleek stainless steel design, the Bosch 30” Gas Cooktop has an integrated appearance that seamlessly blends into the kitchen.

Cooking with natural gas is economical – it costs about half as much to cook with a natural gas range as with a similar electric range. While the initial investment for a natural gas appliance may be a bit more than electric models, consumers will pay themselves back overtime with energy savings and years of reliable service.

Home builders will have the opportunity to see the Bosch Cooktop, along with other leading-edge natural gas and propane appliances at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, NV. The American Gas Association (AGA) will be part of the American Natural Gas and Propane Industries exhibit on January 22 through 24.

Let us know if you’ve recently purchased a natural gas appliance and what differences you’ve noticed in the comments section below.

*Statements of fact or opinion in this blog post are the responsibility of Bosch alone and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of the American Gas Association.*

Posted in appliances, energy, International Builders' Show, Natural Gas, technology | 1 Comment