Category Archives: CNG

Lisa Dundon The Silent Transportation Revolution

Written By: AGA’s Vice President of Policy Strategy Kathryn Clay, Former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and University of Texas at Austin Professor of Mechanical Engineering Raymond L. Orbach

iStock 000005417609XSmall PREP 12 The Silent Transportation RevolutionWhile electric vehicles have captured news headlines, a second revolution has been quietly gaining traction in the U.S. transportation sector. Over the last five years, more than $450 million of private sector capital has been invested in natural gas fueling infrastructure. In fact, a technological breakthrough has enabled the development of both fuel storage enhancements and lighter stronger tanks that promise to increase range, reduce vehicle weight, and lower vehicle cost. Add historically-low natural gas prices to the mix, and these developments now position vehicles powered from natural gas to gain great market share within the transportation sector.

Natural gas vehicles have long suffered from a consumer perception of being “boring.” This perception has spread because the majority of compressed natural gas vehicles sold to date have been relegated to fleets, such as buses and delivery vehicles, where municipal governments and large corporations can take advantage of central fueling stations to reduce infrastructure costs.  For many individuals, their first encounter with a natural gas vehicle is a city bus, a United States Post Office delivery vehicle, or the car carrying the parking enforcement officer who just wrote you a parking ticket – not exactly the flashy marketing that surrounds the launch of most new vehicles today.

But all of this is changing, and with it, the country stands to gain profound energy security and environmental benefits.  Private companies, including many natural gas utilities, are investing in natural gas refueling stations.  As a result, the total number of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations nationwide has grown by nearly 80 percent since 2009.  The site locations are based on customers’ demands that CNG fueling stations be built near their key shipping lanes with proximity to major interstate highways. On the liquefied natural gas (LNG) side, Clean Energy Fuels has built a network of fueling stations along the I-40, I-10, and I-95 highways that support long-haul heavy-duty trucking, offering a viable alternative to diesel fuel for moving goods around the country.  And although the truck market may be small in absolute numbers, these vehicles travel great distances every year: medium- and heavy-duty trucks consume upwards of 90 percent of all diesel fuel used on highways in the United States.

Recent breakthroughs in metal-organic frameworks have been demonstrated to store up to three times the quantity of natural gas that would be contained in a conventional CNG tank at the same temperature and pressure. One gram of a metal-organic framework has the surface area equal to the size of a football field. This new storage capability has the potential to solve the range shortcoming that has plagued CNG vehicles, bringing the potential range on par with gasoline-fueled passenger cars.

On the fueling infrastructure side, the cost of home fueling infrastructure for a CNG vehicle is currently about $5,000. However, this too is on the verge of becoming dramatically cheaper, with companies like GE and Eaton in the process of rolling out new CNG fueling units at a tenth of the current cost, plus installation. Such a development means drivers might only stop at a gas station for a coffee.

In addition to direct combustion of natural gas, hydrogen can be easily produced by reforming natural gas.  Fuel cells utilizing hydrogen can propel vehicles electrically, with ranges comparable to current gasoline powered automobiles.  Hydrogen fueling stations are becoming more common, and automobile manufacturers are producing hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars in new 2015 models that emit only water vapor out of their tailpipe.

The bright prospects for vehicles that rely on natural gas truly is “good news” for the country because these vehicles provide much-needed diversity to the transportation sector, which is currently dependent on petroleum—and the perils of global oil markets—for more than 90 percent of fuel consumption.  Similarly, vehicles that rely on natural gas can offer tremendous optionality in the face of a global oil crisis, and also free up U.S.-produced petroleum products for our allies in times of need.

Although the progress has been great, this is not yet the time to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. The natural gas technologies for transportation coming to fruition today are a direct result of a long-term commitment to basic research and development of alternative technologies from both industry and government.  As we take stock of government spending—which we agree must be reduced in order to keep the national debt at a sustainable level—we should strive to make the strategic investments that the scientists and engineers tell us are needed.  Furthermore, bringing these technologies and supporting infrastructure to market will also require us to look at other factors, including siting and zoning for natural gas and hydrogen refueling stations, and calculating fuel economy standards across a range of technologies. Looking forward, vehicles relying on natural gas hold great promise, but our work is not yet finished until those promises become reality.

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Tracy Burleson 2014 New American Home Showcases Emerging Energy Efficiency Technology

The abundance and affordability of natural gas provides many new opportunities to expand its use throughout different sectors of the economy, including increased numbers of uses in the residential sector. The use of natural gas appliances in the home can not only help improve total energy efficiency, but can also help lower your energy bills and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.

TNAH 2014 1 2014 New American Home Showcases Emerging Energy Efficiency Technology

Image Courtesy of www.tnah.com

Visitors to the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas, NV next week will have the opportunity to experience these emerging energy-efficient technologies and products first-hand inside the 2014 New American Home. The stunning, 7,400-square-foot home integrates an array of natural gas appliances and features, including a compressed natural gas (CNG) home fueling station supplied by Southwest Gas, which delivers a convenient, on-site way to refuel CNG vehicles using the home’s existing natural gas supply line.The efficiency created by using natural gas is just one of the many ways this home reduces its carbon footprint.

The New American Home was constructed to the highest level of the National Green Building Standard by custom builder Element Building Company with state-of the-art technology, including a solar water heater, photovoltaic panels, closed-cell spray-foam insulation and a weather-sensitive irrigation system that automatically adjusts usage relative to the immediate climate. The house, dubbed the greenest New American Home in the program’s 31-year-history, also features tankless water heaters, hydronic air handlers, intelligent fireplaces and sustainable building materials.

TNAH 2014 2 2014 New American Home Showcases Emerging Energy Efficiency Technology

Image Courtesy of www.tnah.com

Natural gas plays an important role in increasing household energy efficiency while also being extremely cost effective. Appliances using this fuel help consumers save money and increase comfort while improving the environment. According the American Gas Foundation’s new study “Fueling the Future with Nature Gas: Bringing it Home,” households with natural gas heating, cooking and clothes drying spend an average of $654 less annually than households using electricity for the same appliances.

The American Gas Association (AGA) is proud to once again partner with utility member Southwest Gas to deliver clean and efficient natural gas to the New American Home. Utility member Questar will be providing a CNG pickup outside the home, specifically a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD Crew Cab 153.7.

This dynamic home will be open for free daily tours from February 4-6 via free shuttle buses (ticket required) departing every half hour from the Las Vegas Convention Center. For a sneak peak of the New American Home, watch this video below:

Reminder: AGA will also be participating in IBS on February 4-6. Stop by booth C2615 to meet with leading manufactures and learn about the latest industry innovations and technology. You can also follow AGA’s livetweet on Twitter using @AGA_naturalgas and #IBSVegas.

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Tracy Burleson World CNG Revved Up to Spotlight NGV Pickup at International Builders’ Show

Guest Blogger: John Hodgkinson on behalf of World CNG

As thousands of construction professionals from across the country arrive at the International Builders’ Show (IBS) Opening Ceremony, a 2013 Ford F150 bi-fuel truck will be on display at the entrance of the Las Vegas Convention Center. World CNG, with the American Gas Association and Southwest Gas, is excited to display the truck at IBS held February 4 – 6, 2014. The Seattle-based company, with additional conversion facilities in Chicago and Las Vegas, specializes in compressed natural gas (CNG) upfits of small and medium-duty passenger and cargo vehicles.

WorldCNG Passengerside2 300x114 World CNG Revved Up to Spotlight NGV Pickup at International Builders’ ShowThe 2013 5.0 L Ford F150 is a bi-fuel CNG conversion with 21 Gasoline Gallon Equivalent Cylinder providing an overall range of approximately 750 miles.  With a technical and sales staff that includes some of the industry’s leading experts in CNG vehicle technology, World CNG develops custom CNG conversion packages for pickup truck applications designed to meet the requirements of fleet operations.

According to the new “Fueling the Future of Natural Gas: Bringing it Home” study by the American Gas Foundation and IHS CERA, a natural gas vehicle can save consumers an average of $4,500 in fuel costs over five years compared to a gasoline vehicle.  IHS CERA reports that natural gas prices will remain in the $4-5 per mmBtu range (in constant 2012$) on an annual average through 2035. In contrast, the price of crude oil is projected to be $90 per barrel, or almost $16 per mmBtu. This translates to projected retail costs for gasoline and diesel fuel that are approximately twice the natural gas price. IHS CERA reports that the volume of natural gas used as a transportation fuel in the U.S. will triple by 2020.

In addition to World CNG, AGA will also partner with appliance manufacturers to feature the latest in natural gas technology in booth C2615 located in the Central Concourse of the Convention Center. AGA will be livetweeting throughout IBS and encourages you to join the conversation on Twitter using @aga_naturalgas and #IBSVegas. For more information, contact Tracy Burleson at tburleson@aga.org.

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

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Lisa Dundon Universities Making the Grade with Natural Gas

Communications & Marketing Department Intern Terence Edelman contributed to this story.

Universities around the country are looking for ways to reduce their carbon emissions and be more environmentally friendly.  To achieve this, many institutions are moving away from other fuels in favor of efficient, cleaner burning natural gas.

Oberlin College in Ohio has a plan to eliminate their carbon emissions by 2025. In order to achieve this goal the campus is transitioning to gas boilers for the next 12 years, at which point the college plans to switch to electric compressor technology. Their old coal burners, installed in the 1940s, will be taken offline next March and replaced with cleaner burning natural gas. Once the electric compressor technology is utilized, the natural gas plant will serve as a back-up system in the event of an electrical outage, unusually high needs and during maintenance periods.

Lock Haven University (LHU) in Pennsylvania has also found a good use for natural gas.  A university trolley used to transport students around campus was recently converted to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). LHU has other trolleys which burn diesel fuel and are much louder. University spokesperson Keith Roush said the college made the switch to clean, green CNG as a way to cut down on emissions. LHU officials have also stated that they are paying less for the CNG trolley and get comparable miles per gallon as the diesel fuel alternatives.

LHU CNG trolley Universities Making the Grade with Natural Gas

Photo Courtesy: Lock Haven University

The University of Colorado (CU) is taking advantage of low and stable natural gas prices and will use natural gas powered turbines to generate electricity and heat for the campus.  CU is developing a $91 million “campus utility system” project to renovate their existing power plant, enabling them to generate steam and electricity from natural gas, all while reducing carbon emissions.

“These enhancements to our power plants so that we can burn natural gas to create electricity will lower our carbon footprint significantly,” said Dave Newport, director of the university’s Environmental Center.

After analyzing a range of alternatives, Pennsylvania State University is converting its coal-powered steam plant to natural gas to upgrade and improve efficiency.  The steam plant, which was built in 1929, consumes 70,000 tons of coal each year. The university expects to recover the investment in the mechanical upgrades through the savings achieved from purchasing lower cost natural gas. To accommodate the increase in natural gas demand, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania will upgrade its natural gas service to the plant by installing a new gas line across campus.

Universities across the country are taking advantage of affordable, clean and reliable natural gas to reduce their carbon footprints and improve the energy efficiency of their institutions. Let us know in the comments section below what you or your school is doing to embrace our nation’s clean, abundant supply of natural gas.

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