Category Archives: LNG

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.

Posted in CNG, LNG, Natural Gas, transportation | Leave a comment

Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: June 27, 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reminded us this month that the world’s first purpose-built, ocean-going LNG carrier, the Methane Princess, was placed into service 50 years ago in June 1964. That ship, and her sister vessel, the Methane Progress, traveled primarily between Algeria and the UK. Today, there are 357 such ships generally averaging five times the capacity of the original transporter.

Domestic production remains strong and growing, and storage injections’ aggressive poise has coincided with a slight softening of prices. Following one of the coldest winters in decades and the strongest demand pull ever, the physical market appears to be adjusting accordingly.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

Posted in energy, LNG, Natural Gas, weather, winter heating | Leave a comment

Lisa Dundon AGA Scholarship Program to Support Students Seeking Careers in Natural Gas Industry

Last Thursday marked a historic day as AGA announced that proceeds from LNG 17 will be put towards scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in the natural gas industry. The AGA Scholarship program will provide $1 million in funding for students focused on fields related to energy.

On hand for the announcement (pictured left to right) were David Carroll, President of the Gas Technology Institute; Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of AGA; David McClanahan, President and CEO of CenterPoint Energy; and Eloise Dunn Stuhr, Vice President and Vice Chancellor for University Advancement with the University of Houston and UH System.

AGA scholarship panel 300x216 AGA Scholarship Program to Support Students Seeking Careers in Natural Gas Industry

“Natural gas is the foundation fuel for a clean and secure energy future and an economic revitalization for our country,” said McCurdy. “Our commitment will help ensure the continued vitality of the American workforce and solidify the legacy of this transformation in American energy.”

A recent survey revealed that nearly 50 percent of the energy sector is experiencing a gap in the skills of its work force in mission critical areas such as engineering and skill trade.

Students seeking a career in trade jobs that are in high demand in the natural gas industry including HVAC, Welding, Pipefitters, Mechanical/Petroleum/Chemical Engineering, Engineering Technologies/Technicians, and specific natural gas programs such as Gas Utility Construction and Service will be eligible for the scholarship. It is anticipated that more than 200 students will receive scholarships over the next five years.

Students at the schools outlined below will be selected to participate. We are so excited to share this great news and look forward to sharing more with you as the students are selected.

Baton Rouge Community College; Baton Rouge, LA
Bishop State Community College; Mobile, AL
Bismarck State College; Bismarck ND
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Pomona, CA
Central Piedmont Community College; Charlotte, NC
City Colleges of Chicago; Chicago, IL
Clackamas Community College; Oregon City, OR
Colorado School of Mines; Golden, CO
Erie Community College; Buffalo, NY
Gwinnett Technical College; Lawrenceville, GA
International School of Hydrocarbon Measurement; Norman, OK
Ivy Tech Community College; Terre Haute, IN
Kilgore College; Kilgore, TX
Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT); Beaumont, TX
Los Angeles Trade–Technical College; Los Angeles, CA
Marshalltown Community College; Marshalltown, IA
Monroe Community College; Rochester, NY
Northeast Iowa Community College; Calmar, IA
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College; Green Bay, WI
Northern Virginia Community College; Annandale, VA
Pennsylvania College of Technology; Williamsport, PA
Salt Lake Community College; Salt Lake City, UT
Stevens Institute of Technology; Hoboken, NJ
University of Houston, Houston; TX
West Virginia University; Morgantown, WV
Westmoreland County Community College; Youngwood, PA

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Lisa Dundon Future of LNG Industry in the United States Looks Bright

On Wednesday, LNG17 once again welcomed thousands of delegates and visitors to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX.

boothtracy 300x225 Future of LNG Industry in the United States Looks Bright

AGA staff welcome delegates to LNG 17.

Day 2 of the conference began with keynote speaker Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS and Founder of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, addressing the global outlook for LNG.

Yergin said he is “very optimistic for the global gas market” forecasting 620 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd) of demand by 2040. Through the advances in technology and infrastructure, North America is changing the face of the LNG industry.

In an interview with the KUHF Houston Public Radio, AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy noted that with this success there are many challenges and opportunities ahead for the LNG industry.

“At the time when AGA secured the bid to host LNG17, the U.S. was the largest importer on LNG and just six years later, our country is now the largest producer and considering exporting natural gas,” said McCurdy. “We’ve gone from an age and an era of scarcity in the supply of natural gas to one of abundance.”

After the morning’s sessions, I took a stroll around the 250,000 sq. feet of exhibition space.  Each of the 350 exhibitors’ booths were stunning and unique in their own way. I was especially drawn to the vendors with two-story structures and neon lights, something I had not seen at my first trade experience during the International Builders Show.

Out of everything I saw on the exhibit floor my favorite two attractions were the natural gas refueling station by Clean Energy and the CNG heavy-duty truck by Westport. I look forward to the day when I see more of these along the highways of America!

Stay tuned to AGA’s Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as this blog for exciting news from AGA regarding our LNG legacy scholarship fund.

Posted in energy, LNG, LNG17, Natural Gas, vehicles | Comments Off