Category Archives: technology

Richard Meyer The Tech Sector’s Natural Gas Play

Two household names in the technology world are integrating natural gas technology and infrastructure into their clean energy plans.

First up is the Microsoft Corporation, which announced that it is constructing a first-of-its-kind natural gas datacenter. In partnership with McKinstry and Cummins, the tech giant will install a 20-rack datacenter in Seattle, WA that utilizes natural gas fuel cells. The company says this approach could transform how it powers its servers.

On the company’s blog, Christian Belady, General Manager, and Sean James, Principal, Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure and Operations, describe the benefits:

“This stark and simple design significantly reduces the amount of energy lost in power generation, transmission and power conversion. Right now, datacenters are powered by the electrical grid, which flows from a power plant, through multiple substations and transmission lines, and then must be converted into the right voltage for a datacenter before we can use it. With fuel cells powered directly from the natural gas line, we cut out all those steps, and remove the energy losses that occur through this long transmission process as seen below.”

The benefits also extend to energy reliability and resiliency. Belady and James continue:

“With fewer pieces in the supply chain, there are fewer potential points of failure. That helps improve the reliability of our power supply and our datacenters. And, of course, with this simplification comes a reduction in cost. Eliminating electrical distribution, power conditioning, and backup infrastructure makes a datacenter easier and less expensive to build, operate and manage.”

Make sure to keep an eye on this pilot project.

Next up is Apple, which is putting the finishing touches on its new corporate headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

Apple has announced that its new campus, the 175-acre Apple Park, is to be run on 100 percent renewable energy.

How exactly does the company accomplish this? The new campus will feature on-site rooftop solar and a mix of offsite purchases and credits. However, a closer examination of its plans shows that natural gas infrastructure is how Apple gets to 100 percent.

The company will utilize four megawatts of baseload biogas fuel cells to power its facilities. The efficient on-site generators will provide reliable power to its office, datacenters and energy-intensive research and development facilities while remaining carbon neutral.

The fuel cells also work as a natural pairing with the on-site 17-megawatt rooftop solar installation, which together will provide 75 percent of the facilities’ total electricity needs.

Apple’s Environmental Impact Report documents describe how the fuel cells will be powered:

“Directed biogas will be delivered by an off-site renewable biogas producer by means of the existing natural gas pipeline. As with electricity, there is no means of ensuring the actual molecules of biogas are consumed at the customer’s site. Thus, the gas may not be physically delivered to the site, as the biogas may actually be utilized at another location along the pipeline route (requiring the use of natural gas on the project site).”

In other words, Apple will utilize the existing natural gas utility distribution system to power its on-site fuel cells but will purchase biogas credits to reach its renewables goal.

Both projects offer unique insights into different ways that large companies are trying to meet their environmental goals while maintaining energy reliability. In both cases, on-site natural gas provides an energy backbone onto which renewables are integrated. I, for one, will be watching how both projects progress with interest.

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Tracy Burleson Ecopower Can Help Consumers Save Money on Utility Bills

Households across the Unites States that use natural gas for heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying spend an average of $840 less per year than homes using strictly electricity for those same appliances. The ecopower microCHP demonstrates how natural gas is not only clean, domestic and abundant, but may be more efficient and affordable as well.

Using a natural gas or propane fueled Marathon engine, the ecopower system is designed to produce heat while simultaneously co-generating electricity, essentially providing consumers with their own on-site power plant. While creating the thermal energy for space heating, domestic hot water and other appliances, the system is also producing electricity to supplement or replace the reliance on grid supplied energy, reducing your overall utility bill and saving you money.ecopower

Benefits of installing ecopower:

  • Provides heat and electrical power
  • Runs on low-cost natural gas
  • Reduces CO2 emissions
  • May reduce your energy bill


Producing 13,000 – 47,000 BTUs per hour, the ecopower system will modulate based on the thermal needs of the application. Sensors located in the buffer storage tank tell the engine when to slow down and speed up as needed, ensuring the unit runs as long as possible in order to create the 1.2 – 4.4kW of byproduct electricity per hour. Accordin to ecopower, any application with a large thermal demand, such as large homes, multi-family buildings, pools, hotels, sports facilities and nursing homes, is the ideal candidate for one or more ecopower units.

With an engine life of more than 40,000 hours and long service intervals, the Marathon Engine is the prime energy source for ecopower. Clean burning natural gas contributes to the long life and thermal efficiency of the system.

For more information, please visit or visit the American Gas Association booth C2615 at the 2016 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on January 19 through 21.

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







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More homes use natural gas today than ever before and the numbers continue to increase. Due to the incredible gains we have made in energy efficiency, the average home uses 50 percent less natural gas than a home in 1970 despite homes today being 61 percent larger. When it comes to cooking, natural gas not only provides customers with an efficient option, but it can also offer a charming look when you cook—just ask BlueStar. A manufacturer of high performance appliances for the home, BlueStar invites you to bring home a new appliance  to adorn your kitchen with its take on the Pantone 2016 Colors of the Year—Rose Quartz or Pigeon Blue.

“The use of color in a kitchen can make a distinct and very personal statement,” says Eliza rose ovenSheffield, vice president of marketing, BlueStar. “It’s possible to create a stunning focal point with a range and kitchen hood that is customized to your personal taste and cooking preference—from the choice of colors and trims, to the configuration and power of the burners.”

Available in more than 750 colors and finishes, and with almost infinite configuration possibilities, BlueStar® premium products offer virtually unlimited personalization options. To view the possibilities, BlueStar offers an interactive website tool, “Build Your Own BlueStar,” which allows you to customize everything from the intensity of the burners to the color of the knobs and the range itself.

Handcrafted in Reading, PA since 1880, BlueStar® cooking products are designed for discerning home chefs who demand restaurant-quality results in their own kitchens. The BlueStar® product line features high-performance gas ranges, cooktops, wall ovens and hoods. BlueStar notes that unique performance features include an open gas burner system that produces up to 25,000 BTUs of cooking power, precise 130 degree simmer burners, blue ovenand oversized convection ovens with professional-grade infrared broilers.

For more information, please visit or visit the American Gas Association booth C2615 at the 2016 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on January 19 through 21 to see Bluestar products.

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

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Tracy Burleson AGA to Join the 70th Annual International Builders’ Show

American Gas Association (AGA) is looking forward to its return to Las Vegas on January 19-21 for the 70th annual International Builders’ Show (IBS). This year, IBS and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) will again co-locate at the Las Vegas Convention Center to create Design and Construction Week. AGA’s space will include eleven natural gas appliance manufacturer displays featuring the latest industry technology available to consumers as well as provide a one-stop location where builders can learn about the mostUrn modern gas appliances. Manufacturers include Bevelo Gas & Electric Lights, Westport, BlueStar, FiveStar, Bradford White, Dettson Industries, Lennox Industries Inc., Marathon Engine Systems, Navien, Rinnai Corporation and RH Peterson Co.

Over the course of the event, AGA will be using social media platforms to promote the American Natural Gas Industry Exhibit in booth C2615. In addition, there will be a give-away for a Fyre Designs Fire Urn. New to American Fyre Designs, a contemporary Fire Urn adds warmth and modern styling to outdoor living spaces and is manufactured from glass fiber reinforced concrete. Forms will be available at the booth to register for the give-away for all attendees.

IBS 2016 promises to be a successful event delivering the largest number of building professionals in one location. If you are interested in supporting the natural gas industry efforts at IBS as a volunteer or manufacturer, please contact Tracy Burleson at For more information, please follow or like our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!

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