Pontotoc to convert some vehicles to natural gas

GM increases CNG options on pick-ups, vans

Fuel From Landfill Methane Goes on Sale

Natural Gas Vehicle Refueling Stations to Total 30,000 by 2020

 


 

Pontotoc to convert some vehicles to natural gas

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Posted on August 15, 2013 by Todd Vinyard in Local and State Government, News
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By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

FLOWOOD – Pontotoc Mayor Jeff Stafford said he hopes the conversion of five city vehicles to be fueled by compressed natural gas is just the beginning for his city.

"We have been researching this for five years," Stafford said of converting city vehicles to run on natural gas instead of more expensive gasoline. "When I ran for re-election, one of my campaign promises was to get gas cheaper."

Stafford was on hand Wednesday in a busy section of Rankin County in suburban Jackson as the NGA Solutions announced the opening of the first commercial fueling station for vehicles that run on natural gas. The cost on Wednesday was $1.99 per gallon.

In coordination with the ribbon-cutting was the announcement that Pontotoc, along with the cities of Flowood in the Jackson area and Quitman in south Mississippi, was converting a small portion of its vehicle fleets with the intention of converting many more in the future.

The cities are taking advantage of zero-interest loans from the state, in a program created by the 2012 Legislature, to pay for much of the costs of the conversion.

In Pontotoc, Stafford said at least $60,000 in state loan funds will be used to build a fueling station there for city vehicles.

"We want everybody to see it work," Stafford said, adding eventually the fueling station opened in Pontotoc would be available to the public. The city of Pontotoc is equipped to open a fueling station because it already operates a large natural gas provider.

Currently, there are only about 1,000 commercial natural gas fueling stations in the country, though estimates say there will be 12,000 by 2015.

State Rep. Randy Boyd, R-Mantachie, who attended the ribbon-cutting, said he spent about $6,200 to convert his Chevrolet truck to run on natural gas. He said the truck can be filled up at Mantachie Natural Gas, but it is a much longer process than at a specially equipped vehicle fueling station like the one opened Wednesday in Flowood.

He said when he travels he has to map out a route where he knows he can refuel. Of course, if problems occur, he can convert back to traditional gas until he finds a natural gas fueling station.

Currently, in Mississippi a few companies with large fleets, such as Waste Management, have converted some of their vehicles to natural gas.

Gov. Phil Bryant, who also attended the ribbon-cutting, said he is working to convert much of the state fleet. He said that is his goal, because it is a much cheaper and cleaner energy that is abundant in Mississippi.

He said as the conversion kit becomes cheaper more people will convert their vehicles. Plus, many auto manufacturers now are producing vehicles that run on natural gas.

"This is a clean fuel that gives out almost no byproduct into the atmosphere," he said. "This is a wonderful example of what we are trying to do."

In Pontotoc, Stafford said his truck is being converted along with other high mileage vehicles. He said as more vehicles are converted the city's fuel costs will be reduced, providing additional funds for other services.

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GM increases CNG options on pick-ups, vans

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General Motors is broadening its inventory of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles with the addition of two CNG passenger-van models for the 2014 model year. GM is also upgrading its two bi-fuel pickup lines for 2015.

GM already has a CNG option available for its cargo vans and will now offer that option in the 2014Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana passenger vans. Both of those models will have a roughly 200-mile driving range with a full tank of CNG. For the 2015 model year, both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierrawill be available with a dual-tank feature that allows the driver to switch back and forth between gasoline and CNG. All four of the models have 6.0-liter V8 engines and will start production early next year.

GM first added the bi-fuel option for the Silverado and Sierra pickups last year, putting a price tag of approximately $11,000 on the option. The automaker argued at the time that owners of trucks with the bi-fuel option could save as much as $10,000 over three years because of gas price fluctuations and lower CNG costs. According to the US Department of Energy, there are about 1,200 public and private CNG filling stations in the country, compared to almost 20,000 plug-in vehicle charging stations and 53 H2 stations. Check out GM's press release below.

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Fuel From Landfill Methane Goes on Sale

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By DIANE CARDWELL

Published: October 2, 2013

Farmers, waste management companies and the energy industries have long experimented with converting methane, a byproduct of decomposing organic matter, into transportation fuel.

Those efforts have met with mixed success, and a renewable natural gas fuel has not been widely available in the United States. But now, one leading supplier of natural gas transport fuel is taking a big step toward changing that.

Clean Energy Fuels will announce on Thursday that it has started selling a fuel made of methane from landfills and other waste sources at its more than 40 filling stations in California. The company, which is backed by T. Boone Pickens, is developing a nationwide network of natural gas pumps and plans to introduce the fuel elsewhere as well.

The company expects to sell 15 million gallons of the fuel in California this year, more than double the amount of similar fuels the Environmental Protection Agency projected would be produced nationwide.

Its customers include companies like AT&T, Verizon, Mattel and Williams-Sonoma as well as large fleet operators like SuperShuttle and Hertz.

To many in the industry, the pace of the fuel's development has been something of a surprise.

"Though California and others have been investing in the development of this fuel, I don't think people were expecting there to be a significant public supply or access this soon — maybe not even this decade," said Tim Carmichael, who leads the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, a trade group.

A big factor in methane's rise is the surge in natural gas production from shale drilling, which had already nudged the transportation industry to begin shifting to vehicles that can run on the cleaner-burning fuel, making it easier to meet emissions standards.

Another reason is powerful government incentives, especially in California, that have imposed strict regulations intended to help reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Under the program, suppliers that reduce emissions during the production, transportation and use of the fuel are awarded tradable credits.

These and similar federal incentives are allowing Clean Energy to sell the fuel, which is called Redeem, at the same price as its conventional natural gas fuel even though it is more expensive to produce.

The new fuel is also cheaper than diesel fuel and it provides the companies some insulation from the geopolitics that can drive up petroleum prices.

But because of its source, the fuel counts as renewable and takes less energy to extract and process, making it more attractive to companies seeking to burnish their green credentials.

The fuel's environmental benefits also include capturing the methane before it is released into the atmosphere. When the methane-derived fuel is burned, it is far less harmful to the atmosphere than petroleum fuels. But the methane that escapes directly from decomposing waste is more potent as a heat-trapping gas than carbon.

For this reason, many large-scale farms, wastewater treatment companies and garbage companies have developed systems to capture escaping methane — known as biogas — for both transportation and electricity, and several start-up companies are working on systems of their own. There are projects in Europe as well, where biogas for transport is more common.

Although many of the methane-capture projects in the United States and Europe have been geared toward producing electricity, those markets have been declining, said Mackinnon Lawrence, principal research analyst at Navigant Research.

Looking to make transportation fuel was a logical alternative, he said, because producers can take advantage of federal and state incentives. The push has its risks, however, because the credit values have been so volatile that it is difficult for companies to commit to long-term investments.

Beyond the bottom line, customers are increasingly interested in how clean the fuel is, said Andrew J. Littlefair, the chief executive of Clean Energy, adding that Redeem can burn 90 percent cleaner than diesel. "We're seeing from these heavy-duty trucking fleets, and these shippers that hire these trucking fleets, they're really interested in sustainability," he said. "It's gotten to be a very important part of the sale."

John Simourian, chief executive of Lily Transportation, which uses a nationwide network of trucks to move a range of products, including construction materials and groceries, said that only a small portion of his fleet ran on natural gas but that the company was shifting over.

Not only is the fuel less expensive, but it gives the company a competitive advantage with customers on price and environmental concerns. "It's just a win all around," he said.

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Natural Gas Vehicle Refueling Stations to Total 30,000 by 2020

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Oct. 1, 2013 | T&D World Magazine

With the cost of natural gas reaching historic lows in many regions, interest in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is growing. The growth of the NGV market is inherently tied to the availability of the fuel, whether that fuel is compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) in heavier duty applications. As a result, the market for natural gas refueling infrastructure is experiencing robust growth, as companies look to capitalize on opportunities presented by potential NGV demand.

According to research from Navigant Research, the number of NGV refueling stations installed worldwide will reach nearly 30,000 by 2020. And North America will represent 40% of the global NGV refueling stations installed between 2013 and 2015, the report concludes.

"Creating a robust infrastructure to refuel NGVs is challenging on several fronts," says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. "The cost of NGV refueling infrastructure is higher relative to other fuels, and any new pipelines needed for supplying CNG from the gas grid can make the viability of a new station challenging. Nevertheless, the lower cost of both CNG and LNG relative to gasoline and diesel is expected to increase demand for both vehicles and new refueling stations."

Many of the competitors in the infrastructure market are focused on developing CNG refueling infrastructure within cities and suburban areas. CNG is largely used to serve light- and medium-duty vehicles that are likely to travel within a metro area or from one metro area to another without refueling. This infrastructure growth will help drive demand for NGVs within metropolitan areas. To connect different metro areas over longer distances, LNG is marketed as a replacement for diesel fuel, for use in fleet vehicles that travel extended distances.

The report, "Natural Gas Vehicle Refueling Infrastructure," examines the market for CNG and LNG refueling station equipment and the drivers for the development of the NGV infrastructure market. The report includes updates on the current market and the cost drivers for the facilities, an assessment of the infrastructure supply chain and profiles of key players.

Visit www.navigant.com

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