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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: July 27, 2015

  • Senate Finance Committee Passes Tax Extender Legislation and Corrects LNG Tax Inequity
  • NGVAmerica Will Continue Pushing DGE Standard despite NCWM Vote
  • Argonne Partners with Industry to Study Benefits of Blending Natural Gas and Gasoline
  • Ruan Trucking Celebrates Opening of New CNG Station from U.S. Gain
  • S. Gain Partners with Delco Foods for New GAIN Clean Fuel Station in Indianapolis
  • TruStar Energy Opens First Public CNG Station in Orlando
  • SoCalGas Provides CNG Buses at 2015 Special Olympics World Games
  • Xebec Begins Operations at Chinese Landfill Gas Upgrading Project
  • Lloyd’s Register Teams with Penn Oak Energy Corp to Develop LNG Ship Industry


Senate Finance Committee Passes Tax Extender Legislation and Corrects LNG Tax Inequity

July 27, 2015

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee this week approved an original bill to extend certain expiring tax provisions, including the credits for alternative fuel and infrastructure.  The legislation, which passed the Finance Committee by a vote of 23 to 3, extends the 50 cent per gallon credit for natural gas when used as a transportation fuel and the 30 percent/$30,000 investment tax credit for natural gas infrastructure effective from Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016.

In addition, the legislation includes an amendment offered by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) that corrects the LNG tax inequity.  This change places LNG on parity with diesel fuel by taxing the fuels equally based on energy content, rather than volume. Currently, LNG is effectively taxed at a rate that is 70 percent higher than that of diesel, which creates an unfair penalty on those using domestically produced LNG in their trucking fleets.  The Burr/Bennet amendment removes an artificial barrier to the adoption of natural gas vehicles, while the tax credit extensions gives a boost to current and prospective fleets considering the transition to clean, domestic natural gas.


NGVAmerica Will Continue Pushing DGE Standard despite NCWM Vote

July 27, 2015

This past week, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) voted on and failed to pass the diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) standard for selling natural gas at retail fueling stations. The DGE standard would have created greater uniformity and consistency for the natural gas vehicle industry.

The DGE proposal received sufficient votes to pass in the House of Representatives with 32 of 40 states in attendance voting for the DGE measure. Like last year, however, the measure failed to receive sufficient support in the House of Delegates where the vote was 31 delegates against and 26 delegates in favor. Despite overwhelming supportive public comments and testimony during the meeting’s open hearing, there continues to be strong opposition from a handful of states, including California. By some counts (they don’t conduct a roll call in the House of Delegates) there were as many as 20 California officials on hand voting in the House of Delegates. Despite this opposition, California actually is one of the ten states that now has enacted legislation recognizing the DGE method of sale for natural gas, and the state’s top weights and measure official who sits in the House of Representatives voted for the DGE.

The NCWM process for adopting standards once again proved frustrating for natural gas advocates.  The rules provide that each state gets one vote in the House of Representatives but for the House of Delegates, the voting includes all weights and measures officials in attendance and includes county and city officials.  One thing that has hurt this effort is the fact that the states who oppose the DGE tend to send more delegates than the states that support the DGE effort, and of course the resistance from local California regulators has not helped.  Also, industry representatives who are members of NCWM do not have a vote in either body.

“Unfortunately transparency, uniformity, and consistency have fallen victim to a dysfunctional voting process,” said NGVAmerica president Matt Godlewski. “However, state legislators understand the importance of this issue and we will continue this effort state-by-state if that’s what it takes to see this issue through.”

The DGE proposal now goes back to the committee level for additional consideration.  The status of this issue could be revised to Informational or Developing if the NCWM feels like the issue needs more work before being voted on again, or it could be brought back without change as a voting item.  The NCWM votes on standards each summer at its annual meetings, so the next opportunity for this issue at NCWM will occur next July in Denver, Colorado.

NGVAmerica will continue to work with its members and other trade allies to determine the best strategy for seeking adoption of the DGE standard, which will include pushing for state legislation.  NGVAmerica would like to express thanks to all of members, trade allies, and other organizations who have been so supportive on this issue.

For more information, please contact Jeff Clarke 202.824.7364, or jclarke@NGVAmerica.org.


Argonne Partners with Industry to Study Benefits of Blending Natural Gas and Gasoline

July 24, 2015

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are partnering with Ford and FCA US (formerly Chrysler Group) in pre-competitive research to study blending natural gas and gasoline using natural gas direct injection to enable more efficient engines. The project is a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) resulting from the 2014 DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).

The project’s objective is to understand potential benefits and demonstrate targeted blending of gasoline and natural gas in an engine that uses half as much gasoline and shows a 10 percent increase in overall efficiency and a 10 percent improvement in power density.

Natural gas has much higher resistance to knocking, which is caused when the fuel/air mixture in an engine’s cylinder auto-ignites. Mixing natural gas with gasoline would allow the engine to run without fuel enrichment and with optimal spark timing, thereby enabling higher engine efficiency and minimizing conditions that might otherwise cause knocking and potential engine damage.

The team plans to explore technical opportunities to adjust ratios of the two fuels on the fly based on the load of the engine. For example, the engine under heavy load could run more efficiently with more natural gas, whereas under lower load it could use a blend heavier in gasoline. Additional factors that might influence the mixing ratio include the amount of each fuel available on-board as well as the engine’s thermal state.

“This project provides the opportunity to advance alternative fuel technology, particularly the technical challenges and potential of natural gas direct injection and its integration with the gasoline fuel system in dual-fuel strategies,” said Tom McCarthy, chief engineer, Ford Powertrain R&A.

The project is funded by DOE’s Office of Vehicle Technologies within the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. It will take advantage of many of Argonne’s recognized core and enabling capabilities, including modeling of combustion processes, engine optimization, vehicle modeling and X-ray diagnostics at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.


Ruan Trucking Celebrates Opening of New CNG Station from U.S. Gain

Jul 22, 2015

State and local officials joined representatives from Ruan and U.S. Gain as they watched a new Ruan CNG truck break the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of the newest GAIN Clean Fuel CNG station in North America. The GAIN Clean Fuel station, located in Des Moines, Iowa, will fuel Ruan’s fleet of recently converted CNG trucks.

“A lot of research and planning has gone into making the conversion from diesel fuel to CNG,” said Ralph Arthur, Ruan’s president of Dedicated Contract Carriage. “We believe it’s more than just good business; it’s a commitment to making our trucking operations part of the equation when it comes to the stewardship of the environment.”

Ruan currently has 85 CNG tractors in the Midwest—and 100 nationwide—with plans to expand to additional units where there is a fit. It is anticipated that in 2016, this facility will use the equivalent of 1 million gallons of diesel fuel. The new station will be incorporated into U.S. Gain’s network of Gain Clean Fuel stations throughout the North America.


U.S. Gain Partners with Delco Foods for New GAIN Clean Fuel Station in Indianapolis

July 23, 2015

U.S. Gain has completed a new CNG station in partnership with Delco Foods, one of the Midwest’s largest distributors of Italian and specialty food items. The fast-fill GAIN Clean Fuel station is located just inside the I-465 loop in Indianapolis and is open to all CNG fleets and the public. The Indianapolis station, located near their distribution center, not only gives the Delco Foods fleet a strategic fueling location, but also contributes to their commitment to improve sustainability efforts.

“This is a great partnership and one we encourage other carriers to consider,” said Kellie Walsh, executive director of the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition. “Utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel offers significant economic and air quality benefits.”


TruStar Energy Opens First Public CNG Station in Orlando

July 21, 2015

TruStar Energy has opened its first TruStar Energy-branded public CNG fueling station in Orlando, Florida. Featuring four traffic lanes and two fueling islands, the NG fast-fill station is capable of fueling several hundred vehicles a day and is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Designed for future expansion, the station can accept two additional dispensers adding four more traffic lanes. The station is supplied by TECO Peoples Gas and accepts commercial fuel cards such as Comdata or Fuelman as well as all major credit cards.

“The company’s investment in growing Florida’s CNG fueling infrastructure will provide fleets—like ours—the ability to extend our routes outside of our private station network,” said Jose Rivera, Vice President at J.J. Taylor, a Florida-based beer distributor.”


SoCalGas Provides CNG Buses at 2015 Special Olympics World Games

July 24, 2015

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is proud to be a sponsor of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. The utility will have the largest corporate team of “Fans in the Stands” for any single event during the World Games, as well as sponsor the clean and efficient natural gas fuel for 300 buses that will transport athletes and their coaches to the different sporting venues. SoCalGas is also donating more than $100,000.

With 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 to August 2, 2015 – is the largest sports and humanitarian event in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.

The natural gas buses used to transport the athletes and their coaches produce fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, and they also produce less noise and have lower emissions.  SoCalGas actively supports the development of the NGV infrastructure, including refueling facilities. SoCalGas has an extensive NGV support program to provide information, education and support to residential and business customers that use, or would benefit from using, clean-burning natural gas as a transportation fuel.


Xebec Begins Operations at Chinese Landfill Gas Upgrading Project

July 22, 2015

Xebec Adsorption, a provider of gas purification and filtration solutions, recently announced that it has commenced operation of its first commercial landfill gas to CNG upgrading system in Anshan, North Eastern China. This landfill gas upgrading system is based on Xebec’s fast cycle pressure swing adsorption (PSA) technology, assembled and integrated at Xebec’s Shanghai facility according to Chinese code and certification requirements.

The upgrading system is operating within a variable pressure envelope of 90 to 120 psig and dynamic feed flow parameters between 500 and 1300 cubic meters per hour. In addition, Xebec is deploying a kinetic adsorption process to continuously remove varying amounts of nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2), while maintaining corresponding recovery rates of 83 to 91 percent, and product gas purity levels of 94 to 98.6 percent methane (CH4). The gas will be used to power natural gas taxis that operate in the city of Anshan.


Lloyd’s Register Teams with Penn Oak Energy Corp to Develop LNG Ship Industry

Lloyd’s Register North America (LR) has teamed with Penn Oak Energy Corp to help companies raise much needed capital and mitigate the technical risks associated with retrofitting ships fueled by LNG. Penn Oak Energy is a developer of LNG fuel solutions for industrial clients. The company provides turnkey solutions that take into consideration technology, natural gas liquefaction and supply, as well as logistics and financial considerations.

The value that Penn Oak Energy adds to ship-owners and their fleets is through a fuel-procurement agreement, where they can spread the cost of the LNG conversions and the upfront capital requirements for these conversions over the life of the project. LR is a leading classification society in the gas carrier market and is also leading the way in the international development of gas as a marine fuel. LR is well placed to support a new fleet of gas-fueled ships—and help them to operate safely and efficiently.

Ships that are fueled by LNG reduce operating costs while meeting stricter environmental regulations. LNG ships reduce emissions (nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide and particulate matter) as compared with heavy bunker oil and even low-sulphur marine diesel.