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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: December 21, 2015

  • Obama Signs Law Extending Alternative Fuel and Infrastructure Tax Credits
  • UPS to Transition More Fleet Vehicles to Renewable Natural Gas
  • TCEQ Providing Grants for NGV Conversions and Purchases in Texas
  • Oklahoma Tribe Receives Funding for New CNG Transit Buses
  • AVL and Westport to Deliver Next-Generation HPDI Technology
  • Quantum Offering Its Largest Capacity Virtual Pipeline Trailer
  • Cobham Offering Two New Type 4 CNG Cylinders
  • NASSCO Completes LNG Bunkering of Containership in San Diego
  • Crowley Selects Eagle LNG as Provider of LNG Marine Fuel
  • Wärtsilä Powers Germany’s First Newbuild LNG Seagoing Vessel

 

Obama Signs Law Extending Alternative Fuel and Infrastructure Tax Credits

December 18, 2015

NGVAmerica applauded the U.S. Senate and House for passing tax legislation that extends the natural gas fuel and infrastructure tax credits for two years—retroactively for 2015 and for all of 2016. We also commend President Obama for quickly signing the measure into law Friday evening.

“Passage of the alternative fuel tax and infrastructure credits means hundreds of millions in savings to NGVAmerica members and their customers for using clean-burning natural gas for their transportation needs,” said NGVAmerica President Matthew Godlewski. “Congress clearly recognizes the economic, environmental and energy security benefits of natural gas in powering fleets across the country.”

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 extends numerous provisions of the tax code that expired at the end of 2014 or during 2015.  NGVAmerica supported key provisions contained in the act, including:

  • Extension of Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit, which extends the $0.50 fuel credit/payment for the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel; and
  • Extension of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit, which extends the 30 percent/$30,000 investment tax credit for alternative vehicle refueling property and the $1,000 tax credit for home refueling appliances.

The PATH Act of 2015 also included several other tax provisions, such as the bonus depreciation option for 2015 – 2017 at 50 percent (40 percent in 2018, 30 percent in 2019) for nearly all business equipment placed in service in 2015.  It also makes permanent the small business expensing of equipment under section 179, allowing expensing of $500,000 for businesses spending $2 million or less on new equipment.  The Senate and the House also passed the FY 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (HR 2029) that provides $1.1 trillion to fund the government.  HR 2029 includes an increase of at least $17 million for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities program, guidance language that addresses NGV RD&D at the DOE, and CNG tank safety and regulatory issues at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  The budget and tax extender measures were combined into one bill, HR 2029, in the House and it was that bill that was signed by the President.

“As Congressional leaders contemplate tax reform next year, we look forward to discussing long-term proposals that promote the further adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel,” said Godlewski.

 

UPS to Transition More Fleet Vehicles to Renewable Natural Gas    

December 18, 2015

UPS has committed to further expanding the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) by supplying its fleet in Memphis, Tennessee, and Jackson, Mississippi, with an estimated 15 million DGE of RNG as part of a multi-year agreement with Memphis Light, Gas and Water and Atmos Energy Marketing.

“Renewable natural gas is a critical part of our strategy to expand our fuel sources and minimize the environmental impact associated with growing customer demand,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability. “We are using methane that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas emission and converting it to power our trucks while helping to promote the use of this renewable fuel in transportation.”

The deal is part of an initiative announced earlier this year by UPS to significantly expand its use of RNG in its fleet. The company has a goal of driving one billion miles with its alternative fuels fleet, known as the Rolling Laboratory by the end of 2017, an effort that is reducing its environmental impact.

The RNG will fuel more than 140 heavy duty trucks in Memphis and Jackson, part of UPS’s natural gas fleet. RNG, also known as biomethane, can be derived from renewable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture. It is then distributed through the natural gas pipeline system.

 

TCEQ Providing Grants for NGV Conversions and Purchases in Texas

December 16, 2015

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced that applications are now being accepted for the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program (TNGVGP) to improve air quality. Grants are available in one or more of the counties listed under the Clean Transportation Triangle (CTT) program.

Projects eligible for funding under this program must result in at least a 25 percent reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which combine with other constituents and sunlight to form ozone. Vehicles funded under the TNGVGP must be operated in one or more of the eligible counties by the grantee at least 75 percent of the time.

The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) grants provide up to $37.8 million to entities that own and operate medium or heavy duty vehicles to replace or repower vehicles to operate on natural gas. Grant applicants must go through a participating dealer under contract with the TCEQ in order to apply. An updated list of participating dealers and eligible counties is available on the TERP website.

The TERP grant program continues to be an important program, and it once again demonstrates Texas’ support for NGV related programs.  For additional information on the grant application process, eligibility requirements, and copies of the application forms for the TNGVGP, visit www.terpgrants.org or call 800.919. 8377.

Applications will be accepted up to May 26, 2017, at 5:00 p.m., or until all funding has been awarded, whichever occurs earlier.

 

Oklahoma Tribe Receives Funding for New CNG Transit Buses

December 15, 2015

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the award of approximately $10 million to help American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments initiate, improve and enhance transit service on Tribal Lands.

Among the recipients, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma will receive $92,500 to purchase replacement buses that run on CNG to continue providing public transportation for residents to travel to jobs and services in the Oklahoma counties of Dair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Mayes, Nowata, Ottawa and Rogers. In 2014, the Cherokee Nation provided 79,776 bus rides.

“These and other Tribal Transit grants provide funding for buses, vans and transportation planning that helps ensure that everyone can access critical services and economic opportunity,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The money, which is awarded through FTA’s Tribal Transit Program, will provide grants to 55 tribes for 65 competitively selected transit-related projects in 18 states.

The projects will receive awards from a combination of fiscal year 2014 and 2015 annual discretionary funds. Combined with about $25 million a year in formula funds, FTA’s Tribal Transit Program provides a transportation lifeline to rural tribal citizens by connecting them with employment, education, healthcare, and other vital services. Funding for Tribal Transit was increased to $30 million under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015.

 

AVL and Westport to Deliver Next-Generation HPDI Technology

December 18, 2015

Westport Innovations and AVL List, a leading independent company for development, simulation and testing technology of powertrains for OEMs, have entered into an agreement to deliver next-generation High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) gas technology.

This agreement enables Westport and AVL to leverage Westport’s proprietary HPDI 2.0 natural gas technology, along with AVL’s engine and powertrain development capabilities, proprietary techniques and global market reach.

“As concern about transportation greenhouse gas emissions continues to grow, one of the simplest and cost-effective approaches for OEMs is to offer HPDI 2.0 natural gas versions of their commercial vehicles,” said David Demers, Westport’s CEO. “HPDI 2.0 is compatible with the world’s most advanced diesel engines and offers a fast path to market for high-performance trucks and off-road vehicles.”

AVL’s global network of more than 7,470 employees and numerous technical centers will be available to support parallel engine development programs to ensure OEMs can take advantage of HPDI technology. OEM customers will continue to source HPDI 2.0 components and technology directly from Westport.

 

Quantum Offering Its Largest Capacity Virtual Pipeline Trailer

December 14, 2015

Quantum Fuel Systems is offering its new VP-650 virtual pipeline trailer that will have what the company says has the highest capacity available in the industry at approximately 650,000 scf.

The VP-650 virtual pipeline trailer will be capable of moving large quantities of CNG to support industrial users of energy who are not connected to a natural gas pipeline.  The VP-650 utilizes Quantum’s Q-Lite CNG storage cylinders.  The tanks in the VP-650 are also capable of storing gas at up to 5,000 psi service pressure which enables additional fuel capacity compared to standard 3,600 psi systems.

The trailer design and integration will also house other new features, including push button shut-offs, independent lock-off features, and other technology to ensure a full fill.

Quantum’s VP-650 is mounted in a 45’ hi-cube shipping container and has also been designed for sea transport.  Short to medium distance shipping of CNG can be more cost effective than shipping LNG and other clean fuels.  Products such as Quantum’s VP-650 can open up a broader group of both domestic and international industrial users of energy to operate on natural gas.

Orders for the VP-650 are being taken now for customer delivery in mid-2016 upon completion of final validation and certification and permitting.

 

Cenergy Solutions Delivers Adsorb Technology to Fleet

December 16, 2015

Cenergy Solutions has delivered its first ANG vehicle, a dedicated CNG Dodge Ram 2500 with a 5.3L engine, to be used in a commercial fleet. Cenergy Solutions tested the vehicle with its patent pending ANG tank and system.

 

“We have been getting great results driving it in a variety of conditions, including steep grades in the mountains,” said Gary Fanger, COO of Cenergy Solutions.

The ANG system stores over six times the amount of natural gas at 350 psi and 20 percent more natural gas at 3,600 psi than in a conventional CNG tank. Cenergy Solutions is using DOT compliant cylinders that have undergone worst case scenario testing wit over a year’s worth of actual on the road testing in an 8.1L engine vehicle.

Cenergy Solutions is also announcing that it is working with a bio-methane plant to store up to six times the amount of natural gas in their existing tanks with ANG technology. This plant has been in operation for two years and will soon exceed their natural gas storage capacity.

Cenergy Solutions’ ANG technology can be applied to virtually any type of natural gas storage system, including CNG vehicles, fueling stations, transport trucks and stationary natural gas storage. This equipment will also make it possible to use low pressure (350-500 psi) tanks that are lighter and can be conformed to fit in various areas of empty space in a vehicle.

Cenergy Solutions’ innovations were made possible by collaborating with global energy storage company EnerG2 and microwave.

 

Cobham Offering Two New Type 4 CNG Cylinders

December 18, 2015

Cobham announced the successful qualification of two new Type 4 CNG storage tanks, marking its formal entry into the commercial NGV trucking market. Type 4 polymer lined carbon fiber wrapped tanks offer large gas volume in a low profile, lightweight storage vessel. Cobham’s 278 and 436 Liter tanks, 60 in. and 90 in. in length, are six times more resistant to permeation than required by the NGV2/FMVSS specification to offer enhanced safety and fuel preservation. Tanks can also be customized ranging from 17.4 in. to 26 in. in diameter, in lengths of 45 in. to 135 in. to meet specific market needs.

Cobham designs and produces composite pressure vessels and hybrid integrated structures for alternative energy, life support, military and commercial aircraft, and spacecraft applications. The NGV market is a strategic fit that leverages Cobham’s gas management capability and composites technology.

 

NASSCO Completes LNG Bunkering of Containership in San Diego

December 17, 2015

On December 11, General Dynamics NASSCO successfully completed bunkering of LNG for the Perla Del Caribe, the world’s second containership to be powered by LNG.

Bunkering services were provided by Clean Energy as well as Baker Hughes and Envent during a 48-hour period at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. Representatives from NASSCO worked collaboratively with several regulatory agencies to prepare for the event, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the American Bureau of Shipping, the San Diego Fire Department, and the Air Pollution Control District.

The Perla Del Caribe received 210,000 gallons of LNG which is nearly double the amount bunkered for its sister ship, the Isla Bella, the world’s first LNG-powered containership. The Isla Bella was built by NASSCO and delivered in October of this year.

“This represents another milestone amongst many in the advancement of green, environmentally-friendly ship technology,” said Parker Larson, director of commercial programs at General Dynamics NASSCO. “This effort in particular demonstrates successful collaboration between industry and several regulatory entities, laying the groundwork for comparable green projects in the future.”

Upon delivery, the Perla Del Caribe will join the Isla Bella for its trade route between Jacksonville, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The containerships are part of a two-ship contract between NASSCO and TOTE, signed in December 2012.

Powered by LNG, this groundbreaking green ship technology will dramatically decrease emissions and increase fuel efficiency when compared to conventionally-powered ships. The 764-foot long containerships will be the longest dry cargo ships powered by LNG – making them the cleanest cargo-carrying ships anywhere in the world.

 

Crowley Selects Eagle LNG as Provider of LNG Marine Fuel

December 16, 2015

Crowley Puerto Rico Services has selected Eagle LNG as the LNG supplier for the company’s new LNG-powered Commitment Class ships, which will be delivered in 2017 for use in the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico trade. To support Crowley’s LNG needs, Eagle LNG will build a natural gas liquefaction plant with a capacity of 200,000 gallons per day (87,000 gallons per day initially) in Jacksonville, Florida. The facility is slated to be operational by early 2017.

“The partnership with Eagle LNG is an important first step in developing sustainable supply infrastructure to ensure these highly technical, environmentally friendly vessels operate to their full capability,” said Crowley’s John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico services.

The supply agreement between Eagle LNG and Crowley will provide LNG fuel for the El Coqui and Taino, which are expected to be in service in the second quarter and fourth quarter of 2017 respectively.  The Jones Act ships will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet.

“This project is an important investment in our community from both economic and environmental perspectives,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

The LNG plant is separate from the previously announced Eagle LNG Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) export terminal located along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, which will continue to focus on export markets in the Caribbean and Atlantic Basin.

 

Wärtsilä Powers Germany’s First Newbuild LNG Seagoing Vessel

December 14, 2015

The first ever newbuild LNG-powered German seagoing vessel, which is powered by a Wärtsilä LNG propulsion solution, had its maiden voyage on December 11. The ship was built at the Fr. Fassmer shipyard in Germany.

The passenger ferry, owned by Reederei Cassen Eils, will operate between Cuxhaven and the island of Helgoland. This route takes the vessel close to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Wadden Sea National Park, an ecologically sensitive area in the south-eastern part of the North Sea. Because of the need to minimize exhaust gas emissions in this area, the ferry will operate primarily on LNG using two 9-cylinder Wärtsilä 20DF medium-speed dual-fuel engines.

In addition to the propulsion machinery comprised of the two engines, two gearboxes and two controllable pitch propellers, Wärtsilä has also supplied its LNGPac fuel bunkering and gas supply system with related safety and automation systems. Of special note is the use of Wärtsilä’s patented Cold Recovery System, which uess the latent heat of LNG for the ship’s air conditioning systems, thereby reducing the amount of electricity consumed in cooling compressors. This provides significant operational savings and an increase in overall vessel efficiency.