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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: January 16, 2017


  • SoCalGas Funds Mobile CNG Refueling Demonstration Project
  • Godlewski Touts Importance of Environmental Benefits of NGVs in Interview
  • New Flyer to Supply BC Transit with 70 Xcelsior CNG Buses
  • Grande West Announces CNG Clean Burning Fuel Option for Vicinity Line
  • CARB Supports EPA’s Final Determination of GHG Standards
  • Westport Commends Study by West Virginia University
  • BC Ferries to Receive First of Three New LNG Ferries
  • Vard to Build Two LNG-Powered Ferries for Norway


SoCalGas Funds Mobile CNG Refueling Demonstration Project

January 11, 2017

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has signed a contract with Onboard Dynamics to fund the demonstration and testing of a new mobile natural gas compressor that can be used to re-fuel CNG vehicles no matter where they are. The mobile natural gas compressor is made in the U.S. and reduces the need for CNG cars and trucks to travel to public CNG stations, and instead brings clean-burning natural gas refueling to the vehicles.

“This mobile technology provides a cost-effective and convenient refueling solution for smaller CNG operators,” said Lisa Alexander, vice president of customer solutions and communications for SoCalGas. “This, in turn, may lead to an accelerated adoption of CNG, which would contribute to improved air quality and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to petroleum-based fuels.”

SoCalGas says since there are fewer than 2,000 CNG refueling stations in the U.S., innovative technology, such as this mobile CNG compressor, could help to fuel smaller CNG fleets like school buses in a more cost-effective manner. The compressor will allow customers to refuel without driving to a retail refueling station or incurring the significant upfront investment of building a conventional CNG refueling station. Larger heavy-duty fleet operators who are considering converting to CNG vehicles may also find the compressor beneficial in the early phases of transitioning their fleets to alternative fuels.

Designed to be compact, affordable, simple to install and easily transportable, the mobile compressor will be powered by natural gas, unlike other technologies that require an external electric power source for operation. Thus, it can also act as a capacity boost for existing CNG compressor stations or as a reliable backup source during emergency events in which electrical generators are offline.

SoCalGas and ObDI will begin a demonstration project of the technology in the summer of 2017 with Mountain View School District in El Monte, California, and Antelope Valley Schools Transportation Agency in Lancaster, California. SoCalGas has committed funds from its Research, Development and Demonstration program for the demonstration of this project, and ObDI will be responsible for project management, system design, performance monitoring and onsite maintenance of the compressors.

Additional funding and support for the development of the compressor was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, ONAMI, Oregon BEST, Portland Seed Fund, NW Natural and other utilities and private investors.


Godlewski Touts Importance of Environmental Benefits of NGVs in Interview

January 10, 2016

Matthew Godlewski, President of NGVAmerica, recently discussed the important technological advances and environmental benefits of natural gas vehicles with Rigzone, a news and an information resource for the oil and gas industry. In particular, Godlewski highlights the expanded use of “Near-Zero” low-NOx natural gas engines and renewable natural gas that will continue to drive growth in the NGV industry. Godlewski also provides a current overview  of the NGV market and provides insight into recent market trends.

The full interview can be read here.


New Flyer to Supply BC Transit with 70 Xcelsior CNG Buses

January 11, 2016

New Flyer Industries Canada has been awarded by BC Transit, the transit authority serving more than 1.6 million riders in communities outside Metro Vancouver, with three separate contracts for a total of 70 New Flyer Xcelsior 40-foot CNG buses. The respective contracts were for 24 CNG 40-foot, 21 CNG 40-foot and 25 CNG 40-foot Xcelsior buses.

BC Transit has a diverse fleet of over 1,000 buses, and these 70 natural gas powered buses will be introduced in phases to communities across the province throughout 2017.


Grande West Announces CNG Clean Burning Fuel Option for Vicinity Line

January 11, 2017

Grande West Transportation Group, a Canadian bus manufacturer of heavy-duty mid-sized transit buses for sale in the US and Canada, is adding an important clean air propulsion option for its Vicinity bus line. Grande West is now offering clean burning, low emission Cummins Westport ISB G engines for delivery on 2017 orders.

The CNG-powered ISB G Engine has the lowest North American Emissions standards and is approved from both the US EPA and CARB. This certification represents major emissions reduction well below current EPA nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions standards—providing the cleanest engine in the bus industry. The engine also greatly reduces particulate matter (PM) providing major greenhouse gas benefits.

“We are seeing a growing demand for natural gas powered buses,” said Jean-Marc Landry, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing. “CNG has helped transit customers meet stringent clean air requirements and is now being requested on many tenders in Canada and the US.”


CARB Supports EPA’s Final Determination of GHG Standards

January 16, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) says it welcomes the EPA Administrator’s determination that the adopted light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for model years (MY) 2022 – 2025 are appropriate. In 2012, CARB agreed to a national program based on federal adoption of GHG reduction standards as stringent as California’s, and the EPA’s action advances this national program.

This final determination is also timely and important as CARB prepares to consider its own mid-term review of the standards in March.

“This progress is the result of an unprecedented national partnership between California and U.S. EPA,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “We expect that progress to continue under the adopted regulations and we look forward to working together to plan for 2025 and beyond.”

CARB’s comments on the Determination can be found here.


Westport Commends Study by West Virginia University

January 11, 2017

Westport Fuel Systems commended the publication of a study by West Virginia University scientists at the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) quantifying methane emissions from heavy-duty natural gas-powered vehicles and refueling stations.

CAFEE scientists collaborated on the study with the Environmental Defense Fund and a group of global natural gas industry leaders including the American Gas Association, Chart Industries, Clean Energy, Cummins, Cummins Westport, International Council on Clean Transportation, PepsiCo, Shell, Volvo Group, Waste Management, and Westport Fuel Systems. The study was published online by the journal Environmental Science & Technology and the results greatly expand on the very limited data on methane emissions from natural gas vehicles.

“This study offers a critical baseline by which ongoing product and technology enhancements can be measured, as it represents the first significant effort to quantify actual in-use methane emissions from natural gas filling stations and heavy-duty vehicles”, said Karen Hamberg, Vice-President of Natural Gas Industry and Government Relations. “Natural gas-fueled vehicles are expected to play a greater role in future transportation to meet the global regulatory trend for more stringent greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions.”


BC Ferries to Receive First of Three New LNG Ferries

January 11, 2017

The Salish Orca, the first of three new Salish Class vessels built for BC Ferries, has arrived in British Columbia. The vessel reached B.C. waters this morning after a 50-day 10,440 nautical mile journey from Gdansk, Poland.

After Salish Orca clears Canadian Customs and final inspections are complete, the vessel will be officially handed over to BC Ferries. Over the next couple of months, crews will be trained and familiarized in the operation of this new state-of-the-art ship. The Salish Orca will start service on that route in the spring of 2017.

“This is a very exciting day for all of us at BC Ferries as we proudly welcome this beautiful ship, Salish Orca, home to British Columba and into our fleet,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “The Salish Class vessels will provide us cost savings and efficiencies with standardized vessels and greater interoperability as well as enhance safety well into the future. They are very well built ships, which will serve our customers for many years to come.”

The Salish Class vessels are BC Ferries’ first natural gas-fueled vessels. Using natural gas as the primary fuel source is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15 – 25 percent, reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) by over 85 percent, reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) by over 50 percent, and nearly eliminate particulate matter (PM).

The 107-metre Salish Class ships will carry 145 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. The vessels feature two car decks and have a service speed of 15.5 knots. Each ship is powered by three Wartsila 8L20DF engines.

The Salish Orca’s sister ships, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven, are expected to arrive in B.C. this spring and will start service in the Southern Gulf Islands later this year.


Vard to Build Two LNG-Powered Ferries for Norway

January 10, 2017

Vard announced it has secured contracts for the construction of two LNG powered car and passenger ferries for Torghatten Nord in Norway. The new car and passenger ferries are designed for environmentally friendly operations in the Norwegian fjords, with a total capacity that can accommodate up to 180 cars and 550 passengers and crew. The ferries of Multi Maritime MM 125FD design will measure more than 425-feet in length and will have a speed of approximately 18 knots.

“VARD has long experience in building LNG powered and dual fuel vessels,” said CEO and Executive Director Mr. Roy Reite. “We delivered the world’s first LNG powered car- and passenger ferry back in the year 2000, and have delivered a broad range of ships using this innovative technology since, including offshore vessels, ferries and a fish feed carrier.”

Delivery of the ferries is scheduled from Vard Brevik in Norway in the third and fourth quarters of 2018, respectively. The hulls of the vessels will be built by Vard Braila in Romania. They will be equipped with hybrid gas-electric propulsion with battery systems to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, meeting the latest requirements for energy efficiency.

The ferries are intended to be used on the Halhjem-Sandvikvåg crossing, where Torghatten Nord has been awarded a five-year contract with the Norwegian government.