NGVAmerica Advocates for NGVs at NREL Research Workshop
NGVAmerica and industry advocates participated at the Natural Gas Vehicle Research Workshop that recently took place at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. There were approximately fifty people in attendance from across the NGV industry and national laboratories. The Department of Energy (DOE) informed the workshop that up to $15M is available for medium and heavy duty natural gas engine research and development for fiscal year (FY) 2017, there is also language in the Senate FY18 Energy & Water Development appropriations that allows for continued R&D for natural gas vehicle improvements. The Department stated that they do not expect that they will be able to receive the full $15M for FY17.
The objective of the workshop was to identify ideas that can lead to projects that will advance the science base for increased efficiency in natural gas engines and improved emissions. The workshop is not to identify an additional engine product in the market or for deployment. The Department is looking for multiple projects, balancing competitively-awarded, cost-shared cooperative agreements and projects at national laboratories. The discussions were centered around three main topics: Engine Efficiency, Emissions & Aftertreatment Technologies, and Fuel System & Onboard Storage. NGVAmerica included its top priorities in the discussion.
It was also mentioned at the beginning of the workshop by Mark Smith (DOE) that there is not going to be a Natural Gas Vehicle Technology Forum (NGVTF) this year due to budget constraints at DOE. This is the annual event that DOE and the California Energy Commission (CEC) organize to highlight technical improvements in the NGV market along with R&D needs. NGVAmerica is participating in conversations to determine if there is any way to still have an NGV technology event, similar to the NGVTF.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) also gave an overview of several programs that are ongoing. CEC is interested in participating in a joint funding announcement with the DOE, assuming that there is overlap of priorities (CEC is more interested in near-term development).