Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Skip to content

NGVAmerica News Week in Review: October 16, 2017

  • LA Metro Expands Low-Emission Fleet with Order for up to 300 New Flyer CNG Buses
  • Energy Department Announces $4 Million for Natural Gas Engine Research
  • Ruan Achieves Milestone of 1 Million Miles on CNG-Powered Class 8 Tractor
  • Brown Signs Legislation to Increase Alternative Fuel Vehicle Sales in California
  • SoCalGas and NREL Install Nation’s First Biomethanation Reactor System
  • Deltamarin Introduces Multipurpose Inland Waterways Vessel Powered by LNG


LA Metro Expands Low-Emission Fleet with Order for up to 300 New Flyer CNG Buses

October 10, 2017

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) has awarded New Flyer a contract for up to 300 Xcelsior 60-foot heavy-duty transit buses powered by clean-burning CNG. The contract is for 65 firm orders and options to purchase an additional 235 buses

The award is supported by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Local Labor Hiring Pilot Program, which enables FTA grantees, including states and local agencies, to utilize social or economic contracting requirements in competitive bidding

“We are thrilled to build on both our low and no emission footprint in America with an exceptionally progressive partner such as LA Metro,” said Wayne Joseph, President of New Flyer of America. “Together, we are building sustainable transit infrastructure, preserving the environment, and supporting the development and maintenance of local jobs.”

New Flyer is committed to advancing innovation in the transit industry, and is working to support cities with buses that support development of smart, connected communities while also preserving the environment through Low or No (Low-No) Emission solutions.

New Flyer has bus service, parts, and manufacturing support at three California facilities located in Ontario, Los Alamitos, and Fresno. LA Metro currently serves as the transportation planner, coordinator, designer, builder, and operator for over 10 million people residing in a 4,000-square mile area.


Energy Department Announces $4 Million for Natural Gas Engine Research

October 11, 2017

The Energy Department announced up to $4 million for research projects on medium and heavy duty natural gas engine technologies. The Department’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) funds early-stage, high-risk research to generate knowledge upon which industry can develop and deploy innovative transportation energy technologies that improve efficiency, lower costs for families and businesses, and increase the use of secure, domestic energy sources.

Opportunities exist to improve performance, reliability, durability, cost effectiveness, and efficiency of natural gas vehicles through research. Cost-effectively improving efficiency in natural gas engines while meeting current and future emissions standards will improve the viability of natural gas-fueled medium and heavy duty vehicles.

A public workshop on natural gas vehicles was held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on July 25, 2017 to identify early-stage research needs for natural gas engines. A summary of the key observations can be found here. VTO is seeking projects to address barriers to the adoption of natural gas vehicles through early-stage research. Projects competitively selected through this funding opportunity will complement additional early-stage research on medium and heavy duty natural gas engine technologies at DOE national laboratories.

For more information and application requirements, visit the EERE Exchange website or Grants.gov.


Ruan Achieves Milestone of 1 Million Miles on CNG-Powered Class 8 Tractor

October 11, 2017

A 2014 Kenworth T660 CNG-powered class 8 tractor operated by Ruan Transportation Management Systems has reached the milestone of 1 million miles in service. The vehicle, which is part of a fleet of 40 tractors domiciled at Ruan’s operation in Fair Oaks, Indiana, has experienced no major maintenance issues over its operating life. These vehicles pull 80,000 GVW loads of milk primarily from Fair Oaks to Southern Indiana.

“Ruan’s fleet travels approximately 29,000 miles per day. It is no small accomplishment to keep a unit in service for 1 million miles,” said James Cade, vice president of fleet services. “Our safe drivers and skilled technicians deserve the credit for this milestone. Extending the life of our fleet reduces our overhead costs, and those savings are passed on to our customers.”

The fuel for this operation is primarily renewable natural gas (RNG) sourced from anaerobically digested cattle manure. This allows a waste product to be used to transport customers’ for-profit product. Including a predecessor 9-liter fleet, vehicles in this operation have run approximately 50 million miles in total, representing nearly 7.5 million gallons of diesel not consumed. Ruan says this represents nearly 80,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking nearly 12,000 average cars off the road for a year in terms of CO2 emissions.

“Ruan has been committed to employing strategic fuel conservation measures to control costs and protect the environment,” said Steve Larsen, director of procurement and fuel. “Using CNG and RNG greatly reduces the amount of diesel fuel used in our operations.”

The fleet is currently being refurbished and is projected to travel upwards of 1.5 million miles per vehicle before retirement. Recycling the truck for an even longer lifer cycle saves emissions associated with production of a new truck- preventing raw materials harvesting and consumption plus electricity and other resources used in the manufacturing process.

Ruan is an official partner in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, a collaboration between the EPA and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. Ruan is a three-time recipient of the SmartWay Excellence Award from the EPA as an industry leader in freight supply chain energy efficiency.


SoCalGas and NREL Install Nation’s First Biomethanation Reactor System

October 11, 2017

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced the successful installation of a novel bioreactor system that will be used to test power-to-gas technology at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. Power-to-gas technology is a cutting-edge method of storing excess renewable energy. The project is the first of its kind in the United States converting hydrogen generated from excess renewable power into pipeline quality methane for use in homes, businesses and in transportation.

“Power-to-gas technology can significantly increase the overall amount of renewable energy we use, by providing an economical method of storing excess solar-and wind-generated electricity,” said Jeff Reed, director of business strategy and advanced technology at SoCalGas. “And this technology takes advantage of existing infrastructure, and can hold excess renewables for days, weeks or months to shift solar from day to night, address weather patterns and even seasonal patterns.”

According to a 2017 Lawrence Berkley National Lab study, by 2025, between 3,300 and 7,800 gigawatt-hours of excess solar and wind energy will be curtailed in California. If all that excess solar and wind energy were converted to methane through the biomethanation process and stored as renewable natural gas, it would provide enough renewable energy to heat 158,000 to 370,000 homes or provide renewable electricity to 80,000 to 187,000 homes.

Power-to-gas technology uses renewable electricity when prices are low—including times when renewable supply exceeds demand and would otherwise be wasted—to power an electrolyzer, which splits water to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen is then combined with carbon dioxide and fed to a biomethanation reactor where it is converted into RNG by special micro-organisms. RNG can be used in any application currently served by natural gas, from home appliances to natural gas-powered vehicles.

The research will also test how effectively the microbes convert hydrogen to methane and how efficiently the storable methane can be converted back to electricity. Tests will also examine the potential of power-to-gas technology to store large quantities of renewable energy for up to an entire year and how it compares in performance and cost to battery storage. Initial reports are expected beginning in 2018. The study will continue for several years.


Deltamarin Introduces Multipurpose Inland Waterways Vessel Powered by LNG

October 9, 2017

Deltamarin, a ship designer based in Gdansk, Poland,  has developed a multipurpose inland vessel called DeltaBreaker that is powered by LNG to reduce emissions.

The DeltaBreaker design combines the features of tug, icebreaker and pusher with some added functionalities on top of that. The hull shape has low resistance and the ability to break ice up to two feet thick. The current design allows operations on waterways of international (CEMT) class IV; however, smaller versions of this design can also be developed.

One of the specific characteristics of the DeltaBreaker design is the implementation of the Articulated Tug-Barge (ATB) system connection. It allows the pushing of compatible barges on inland and coastal waters. This opens up the possibility to further develop an efficient design for such barges that can be used for carrying bulk cargo, containers, oil/products, accommodation modules and as LNG transportation/bunkering facilities.

A special place for two 20 foot containers has been reserved on the aft deck. Additional functions like firefighting, oil-spill cleaning or environmental measurements may be easily incorporated into the design.