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NGVAmerica Week in Review: November 6, 2017

  • Clean Energy Expands Fueling Agreements with New and Existing USPS Fleets
  • NGVAmerica Submits Comments on DOT Regulatory Review
  • Public-Private Partnership in Florida Yields Environmental Benefits, Significant Savings
  • Long Beach Transit Receives Grant to Purchase Clean Air Bus Engines
  • Latest CNG Station Opens as Part of Public-Private Partnership in Pennsylvania
  • New Report on Use of Natural Gas at Seaports and Other HHP Applications
  • Greenkraft Signs Supply Contracts for Alternative Fuel Commercial Trucks
  • U.S. Gain Hires Mike Bolin as West Coast Business Development Manager

Clean Energy Expands Fueling Agreements with New and Existing USPS Fleets

October 31, 2017

Clean Energy Fuels has signed multiple fueling agreements with United States Postal Service contract-carriers in Florida, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas, increasing the total number of USPS carriers fueling with Clean Energy to 15.

Signing new deals with Clean Energy is C. Blackburn Trucking Associates, who will fuel four of their Class-8 heavy-duty trucks at Clean Energy’s John F. Kennedy International Airport station. Additionally, G&P Trucking, based out of Springfield, Missouri, will fuel at Clean Energy’s CNG fueling station at the Will Roger’s Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Increasing the number of their trucks that use natural gas is Thunder Ridge Transport, a 150-truck carrier servicing 13 states that is based in Springfield, Missouri. They will fuel 20 new CNG trucks out of Clean Energy’s Dallas-Fort Worth Station.

St. Augustine, Florida-based Postal Fleet Services, one of the largest USPS carriers, is also adding additional CNG trucks to its fleet fueling in Texas and Florida.

“Our carriers live in the very same communities we serve, and we continue to look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Bridget Rice, Manager, Surface Transportation CMC at USPS. “Since 2005, we have increased the use of alternative fuels by 141 percent, and we are encouraged that our contract-carriers are using alternative fuels as well.”

“Businesses that require goods to be transported, such as the USPS, continue to demand cleaner fleets in their supply chain. And fleets realize that by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions as well as NOx by switching to natural gas, they not only help the environment, but they’re also winning more business,” said Ashley White, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Clean Energy.


NGVAmerica Submits Comments on DOT Regulatory Review
November 6, 2017

On November 1, NGVAmerica submitted written comments in response a U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) notice requesting input on regulatory changes. DOT’s October notice indicated that it is evaluating the continued necessity of existing regulations, and plans to evaluate regulations that burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources. The notice indicates that DOT could repeal, replace or amend regulations as part of the effort.

NGVAmerica submitted comments asking that DOT amend existing regulations that address fuel systems on commercial motor vehicles. The regulations at issue are found in Part 393 of the FMCSA regulations and limit the placement of any part of the fuel system above the passenger compartment on buses, and separately restrict the placement of fuel tanks forward of the front axle on trucks or buses. NGVAmerica previously urged the FMCSA to issue guidance or clarify that the restriction is limited to liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel and is not applicable to compressed natural gas. NGVAmerica has pointed out that the restrictions in Part 393 when applied to natural gas vehicles is inconsistent with Federal Transit Administration regulations, NHTSA regulations, and NFPA safety standards.

NGVAmerica is hopeful that DOT will move to address this matter as part of a future rulemaking proposal, or through guidance.

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


Public-Private Partnership in Florida Yields Environmental Benefits, Significant Savings

October 31, 2017

An innovative public-private partnership between Nopetro, a Florida company, and a Florida school district has saved the district more than $1.1 million and has reduced vehicle emissions by 90 percent by converting nearly half the school bus fleet to CNG.

Nopetro serves as the Leon County school district’s exclusive provider of CNG and operates a CNG fueling station that now serves a growing number of city, county, university, and private fleet vehicles.

Over the course of the five-year partnership, the school district has saved more than $1.1 million through rebates and other programs, funds that the district can use to enhance educational programs for local students.

The partnership between Leon County Schools and Nopetro was the first of its kind in Florida when it launched in 2012, and has proven beneficial for the school district and other local governments. The use of CNG is both less costly and more environmentally friendly than diesel engines, averaging about 30 percent less cost and generating 90 percent fewer emissions of nitrogen oxides.

The Tallahassee fueling station was the first of a statewide network established by Nopetro, which now partners with school districts and other governmental entities to provide CNG for fleets in Central and Northeast Florida, including the Lynx transit system in the Orlando area. Nopetro is working to expand its reach throughout Florida and into other states, providing energy alternatives across the transportation sector.

In celebrating the five-year milestone, Nopetro also launched CNG educational materials for students, including an animated video and infographic.


Long Beach Transit Receives Grant to Purchase Clean Air Bus Engines

November 1, 2017

Long Beach Transit (LBT) has received a $600,000 grant from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) of the South Coast Air Quality Management District Near Zero Incentive Program for the purchase of 40 near-zero emission CNG engines. The engines are upgrades to a recent bus procurement as the near-zero engines were not available when the purchase was authorized in 2016.

The buses will be equipped with the Cummins Westport 8.9-liter engine that is certified by the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to meet or exceed optional and more stringent near zero standards.

LBT has a long history of using innovative technologies to promote clean air in its service area that includes 13 cities and 100 square miles. LBT purchased its first CNG buses in 2012.


Latest CNG Station Opens as Part of Public-Private Partnership in Pennsylvania

November 2, 2017

Pennsylvania Govenor Tom Wolf announced the opening of the latest of 29 CNG fueling stations planned as part of a Public Private Partnership. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) representatives joined officials from Trillium CNG, Beaver County Transit Agency and local officials in Beaver County to mark opening of the facility in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

“This P3 CNG program will make our transit agencies more efficient, saving resources and helping our environment,” Governor Wolf said of the opening. “I’m pleased that with this station, we now have seven CNG stations open.”

Through the $84.5 million statewide P3 project, Trillium is designing, building, financing and will operate and maintain CNG fueling stations at 29 public transit agency sites through a 20-year P3 agreement. Other stations will be constructed over the next five years, and Trillium is also making CNG-related upgrades to existing transit maintenance facilities.

As part of the conversion in Beaver County, the transit agency will convert 23 diesel buses and 28 paratransit buses to CNG. The authority estimates saving more than $400,000 annually based on current diesel costs and their diesel and gas usage of roughly 450,000 gallons per year.

PennDOT’s overall P3 project includes CNG fueling accessible to the public at six transit agency sites, with the option to add to sites in the future. PennDOT will receive a 15 percent royalty, excluding taxes, for each gallon of fuel sold to the public at public sites, which will be used to support the cost of the project.

Using the P3 procurement mechanism allows PennDOT to install the fueling stations faster than if a traditional procurement mechanism were used for each site, resulting in significant estimated capital cost savings of more than $46 million.

When the project is completed, the fueling stations will supply gas to more than 1,600 CNG buses at transit agencies across the state.


New Report on Use of Natural Gas at Seaports and Other HHP Applications

November 6, 2017

report recently authored by GNA (March 2017) and just released by the California Energy Commission assesses the feasibility, issues, and potential benefits associated with expanded use of natural gas in California high horsepower (HHP) seaport applications.

The report found that using natural gas in HHP seaport applications can provide strong societal benefits, especially in high-impact sectors like marine vessels and locomotives. It can significantly reduce key harmful air pollutants, thereby improving ambient air quality. By switching to natural gas, HHP end users have opportunity to simultaneously comply with challenging regulatory requirements, while potentially reducing life-cycle costs. Moreover, if these fleets can gain affordable access to growing volumes of RNG in California, they will be able to realize deep reductions of GHG emissions.

The report focuses on the use of natural gas in California’s three major ports: Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland. These large seaports act as the anchors of California’s world-class goods movement system. To date, actual use of natural gas to power HHP vehicles, vessels and equipment at these and other North American ports has essentially been limited to proof-of-concept tests and a few early market commercial deployments. In addition, low oil prices over the last several years have inhibited further growth of demonstrations and deployments. However, the predicted return of higher oil prices, combined with recent phasing-in of stricter emission regulations, has stimulated new interest in switching to clean-burning natural gas engines.

LNG fuel systems are receiving the most interest for these large HHP applications, but CNG fuel systems may also play a role in future niche applications. Gradually, RNG can be phased in to displace fossil-based natural gas, to sharply reduce GHG emissions and maximize the climate change benefits.

As summarized in this report, there are important technical, policy, institutional, and economic challenges that must be addressed before California can realize the major benefits of using natural gas in seaport HHP applications. Recommendations are provided for actions that can be helpful to enable fuel switching in marine and locomotive applications serving California seaports. The recommendations generally fall within the jurisdictions of key California state agencies and state funding programs. However, they also broadly apply to federal and local agencies, industry groups, and academic institutions that seek to reduce criteria pollutant and/or GHG emissions from marine vessels and locomotives.

The report outlines specific recommendations in the following categories:

  • How to help advance natural gas engines and vessels/locomotives.
  • How to support and expand fuel production, infrastructure development, and bunker supply chains.
  • How to help increase in-state RNG production and its use in HHP port applications.

The executive summary and full report can be found here.


Greenkraft Signs Supply Contracts for Alternative Fuel Commercial Trucks

October 31, 2017

Greenkraft, Inc. has signed supply contracts with several dealers and distributors looking to provide to their customers a range of efficient eco-friendly commercial trucks. Greenkraft’s Model G line of fuel efficient commercial trucks will offer businesses in the delivery and service sectors a selection of reliable, cost-effective vehicles.

The Company’s globally manufactured commercial truck line consists of 18 different models ranging from Classes 4 to 7, all of which meet EPA and CARB emission standards.

“We continue to see increased and widespread demand for alternative commercial trucks and alternative fuel systems, and we are pleased to be in a position to meet this demand with our line of vehicles,” says Greenkraft CEO George Gemayel. “These new supply contracts are on par with our recently announced initiatives to expand our dealer network to position Greenkraft as one of the trucking industry’s leading truck manufacturers.”

Greenkraft produces a cab forward design for its commercial trucks, which allows a larger passenger area than that found in other similar sized vehicles. Several tank capacity options exist, making it easy to select the most efficient model for a client’s specific needs.


U.S. Gain Hires Mike Bolin as West Coast Business Development Manager

November 3, 2017

U.S. Gain, a division of U.S. Venture, has hired Mike Bolin as a business development manager to oversee current and future opportunities on the west coast in a continuing effort to grow the GAIN Clean Fuel CNG network.

In this position, Bolin will be responsible for continued education to fleets on the benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel and the various options to access it using Gain’s current network, as well as building out customized solutions throughout the western region of the United States.

“Mike brings more than four decades of fleet knowledge, strategic foresight and customer contacts to our business,” said U.S. Gain President Mike Koel. “He’s a true thought leader, and we’re excited for him to join our team.”

Prior to working at U.S. Gain, Bolin worked as the senior account executive with the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas). He rose through the ranks and became a lead at the age of 26. Under his leadership, his maintenance facility had the lowest cost per vehicle mile for the entire company, which was held for 10 straight quarters until his promotion into management.

He went on to support several large CNG fleets including the City of Los Angeles, Orange County Transit Association, Metro Transit Authority (the largest CNG fleet in the nation), Hearst Castle, the Disneyland Resort, Waste Management, and many other cities and schools. Bolin was also a recent recipient of the Energy Solutions Center award for his work with the MTA.

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with U.S. Gain, a forward-thinking company and market leader,” Bolin said. “With a focus on sustainability and pursuing a long-term commitment to RNG, I’m excited to have a role in helping customers achieve their goals and expanding Gain’s network.”

Bolin holds a bachelor’s degree from Biola University in Organizational Leadership, as well as associate degrees in marketing, automotive and diesel. He has also spent time teaching automotive classes at the college level. At Rio Hondo College, he helped start the Alternate Fuel Center and was an instructor for the first ASE F1 Alternate Fuel Training facility in the nation. He is also an ASE master in both the automotive and diesel segments.