Clean Energy to begin providing CNG for additional trucking fleets

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. today announced that it has begun providing natural gas fuel to additional trucking fleets which transport products for some of the country’s largest and most well-known brands, accelerating the trucking industry’s conversion to natural gas fuel.

Five firms — Saddle Creek Logistics Services, Lakeland, FL; Premier Transportation, Atlanta, GA; Hoopes Turf Farm, Transport Division, Ulysses, PA; Lily Transportation Corp., Needham, MA; and Lancaster Foods, Jessup, MD — will use compressed natural gas (CNG) at existing Clean Energy public access stations, new stations built for the companies, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) at Clean Energy stations along its America’s Natural Gas Highway™.

“These companies are geographically diverse, but the common theme we hear from all of them is a desire to reduce their fuel costs and to deploy cleaner operating fleets,” said James Harger, Clean Energy’s Chief Marketing Officer. “With the availability of a new class of heavy-duty natural gas trucks as well as more fueling stations, regional and national trucking operators are seeing the enormous benefits of converting to natural gas as their transportation fuel.”


As Commodity Prices Face Pressure and Oil Stays High, Will Farmers Embrace Natural Gas?

2012 promises to be a difficult year for farmers as an estimated 4.8% increase in U.S. corn production, coupled with increased planting of the crop worldwide, puts downward pressure on prices. Corn, which has doubled in the past two years due to demand for cattle feed, is expected to drop by 30% to $4.035/bushel next year in Chicago trading. The record U.S. wheat harvest which is also projected next year should depress wheat prices as well, according to a Bloomberg article.

But oil prices are expected to remain high.  Barclay’s senior economist Alia Moubayed said that the Saudis need $91 oil as a “break even point” in an interview on Bloomberg’s “Surveillance” yesterday. Social unrest swept the Middle East in 2011, and the Saudi government has attempted to quell dissent by promising increased social benefits. The Saudis need higher oil prices to keep those promises. Saudi Arabia’s massive production capacity means that they are a longtime swing producer who can influence the world oil price by simply increasing or decreasing production. U.S. oil producers also need $80 oil to stay profitable. Below $80 they begin slowing drilling and decreasing production.

This combination of higher input costs and lower grain prices, coupled with the recent price boom in farmland, promises to squeeze profits for farmers in 2012. This has many farmers looking for ways to cut costs.

Natural gas may be part of the answer. “Though there are costs to converting diesel powered machinery to run on a diesel/natural gas blend, a 20-30% savings in diesel fuel promises a quick return on investment for high volume diesel users.” said C&E Clean Energy Solution’s Brian Carpenter. Continue reading

Extend Diesel Fuel with Natural Gas for Savings

Save up to 30% on farm diesel bill by blending natural gas into intake air.
Compiled by Farm Futures staff
Published: Oct 14, 2011

C&E Clean Energy Solutions is marketing add-on kits for stationary diesel engines that make it possible to blend less-costly natural gas into the fuel mix and save money on diesel fuel.

Brian Carpenter, the “C” in C&E Clean Energy Solutions, says by running a diesel on a blend of 50% to 70% natural gas, the diesel fuel bill can be reduced by 30%.

“The engine is started on diesel fuel and brought up to operating temperature, then the natural gas supply is turned on. Our kit draws natural gas directly from the pipeline that feeds it through a nozzle into the engine’s intake system based on the engine’s manifold vacuum.

Blending natural gas into the intake air stream of a stationary diesel engine is a simple and money-saving possibility with Clean Energy Solution’s new fueling kit.

“Because compression heat alone is not enough to reliably ignite natural gas, a reduced amount of diesel is injected at the top of the compression stroke to complete the ignition and combustion of the air/natural gas/diesel mixture. The engine’s governor automatically meters the diesel fuel at a dramatically reduced rate,” he explains.

The kits work on both naturally-aspirated and turbo-charged engines, and allow the operator to run the engine on straight diesel or a diesel/natural gas blend to take advantage of any fluctuations in fuel prices. Continue reading

So Is There a CNG Station Near Me?

With all the interest generated by the Powerstroke CNG conversion project, some are wondering how and where they can buy compressed natural gas. Is there a CNG station near you?

Maybe. CNG Now! has an excellent site that shows you where every publicly available CNG fast fill station is in the whole United States.  There’s also an iPhone app and an Android app.

The Department of Energy also maintains a page with a list of both public and private stations, as well as those that are in the planning stage.

If not, you still have options. Home, business, or farm-based compression means that the investment in a CNG conversion will take a bit more time to pay for itself, but it still makes financial sense for a lot of individuals, businesses, and farms. The gas from one of these small compressors usually costs around half of the price of CNG at a public access station, and the slower fill times mean a more complete fill every time. C&E Clean Energy Solutions can help you decide if a small compressor makes financial sense for you. Contact them today.

Kwik Trip building CNG infrastructure in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

Kwik Trip, one the largest convenience store chains in the upper Midwest, has opened a new CNG station in LaCrosse, WI, is working to open several more this year, and has plans for several more stations next year. Consequently, if you drive in the tri-state area of Iowa, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, you may want to seriously consider converting your cars, pick-ups, or fleets to CNG. The infrastructure should rapidly become available.

You can read more here.

Rep. Bill Cassidy’s Plan to Multiply CNG Stations

Rep. Bill Cassidy explains his bill, H.R. 1712, that would remove the limits on retail sales for natural gas producing companies such as Chesapeake and Apache:

Unfortunately, the main obstacle is a lack of natural gas fuel infrastructure in our country. Currently in the United States, there are only 449 CNG fueling stations accessible to the public, which is dwarfed by the more than 157,000 gasoline stations.

There are a number of proposals to spur natural gas infrastructure development in Washington. Not surprisingly, when it comes to Congress, the most talked about option involves subsidies for both natural gas vehicles and for the actual CNG fuel itself. While we should be using all of our available natural resources to aid in lowering the costs of transportation, the reality is that our country has neither the money to subsidize development nor the expertise to pick winners and losers in the energy and transportation sectors.

As opposed to subsidies, I believe that a simple change to our tax code would help those companies that develop natural gas look at domestic retail infrastructure development as a serious option. For background purposes, it is important to understand the differences between independent and major oil and gas producers. Under our tax code, independent producers of oil and gas, such as Apache and Chesapeake, are different from major oil and gas companies, such as ExxonMobil or Shell, as independents are limited to $ 5 million in revenue from retail sales. Whether intentional or not, this antiquated provision is keeping companies that from investing in CNG fueling stations all over the country. Continue reading

Westport’s Q1 revenue up 258%

While natural gas prices are falling, those who figure out a way to use this abundant resource in new ways are making a profit. Westport makes natural gas engines, and they reported a huge increase in revenue this quarter:

Westport Innovations, the global leader in natural gas engines, reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012.

“The numbers are compelling,” said David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations. “Compared to the same period last year, Westport Light-Duty revenue was up 258%, Cummins Westport revenue was up 110%, Westport Heavy-Duty revenue was up 65%, and Weichai Westport revenue was up 49%. Customer interest is expanding rapidly, and we see an array of potential investment opportunities with our global partners. Adding to our financial growth, we expect to announce new partnerships in each of our business units this year.”

“Strong growth across all our business units and in all geographic regions continues to demonstrate the rapid emergence of natural gas as a significant fuel for transportation applications,” added Demers. “We are at the start of a long wave of change in both energy and transportation and we believe Westport is well positioned to establish a leading position in this new industry.” Continue reading

Major Upgrades for Kansas CNG Stations

Natural gas supplier Kansas Gas Service, a division of ONEOK, Inc. has completed major upgrades to its public compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations in Overland Park and Topeka, Kansas. The USD 560,000 upgrades include doubling the capabilities of compressors, which transform low-pressure natural gas into a transportation fuel, and adding storage tanks to increase the amount of natural gas available at each location to fill vehicles.

New dispensers with updated controls make it easier for customers to operate the CNG pumps, improving fueling convenience at the 24/7 facilities.
Continue reading

Natural Gas Could Fuel a “Manufacturing Renaissance” in the U.S.

The New York Times had a story Tuesday on how the availability of abundant, cheap natural gas is fueling a “manufacturing renaissance” in the U.S. Here are some of the reasons why:

According to Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council, European producers mostly use oil-derived raw materials for making these same products. “The U.S. has a competitive advantage when oil is seven times as expensive as natural gas, but now we have more like a 50-to-1 advantage,” he said. “The ‘shale gale’ is really driving this. A million B.T.U.’s of natural gas that might cost $11 in Europe and $14 in South Korea is $2.25 in the U.S. Partly because of that, chemical producers have plans to expand ethylene capacity in the U.S. by more than 25 percent between now and 2017.”

A 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers study estimates that high rates of shale gas recovery could result in a million new manufacturing jobs by 2025. Robert McCutcheon, United States industrial products leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a statement that the revived natural gas industry “has the potential to spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S., including billions in cost savings, a significant number of new jobs and a greater investment in U.S. plants.”

Because of cheap natural gas, CNG vehicles may capture 10 to 20 percent of the new tractor-trailer market:
Continue reading

Walmart, UPS Tiptoe Toward Nat Gas Conversions

This map shows Clean Energy's current or planned CNG/LNG stations

Rising diesel prices and a federal mandate to reduce fuel consumption is causing trucking firms — private and public — to consider the benefits of a natural gas fleet conversion.

Equipment costs and access to fueling stations have long been considered the biggest obstacles for natural gas. But that hasn’t stopped Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., one the nation’s largest private carriers, and United Parcel Services from tiptoeing toward conversion.

Finding access to fueling stations that sell liquid natural gas shouldn’t be a problem for too much longer. California-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. recently unveiled an extensive network of natural gas fueling stations with the help of a $150 million cash infusion from alternative fuel enthusiast T. Boone Pickens.

Read more at The City Wire