U.S., Japan complete successful methane hydrate test

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the completion of a successful, unprecedented test of technology in the North Slope of Alaska that was able to safely extract a steady flow of natural gas from methane hydrates – a vast, entirely untapped resource that holds enormous potential for U.S. economic and energy security.

Building upon this initial, small-scale test, the Department is launching a new research effort to conduct a long-term production test in the Arctic as well as research to test additional technologies that could be used to locate, characterize and safely extract methane hydrates on a larger scale in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“The Energy Department’s long term investments in shale gas research during the 70s and 80s helped pave the way for today’s boom in domestic natural gas production that is projected to cut the cost of natural gas by 30 percent by 2025 while creating thousands of American jobs,” said Secretary Chu. “While this is just the beginning, this research could potentially yield significant new supplies of natural gas.”

What are Methane Hydrates?
Methane hydrates are 3D ice-lattice structures with natural gas locked inside, and are found both onshore and offshore–including under the Arctic permafrost and in ocean sediments along nearly every continental shelf in the world. The substance looks remarkably like white ice, but it does not behave like ice. When methane hydrate is “melted,” or exposed to pressure and temperature conditions outside those where it is stable, the solid crystalline lattice turns to liquid water, and the enclosed methane molecules are released as gas. Continue reading

Propane fracturing set to begin in New York’s Marcellus shale

From the Star Gazette with hat tip to The Shale Blog:

Fracturing shale with propane is a developing technology proposed as an alternative to traditional high volume hydraulic fracturing, a process that uses sand and a proprietary chemical solution, or diesel fuel. Drawbacks to traditional hydraulic fracturing include the large quantities of fresh water required -– several million gallons per well — and like amounts of waste produced, including brine and organic solvents.

Chevron has used Gasfrac’s proprietary process of fracking with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in its $7.3B Piceance basins natural gas project. The company’s 2011 annual report supplement noted that the technology is recognized by the World Shale Gas Conference for its economic and environmental performance potential, and “significantly increases production while minimizing water usage.” The company is continuing to test the process. Chevron’s assessment of LPG fracturing is the strongest endorsement yet of the process by major company. Continue reading

An All-New CNG Vehicle for the North American Market

SEER Natural Gas Vehicle Coming to the U.S. in 2013

Vision Motor Company (VMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Noble Automotive Group, Inc., designs, assembles and markets vehicles which run on 100% low-cost clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). Since 2008 the company has been working to develop a new range of natural gas vehicles for the North American automotive market, and is currently awaiting certification from the US Environmental Protection Agency for its small car product – the “SEER ngv”. The car carries the equivalent of 5.4 gasoline gallons of fuel in four cylinders, enough to drive more than 240 miles (about 390 kms).

Sourcing the vehicle body (Glider) from China and adding the drive train and CNG system in the US keeps the cost low, Bob Smith (CEO of VMC) explained to NGV Global News.  The car will retail for USD $17,900 for the manual transmission and $18,900 for the automatic transmission. Continue reading

Biomethane Powers Dairy’s Trucks

Note:  Biomethane is simply natural gas produced from the decay of organic material.  Manure ponds and landfills are good sources of biomethane. The statement in the article that biomethane “burns cleaner than natural gas” is false. Biomethane IS natural gas. -Ed

Air quality in California’s San Joaquin Valley is growing worse, and diesel trucks are a significant contributor to the problem. Diesel-burning trucks roll up and down the Valley carrying fruits, nuts, milk and other foods from farms to processing facilities and ultimately to communities all over the world.

Our Role

Sustainable Conservation is a leading advocate for converting dairy manure and other farm waste into biomethane, a high-quality renewable fuel that is chemically the same as natural gas but is generated from renewable sources. Biomethane burns far cleaner than diesel, gasoline or natural gas, and it can be used in any engine that runs on natural gas, such as trucks, cars and buses. It is widely used in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe. By replacing diesel-burning engines and powering trucks with clean-burning biomethane, Sustainable Conservation is helping clean up some of the dirtiest air in the nation.

Methane – a potent greenhouse gas – is naturally released from dairy manure as it decomposes. To make biomethane, dairy farmers gather their herd’s manure in a covered lagoon, which traps the methane gas. Then the gas is purified to form biomethane. Continue reading

An Ultra Low Emission Natural Gas/Electric Urban Vehicle

The G-City Concept Car

At the ‘Techno Buzz’ session of the Mobilis 2011 conference held mid-November in Belfort, France, a new natural gas – electric concept car was presented. This vehicle, a partnership between GDF Suez (CRIGEN), FAM Automobiles and France Craft, is said to be the first natural gas / biomethane to electric traction vehicle. Its design can be adapted for use as a pick-up (see image) or to carry four people.

The realization of this concept car aims to demonstrate the technical and environmental potential offered by the combination of gas and electric energy on the small commercial vehicles segment in urban areas. It also demonstrates the performance and compactness of the GDF Suez developed and patented engine.

The concept vehicle is not reliant on developed infrastructure for refueling. An information sheet calls upon people to “Imagine an innovative way of storing and distributing gas fuel, which does not require the “heavy” establishment of of service stations in urban areas.”

The G-City uses an innovative on-board recharging of the batteries through a new compact engine, powered by ”snap” natural gas / biomethane cartridges (2 cartridges 6.8 liters) made of lightweight composite materials. This range-extender gas gives a G-City electric range greater than 200 km. The quick connector system (type “snap”) is secure, ergonomic and industrialized (developed with the company Stäubli).

CO2 emissions and local pollutants (NOx, CO, particulates) are zero in electric mode and very low during operation of the range-extender (engine + generator).

(This article compiled using information from a partnership information sheet. Also thanks to Association Française du Gaz Naturel pour Véhicules (AFGNV)).

SoCalGas Brings Galileo CNG Refueling Microbox to USA

October 25, 2011 | USA, Los Angeles CA

Galileo’s Microbox modular CNG fuelling station

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), a natural gas distribution utility, has launched a field demonstration of natural gas vehicle fueling technology that aims to significantly reduce costs and increase performance. The Microbox, developed by Argentina’s Galileo Corp. and used extensively internationally, is being showcased for the first time in the United States at SoCalGas’ Riverside customer service base. The compact, self-contained fueling station provides compressed natural gas at about $2 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) to vehicles operated by the city and county of Riverside, AT&T, SoCalGas as well as regional school bus and taxi companies and consumer vehicles.

The testing of the Galileo Microbox – a streamlined compressed natural gas “fueling station in a box” – is part of SoCalGas’ research and development efforts to advance innovative technologies to benefit customers and the region. The modular fueling station technology offers the potential for lower construction and maintenance costs, faster vehicle fueling, minimized installation time and a smaller physical footprint. Continue reading