Natural gas vehicles are coming to Pennsylvania

Los Angeles Auto Show Previews Latest Car Models

Today the term Marcellus Shale is a household name. It’s transformed Pennsylvania’s economy and has elevated the state’s energy profile. Recent production figures from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection illustrate the prolific nature of this play. Production topped 895 billion cubic feet of natural gas for the first six months of 2012, pushing the total production over 2.5 trillion cubic feet since 2008.

How big is this? Pennsylvania has gone from importing 75 percent of its natural gas just five years ago to being a net exporter today.

Thanks to an abundance of this resource, much attention has been focused on its safe and responsible development. However, another area gaining attention is the role natural gas plays in our transportation sector.

With substantial cost saving and environmental benefits, employing more vehicles fueled by natural gas will put us on the road to a cleaner energy future. The increasing attention on natural gas as a transportation fuel is evident in a variety of ways.

Nearly 200 people attended a recent Natural Gas Utilization Conference in State College. Hundreds of residents are attending PA Department of Environmental Protection’s natural gas vehicle workshops.

The Turnpike Commission is engaged in a study looking at the feasibility of liquefied natural gas stations along the turnpike. Even at the recent annual ShaleNET Workforce Forum, the discussion included new careers in transportation related to NGVs and natural gas fueling infrastructure.

Announcements have been made by auto manufacturers such as Chrysler to offer bi-fuel engines on its Ram model, and Honda is increasing production of its natural gas Civic.  Other auto manufacturers such as Ford and GM also offer natural gas fleet options and all heavy duty truck manufacturers now offer natural gas in their lineup.
In addition, engine manufacturers are developing natural-gas powered engines for on-road and off-road equipment.

To support these new natural gas vehicles, drivers need fueling infrastructure. In response, numerous cities and companies have announced plans to open natural gas fueling stations for public and private use nationwide.

And Pennsylvania is leading that charge. Chesapeake Energy has announced the development of several compressed natural gas filling stations in the Northern Tier to fuel its vehicles while opening the stations to the public. EQT has had a public CNG station opened for more than a year in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

Other companies have recently opened CNG stations in Bucks and Delaware counties and more are being planned throughout the state — including LNG stations.

Building on these infrastructure and auto manufacturing announcements, the Department of Environmental Protection has aggressively been educating the public on its natural gas energy development program.

Through public workshops and via its website, DEP is helping consumers, fleet owners and public officials make informed decisions on utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel.

To put a finer point on the potential benefits, natural gas use in power generation has helped achieve the lowest carbon dioxide emissions in 20 years, with significantly lower smog and ozone-causing emissions as well. It can similarly help clean up transportation emissions. It’s also cheaper than conventional gas and diesel — by more than 50 percent.

That’s more money kept in our communities and in your pockets. Costs to convert fleets can be recaptured in short order, helping businesses save money, expand their operations and increase their competitiveness in a national and global economy.

Using more natural gas vehicles is a solution to help Pennsylvania and other states reach their clean air goals.  Thanks to an abundance of supply and exciting advances in vehicle and engine production, we can safely and responsibly use this resource to get on the road to a cleaner transportation future.

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Solar Panels Work Great in Snowy Regions, Research Shows

Solar power installations are well worth the investment, even in snowy climates, according to new research from Michigan Technological University. The albedo effect caused by white snow cover actually helps to increase solar panel efficiency (counter to what many of us might have thought).

20121026-012442.jpg

While a layer of snowfall temporarily covers the panel and stops production, the panels don’t remain covered for long, even in the most snow-heavy regions.

“Sometimes snow actually helps solar cells,” says Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce. Referring to the albedo effect, which is caused by white colors reflecting sunlight. “It can make a panel generate more electricity in the same way that it gives skiers sunburn on sunny winter days.”

For the new research, scientists from St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University, along with a group of 20 industry partners, investigated the effects of snow on the Open Solar Outdoors Test Field.

“They created a computer model to predict how much power generation would decline in various amounts of snow cover and on different types of solar modules mounted at different angles, from flat to steeply pitched. Then they validated their model with data from many of Ontario’s huge commercial solar farms.”

“In most cases power losses are minimal, even in snowy Canada,” Pearce said. As part of the research, though, they also created a model that is designed to help the most efficient photovoltaic systems, even in extremely snowy areas.

Pearce and R. W. Andrews have authored a paper based on the preliminary study, “Prediction of Energy Effects on Photovoltaic Systems Due to Snowfall Events,” published in proceedings of the 2012 38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference.
Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1r4oK)

Kwik Trip wins ‘Natural Gas Vehicle Leadership Award’ – Retailer honored for building nation’s first truly alternative fuels station

Propane

The design of the station itself is a marvel, they said, because it incorporates 10 transportation fuels, including compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), under a single canopy to achieve a one-stop fueling experience for the general public.

Kwik Trip currently has three locations offering CNG, which sells for between $1.59 and $1.79 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) in Wisconsin, and plans to open five more stations this year. An additional 10 stations are slated to open in 2013.

Kwik Trip’s own natural gas vehicle (NGV) fleet will serve as part of the anchor load. The company maintains a fleet of about 400 vehicles that travel more than 18 million miles annually. It has just begun to transform its fleet and currently operates more than 20 NGVs ranging from light-duty vehicles to Class 8 trucks. The retailer is an activist for the NGV industry and strongly advocates the nationwide adoption of natural gas to be a standard fuel instead of an alternative fuel.

Kwik Trip operates a chain of 372 Kwik Trip, Kwik Star (in Iowa) and Kwik Trip Travel Center locations throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Another 38 locations are tobacco outlets, as well as three Hearty Platter full-serve restaurants.

To viisit Kwik Trip’s natural gas webpage, please, CLICK HERE.

CSP Business Media recently named Kwik Trip CEO Don Zietlow as its 2012 Retail Leader of the Year. The chain also recently won the annual CSP-Service Intelligence Mystery Shop.

GE and Chesapeake Energy Launch CNG In A Box™ System at NACS 2012


GE (GE) and Peake Fuel Solutions, an affiliate of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK), today launched the CNG In A Box™ system, which allows easier adoption of compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling options for large- and small-scale retailers. The solution was unveiled at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) 2012 Annual Show.

Natural gas is an abundant, reliable and cleaner-burning source of energy for consumers and commercial users. A vehicle fleet operator that uses the CNG In A Box system for natural gas fueling instead of traditional gasoline fueling can save about 40 percent in fuel costs1. The CNG In A Box system is a plug-and-play on-site fueling solution that comes with everything retailers need to add low-cost natural gas fuel to their operations quickly and simply. This GE ecomagination™ qualified refueling option provides an easy, lower-cost fueling experience for consumers and a higher-margin solution for facility operators compared to gasoline or diesel.

“In collaboration with Peake Fuel Solutions, GE is developing infrastructure solutions to accelerate the adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel,” said Mike Hosford, general manager—Unconventional Resources, GE Oil & Gas. “The CNG In A Box system is a unique fueling solution that brings together some of the best innovation from across GE to help fleet owners and everyday drivers realize the benefits of cleaner burning, abundant, more affordable natural gas.”

“After working extensively with GE to develop the CNG In A Box system, we are excited to unveil it at NACS and to the fueling industry overall. Combining Peake Fuel Solutions’ natural gas expertise and GE’s breadth of cross-industry technology capabilities will advance the use of abundant and affordable natural gas fueling solutions,” said Kent Wilkinson, vice president—Natural Gas Ventures, Chesapeake.

The CNG In A Box system compresses natural gas from a pipeline into CNG on-site at a traditional automotive fueling station or industrial location. CNG-powered vehicles such as taxis, buses or small trucks, as well as individual consumer vehicles, can then refill their tanks using a dispenser with the same look and feel as a traditional diesel or gasoline dispenser.

GE ecomagination Vice President Mark Vachon said, “Natural gas is produced at a relatively lower cost and is cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel fuel—natural gas vehicles can show an emissions reduction of up to 80 percent compared to gasoline vehicles2. Through ecomagination, we’ll continue to deliver to the industry innovative solutions that deliver both great economics and environmental performance, and the CNG In A Box system exemplifies this commitment.”

Financing for the CNG In A Box system is offered by GE Capital, providing competitive rates and flexible payment options. By combining an entire acquisition—including equipment, delivery and installation—into a single monthly payment, Peake Fuel Solutions’ customers can structure payments according to their cash flow and eliminate the costs and time associated with paying multiple vendors. With this solution, business owners can work with a single provider to acquire, finance and maintain their CNG In A Box system.

The CNG In A Box system’s 8 foot x 20 foot container is easy to ship and maintain due to its compact design. Its modular and novel design makes it plug-and-play on-site. Wayne, A GE Energy Business, manufactures the dispensers that deliver the CNG from the CNG In A Box system unit to vehicles. These alternative fuel dispensers feature PCI-compliant pay-at-the-pump technology for a familiar and secure fueling experience. Using the same dispenser and payment terminal interfaces as Wayne petroleum dispensers simplifies point of sale integration.

As part of this collaboration between GE and Peake Fuel Solutions, beginning in the fall of 2012 GE will provide more than 250 CNG In A Box systems for natural gas vehicle infrastructure.

To learn more about the CNG In A Box system, visit us online or stop by the Peake Fuel Solutions booth at the NACS show (booth #6101).

Ecomagination is GE’s commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth. For more on ecomagination, please visit:www.ecomagination.com.

About GE

GE (GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.

About Chesapeake Energy Corporation

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) is the second-largest producer of natural gas, a Top 15 producer of oil and natural gas liquids and the most active driller of new wells in the U.S. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company’s operations are focused on discovering and developing unconventional natural gas and oil fields onshore in the U.S. Chesapeake owns leading positions in the Eagle Ford, Utica, Granite Wash, Cleveland, Tonkawa, Mississippi Lime and Niobrara unconventional liquids plays and in the Marcellus, Haynesville/Bossier and Barnett unconventional natural gas shale plays. The company also owns substantial marketing and oilfield services businesses through its subsidiaries Chesapeake Energy Marketing, Inc. and Chesapeake Oilfield Services, L.L.C. Further information is available at www.chk.com where Chesapeake routinely posts announcements, updates, events, investor information, presentations and news releases.

About Peake Fuel Solutions

Peake Fuel Solutions advances innovative fuel solutions with products and services that create demand for clean, affordable natural gas. A significant focus of PFS is to increase compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure across the U.S. Other PFS projects include development of on-road and off-road technologies that reduce emissions and dramatically cut fuel expenses for the trucking, maritime, rail and oil and gas industries. An affiliate of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Peake leverages the expertise of other Chesapeake affiliates to implement many of its fuel solutions. Further information is available at www.peakefuelsolutions.com.

1 Assuming 25,700 miles per year driven, gasoline priced at $3.50/gallon and CNG at $2.09/gasoline gallon equivalent.

2 Calfornia Energy Commission – Consumer Education Center:http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/afvs/cng.html

ecomagination is a trademark of the General Electric Company

CNG In A Box is a trademark of the General Electric Company

© 2012 General Electric Company—All rights reserved

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50433209&lang=en

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50433209&lang=en

SOURCE- CNGNOW.com

Smartphones + Shared Electric Scooters in San Francisco (Scoot)

Smartphones + Shared Electric Scooters in San Francisco (Scoot)

SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 BY  LEAVE A COMMENT

Need to rent a hip electric scooter for short jaunts around San Francisco? Want to causally zipin and out of all your runs for errands and feel the breeze causally on your commute. Here’s how: get your iPhone (or other smartphone, if you have one), look for a scooter, zoom in and pick one, reserve it, go to your scooter, dock your phone on the scooter, your smartphone connects to and unlocks the scooter, and you are good to go — what a smartphone does nowadays!

Scoot Scooters

The Wonders of Smartphones and Scooters

We use smartphones for transportation, maps, looking for routes, plans for buses, talking to our friends, etc. Now, explains Michael Keating, “we just built the smartphone directly into our service of fast easy light transportation.”

These scooters are for short trips around the city, replacing the bus, taxi, etc. All you need is a CA driver’s license and you can rent one. Getting around the city used to be a trouble, but not now.

Because scooters are so small, parking in the city now will be easy and perfect for errands. One’s daily commutes will be quite relaxed compared to the stress of finding parking and maneuvering cumbersome vehicles. Scoot’s on-demand service means no more waiting for a ride. 
Time is saved by the quick action of your smartphone, and now the time is yours to enjoy. The initial locations will primarily be in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood, and are aimed at both residents of the neighborhood and others who work there. There will be 50 scooters in the initial deployment.

Many Reasons for Scooters

 

 

San Francisco is Committed to Environmental Economy

San Francisco is committed to making the Bay Area the center for the EV market, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and boosting our green economy,” said Mayor Lee. “Scoot’s launch combines the innovation of San Francisco companies with our City’s commitment to a green economy to provide yet another clean alternative mode of transportation for everyone.”

Electric Scooters Made in America for China (10,000,000 a year)

As the video above notes, electric scooters are being made in huge quantities for China. This makes them affordable for us, replacing gas-chugging cars for quiet trips around the city.

From Keating: “Right now to use Scoot’s network it costs $10 to sign up, $5 per month, and $5 per hour. There’s also a $10 per day option (that seems like a steal), and a $25 per month package that includes four half day rides. Additionally there’s an option to rent out your own personal Scoot for $185 per month.”

The company recently closed a $550,000 round of funding with several high-profile angel investors, including Tim Young (About.me, Socialcast), Lisa Gansky (Ofoto, The Mesh), & Jerry Fiddler (Zygote Ventures, Wind River). Scoot is also an alumni of the Greenstart accelerator program in SF, where it was selected as part of the top 2% from a pool of 165 startups and received a $115,000 investment from that.

Again, how Scoot works:

  • Sign Up Online: New users sign up on the website and pay $10 to join the service.
  • Orientation: Scoot gives new members a quick orientation that covers how to safely ride a scooter, along with some hands-on training.
  • Find a Scoot and ride: Members can take a Scoot out from any one of a number of locations across the city simply by plugging their phone in the Scoot’s smartphone dock. Once the scoot is started, the phone becomes the dashboard, providing members with a map, speedometer and battery gauge.
  • Payment: Members pay by the hour ($5/hr), or a flat fee for round-trip commutes ($10/commute) during the week.

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1oBmz)

Beer fuels you, left over beer fuels your car

beer fuel

Beer, the third most popular beverage in the world after water and tea, just gained another reason for our support. Sierra Nevada Brewing, makers of fine beverages, recently purchased an EFuel 100 MicroFueler, which produces ethanol from water, sugar, and yeast. Guess what one of the major byproducts of beer fermentation is? Yup, yeast! The excess yeast left over from brewing will soon find its way into ethanol production.

Currently, Sierra Nevada’s 1.6 million gallons of excess yeast are used as a nutritional supplement to beef and dairy cows. Initially Sierra Nevada plans to use the MicroFueler to create ethanol fuel for its own fleet of cars. If sufficient fuel can be produced — ie: if we all keep drinking their sweet elixir — there’s talk of fueling employee cars as well as potential distribution.

Sierra Nevada is no stranger to environmental friendliness. They publish their solar power production, they recycle like crazy, and they’ve been using homemade biodiesel fuel for a couple years now:

In 2007, Sierra Nevada began a new program to utilize spent vegetable oil from the Taproom and Restaurant as an alternative fuel source for their fleet. Sierra Nevada purchased a Springboard biodiesel processor which produces 50 gal batches of biodiesel in 48 hours and is currently doing a batch a week. The finished biodiesel is used in the Sierra Nevada long haul and local route trucks.

Order a six pack for you, and one for your car! But don’t drink and drive.

Via CNet

Natural gas vehicles pushed in La.

The push for compressed natural gas vehicles has gained some major traction with commitments from Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and General Motors, but energy industry experts say federal incentives will be needed if real transformation is to occur.

“It is extremely nice to see that it’s actually here. A lot of times you talk about those things like they’re unicorns,” said Gifford Briggs, vice president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. “But now they’re here …. I think that is a huge first step towards making it (CNG) a little more mainstream acceptable.”

The energy industry has felt good about the direction CNG has taken for a while, Briggs said, but the advent of mass-produced pickups that can run on natural gas or gasoline opens the door on a national scale.

Louisiana has seen CNG advances because of its Haynesville Shale natural gas formation, LOGA, the energy industry, and companies like Chesapeake Energy Corp., Encana Corp., Petrohawk Energy Corp. and Apache Corp., Briggs said. But trying to get Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and other states that don’t have the energy infrastructure to support CNG has been more challenging.

That may be changing. Twenty-two states are part of an effort, led by the governors of Oklahoma and Colorado, to encourage automakers to make more affordable CNG vehicles for state fleets. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has said the governors hope their efforts will help overcome some of the obstacles automakers face in producing a wider variety of CNG vehicles.

Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming said if the participating states could buy 5,000 CNG vehicles that would be great, but 1,000 is more likely given the current economic climate.

State government buys only about 40 percent of the public-sector vehicle purchases, Ming said. Municipalities and other political subdivisions account for 60 percent of sales.

If the municipalities — city and parish governments — tag along, the CNG sales could be significantly higher, Ming said.

Chris Knittel, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described the states’ request as “interesting.”

The states presume the CNG vehicles available aren’t that affordable, Knittel said.

“There’s no magic wand that the automakers can wave that makes the CNG vehicles less expensive than gasoline-based vehicles,” Knittel said.

“But there are things that policymakers can do to level the playing field.”

States have to put policies in place with incentives that encourage consumers to switch, he said. Those incentives could involve making CNG fueling stations available, subsidizing vehicles or in-home fueling stations, or by lowering retail prices for natural gas.

Right now, the states aren’t guaranteeing anything to automakers, Knittel said.

“I think the states are just saying that if you build them, we’ll promise the consumers,” Knittel said. “I’m not sure that’s necessarily the case given the current structure of prices and the number of refueling stations around.”

There are roughly 1,000 fueling stations nationwide, and 123,000 CNG vehicles, Ming said.

In Louisiana, CNG vehicles make up less than 1 percent of the cars and trucks on the road, Briggs said. Nationwide, CNG vehicles are around 2 percent of the total.

But that can change if the state, local and federal governments and the private sector — the companies that operate fleets — work together, he said.

“I don’t think the federal government or the state government or the local government can do it by themselves, any more than I think the fleets can do it by themselves,” Briggs said.

But working together can make things happen, Briggs said. Just look at Lafayette, where the city-parish government and private sector have joined to make the state’s most aggressive move to CNG.

In July, Apache opened a public fueling station. The company also converted 15 of its vehicles in Lafayette, part of 300 conversions it will complete by yearend. The city-parish has converted five buses and announced plans to convert its entire fleet.

The city-parish is also trying to form a partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the local school boards to convert all their vehicles, Briggs said. Acadian Ambulance is experimenting with CNG for its vehicles.

The East Baton Rouge City-Parish Government recently began looking into converting all of its vehicles to CNG. The city-parish expects the move will slash fuel costs, particularly for heavy-duty pickups and other vehicles that consume more fuel.

Chesapeake spokeswoman Katie McCullin said there is evidence across Louisiana that the state is leading the nation in natural gas usage.

For example, Shreveport has added 14 natural-gas powered buses, and Bossier City has added a second public fueling station. Holmes Honda in Shreveport and Bossier City received its first shipment of the Honda Civic Natural Gas, the only dedicated CNG vehicle now sold in the United States.

In total there are 10 public CNG stations in Louisiana, with more in the planning stages or under construction, McCullin said.

Chesapeake, a major player in the Haynesville Shale and other natural gas plays, is one of the leading proponents of CNG.

The Oklahoma-based company’s Fueling the Future Initiative is an effort to communicate how natural gas can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and end the United States’ dependence on foreign oil, McCullin said.

The company has a billboard off Interstate 10 near the state Capitol extolling the use of natural gas vehicles.

Chesapeake has participated and sponsored natural gas vehicle seminars nationwide and is converting its 5,000-vehicle fleet to CNG, McCullin said. UPS, Verizon Wireless, Waste Management, Disneyland Resorts and AT&T are also converting their fleets to CNG; in 2009, AT&T announced it would spend $350 million to buy 8,000 CNG vehicles.

McCullin said Chesapeake will also invest at least $1 billion over the next 10 years with Clean Energy, 3M Corp., GE and Sundrop Fuels in efforts to increase demand for CNG vehicles.

The work with 3M could revolutionize the design and manufacture of CNG tanks, the most expensive part of the CNG fueling system, McCullins said. The redesign is expected to lead to lighter, more durable and less expensive tanks.

Chesapeake expects these investments to be the tipping point that gives automakers the confidence to increase their production of CNG and liquefied natural gas vehicles, McCullin said.

Still, both Briggs and Knittel said federal incentives are needed if natural gas is to replace oil as a transportation fuel.

The federal government would be the best source for those incentives, Knittel said, because the benefits from CNG vehicles accrue to the nation, not just to the states.

Energy independence and a reduction in climate change help everyone in the United States, regardless of whether a Louisiana resident buys CNG vehicle, he said.

“When the benefits accrue to everyone, the best place to set the policies is at the higher federal level,” Knittel said.

Briggs said if the country wants to see “a monumental shift,” then Congress should pass the Natural Gas Act.

The act replaces CNG incentives that dropped off the books about three years ago, Briggs said.

That was about the same time that Louisiana passed its own CNG vehicle incentives, Briggs said.

Right now, with only the state incentives, a Louisiana consumer can recover the $10,000 it costs to convert to CNG in two years if he drives 15,000 to 20,000 miles a year.

Most people don’t drive that much, Briggs said. But if both federal and Louisiana incentives were in place, converting a vehicle would be free, and consumers would begin saving money instantly.

“You’re saving a dollar, a dollar fifty, two dollars a gallon,” Briggs said.

“That would register with the American public overnight.”

Briggs pays around 45 cents per gallon by fueling up at LOGA’s office station, he said.

At Apache’s Lafayette station, the cost is around $1.79 a gallon, which is still only about half the price of gasoline.

Briggs said there is enormous support for the Natural Gas Act, but he doesn’t expect Congress to pass the legislation anytime soon.

And Knittel said any new policies that involve handing out more money have little chance in Congress these days.

“Still, I could certainly see both sides of the aisle supporting CNG,” Knittel said.

The rhetoric from both parties suggests they would support natural gas vehicles, he said.

Meanwhile, the price of natural gas is lower than it’s ever been, and with shale gas so plentiful, prices are expected to remain low for some time, Knittel said. In the past, natural gas prices have been very volatile; the price might fall but no one expected it to stay there.

Now, natural gas is expected to remain at less than $5 per thousand cubic feet for the foreseeable future, Knittel said.

Briggs said the United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.

“We have more natural gas than we know what to do with. We’re trying to export it,” Briggs said.

The country has so much natural gas that it’s going to run out of storage capacity, Briggs said.

“I think if the federal government … is serious about eliminating our dependency on foreign oil, the only viable alternative is natural gas,” Briggs said.

Congress should pass the Natural Gas Act, he said.

“Let’s get it on the books, and let’s see if we can get started transforming America’s transportation infrastructure” Briggs said.

Source:  The Advocate

Looking to get a cng station? Check us out http://www.fenleynicolenvir.com/cng.html