First national pay-as-you-go EV charging network goes live

Electric car drivers could soon be able to charge their vehicles without signing up to different membership schemes for different regions, following the launch today of the UK’s first pay-as-you-go charging network.

London-based electric car charging company POD Point aims to have around 620 chargers nationwide freely available on a pay-as-you-go basis by the end of 2012, with a view to more than trebling the size of the network to 2,000 charge points by the end of the following year.

The company said it wants to do away with the current situation where drivers may find it difficult to charge their vehicle outside their local area if they do not subscribe to a charging scheme in a particular region.

A company spokesman toldBusinessGreen that the new system would rely on charge cards to begin with, but POD Point envisages new forms of payments such as SMS or smartphone apps becoming quickly available.

He added that POD Point is open to working with other charging networks and is currently in negotiations with charge point providers about integrating its pay-as-you-go model with their services.

“We are looking to create an open network by trying to join up disparate infrastructure,” he said, adding that the company was hoping to reach at least half of all electric vehicle drivers over the next few years. “We’re aiming to make this as wide a network as possible.”

POD Point is Europe’s largest electric vehicle charge point supplier, having now shipped over 2,500 wall-mounted and street charge point units, and is the approved supplier for Toyota dealers throughout the EU.

The POD Point Network follows last year’s launch of the POLAR scheme, operated by Chargemaster, which aims to fit 4,000 charging points across the UK’s 100 largest towns and cities by the end of 2012 to create the country’s largest charging network.

The news also comes on the same day as Chargemaster announced POLAR will add 64 charge points across Oxford and the surrounding area, transforming the city into one of the EV capitals of Europe.

Following the rollout, Oxford residents will have one charge point between every 2,391 citizens, compared to 4,029 in Amsterdam, 4,803 in Paris and 11,927 in London.

There are already more electric car chargers than petrol stations in Oxford and another 50 chargers are expected to be added in the next 12 months, including a number of fast-charge points, while a further 100 charging points are available within 40 minutes’ drive.

In addition, Chargemaster has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hertz to launch an electric car sharing club in Oxford, which would see 10 electric Nissan LEAFs made available to book online for rental by the hour, day or week. The cars are likely to be situated in university campuses, street locations, local car parks, major employers’ car parks, and other strategic locations across the city and surrounding areas.

Source = Business Green

The Commercial Tenant's Guide to Construction, Relocation & Facility Maintenance

by Brian Sahn, Esq., & Jared Newman, Contributing Columnists

As the costs of energy-efficient retrofits and green practices trend downward, they are becoming more common, and less of a novelty in commercial buildings. A “green lease” is an effective tool for allocating the costs and benefits of operating a green building between the landlord and tenant. Unlike a traditional lease, a green lease encourages the parties to work together through the construction and occupancy phases, and create opportunities for both parties to reduce operating expenses.

Provisions of a green lease will vary depending upon the scope of energy-efficient building systems and green practices in the building. At the most basic level, a building’s recycling program and government-mandated energy reporting should be addressed. On the other hand, a lease in an aspiring or existing LEED-certified building should be much more extensive, and allocate responsibility for the denial of or loss of certification…

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GE and Chesapeake Energy Corporation Announce Collaboration to Speed Adoption of Natural Gas as Transportation Fuel

sxs_suv-GE Energy.jpg

GE (NYSE: GE) and Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK) today announced a collaboration to develop infrastructure solutions that will help accelerate the adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. This groundbreaking technology and services project marks a significant milestone toward increasing energy independence in the United States through the increased use of natural gas—an abundant, reliable and cleaner-burning source of energy for both consumers and commercial users.

To formalize the agreement, GE and Chesapeake have signed a memorandum of understanding on a product and services development partnership, representing a multi-year collaboration between the two companies to develop and bring to market compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation and natural gas home-fueling solutions. By improving access to CNG, which is most commonly used in light- to medium-duty vehicles such as pickups, vans, SUVs, taxicabs, transit buses, refuse and delivery trucks as well as consumer vehicles, along with LNG, which is commonly used for heavy-duty industrial purposes, dependence on foreign energy sources can be reduced while simultaneously lowering fueling costs and vehicle emissions.

The collaboration is designed to leverage GE’s global Oil & Gas technology portfolio with Chesapeake’s expertise in developing innovative fueling solutions to lower the ownership and operational costs of natural gas vehicle (NGV) fueling stations. With the development of shale resources dramatically increasing the amount of low-cost natural gas in North America, the GE-Chesapeake collaboration can help incentivize operators to put more NGVs on the nation’s highways.

As part of today’s announced collaboration, beginning in the fall of 2012 GE will provide more than 250 modular and standardized CNG compression stations for NGV infrastructure. These units, also known as “CNG In A Box™,” have gone through GE’s rigorous ecomagination-qualification process and will provide the core infrastructure to enable expanded access to CNG at fueling stations and other designated installations.

A vehicle using CNG can reduce annual fuel costs up to 40 percent, assuming 25,700 miles per year driven, gasoline priced at $3.50/gallon and CNG at $2.09/gasoline gallon equivalent. This represents savings totaling as much as $1,500 per fleet vehicle per year. In total, for each fleet vehicle using fuel provided by CNG In A Box instead of gasoline, a fleet operator can reduce CO2e emissions from fuel combustion by about 24 percent, or 2.2 metric tons per vehicle annually, assuming an average fleet vehicle travels approximately 25,700 miles per year.

“Both GE and Chesapeake are known for taking on tough energy challenges and putting the best minds and technologies to work to develop solutions,” said Aubrey K. McClendon, Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer. “The partnership announced today between GE and Chesapeake’s affiliate, Peake Fuel Solutions, combines Chesapeake’s natural gas expertise with GE’s extensive global manufacturing capabilities and will bring transformative products to industries and individual consumers across the U.S. These products and services will allow customers to enjoy the clear advantages of clean, affordable and abundant American natural gas at about half the cost of gasoline.

”Said GE Energy President & CEO John Krenicki, “GE is fundamentally committed to natural gas—our technologies help extract it, move it and turn it into power, whether it’s highly efficient gas turbines delivering electricity at the utility scale or, in the near future, a vehicle at a refueling station. What makes this project particularly exciting is that it paves the way to taking the immense reserves of natural gas being discovered in the U.S. and using them right here in the U.S. That paves the way for faster economic growth, energy security, more jobs and reduced environmental impact.

”This CNG technology will be brought to market by Peake Fuel Solutions—a Chesapeake affiliate—which has extensive experience with natural gas vehicles, vehicle emission controls and natural gas market dynamics. Chesapeake also brings considerable in-house expertise in CNG market development to the GE collaboration, including retail station relationships, fleet outreach and education programs and policy engagement.

CNG In A Box takes natural gas from a pipeline and compresses it on-site at an industrial location or at a traditional automotive refilling station to then turn it into CNG. A CNG vehicle, such as a taxi, bus or small truck, can then refill its tank using a traditional fuel dispenser, much like those used for diesel or gasoline refueling.

Key features include:

  • The gas compression, storage, cooling, drying and controls are easy to ship and maintain due to its compact “In Box” design.
  • The units come in two configurations: an 8 foot x 20 foot container or 8 foot x 40 foot container, depending on the site’s need.
  • Its modular and intuitive design makes it “Plug & Play” on-site.
  • The offering includes GE Wayne branded dispensers with credit card capability and provision for “Point Of Sale” interface.
  • The fuel dispenses at a rate of about 7 gasoline gallon equivalent per minute.

Other elements of the new collaboration include:

  • Aftermarket services for natural gas fueling infrastructure.
  • GE’s LNG fueling plants, which adapt GE’s proven large-scale LNG liquefaction technologies to smaller-scale operations. Using LNG as a substitute for diesel or fuel oil can reduce combustion emissions up to 25 percent.
  • Development of home refueling technologies.
  • Co-marketing of products and services resulting from the partnership.

This article was first published by CNGNOW

Knowledge is power – What is CNG?- It’s Better for the earth and better for your wallet

Basics

CNG is a readily available alternative to gasoline that’s made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Consisting mostly of methane, CNG is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It’s drawn from domestically drilled natural gas wells or in conjunction with crude oil production.

Natural gas powers more than 12 million vehicles on the road today. Unfortunately, only 112,000 of these are being used in the U.S today. The average growth rate in the U.S. shows a 3.7% increase per year since 2000, as contrasted with a booming global growth rate of 30.6% per year.

Expanding the numbers of CNG fueling stations would allow for the increase of CNG vehicles on U.S. roads. There are 12,000 around the world, yet the U.S. claims about 1,100. More stations will continue to be built in America in the coming years.

However, as gasoline prices continue to rise, American interest in CNG is rising, and with good reason – CNG costs about 50% less than gasoline or diesel, emits up to 90% fewer emissions than gasoline and* there’s an abundant supply right here in America. So it’s clean, affordable abundant and American.

*Emissions reductions may vary by pollutant and make/model of vehicle.

Safety

Although CNG is flammable, it has a narrow flammability range, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, making it an inherently safe fuel. Strict safety standards make CNG vehicles as safe as gasoline-powered vehicles. In the event of a spill or accidental release, CNG poses no threat to land or water, as it is nontoxic. CNG also disperses rapidly, minimizing ignition risk when compared to gasoline. Natural gas is lighter than air and will not pool as a liquid or vapor. Nevertheless, indoor leaks can form a flammable mixture in the vicinity of an ignition source.

CNG is primarily methane, which is a greenhouse gas that could contribute to global climate change if leaked. Methane is slightly soluble in water and under certain anaerobic conditions does not biodegrade. If excess amounts accumulate, the gas can bubble in water creating a possible risk of fire or explosion.

Reported incidents of CNG bus fires are related to engine failures, not the use of natural gas. Natural gas buses have onboard gas detectors and other safety devices such as tank safety valves that only allow fuel flow when the engine is on. Also, the tanks must be periodically inspected by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

There are, however, some safety concerns with CNG buses compared to diesel fuel buses, such as greater breaking distance due to increased fuel storage system weight. This is a relatively small concern, however, because the fuel system is a small fraction of a bus’ total weight. CNG buses also might accelerate more slowly than their diesel counterparts.

Focus on Operations

It takes a great deal of effort and expertise to locate and extract natural gas. Located miles beneath the surface, high-tech engineering practices are coordinated with environmental guidelines to recover and process the gas in the safest possible manner. This can take months to complete. The processes employed for natural gas exploration and production can be found on this page. Learn more about horizontal drillinghydraulic fracturing and water usage.

History

The history of CNG as a transportation fuel dates back to World War II. Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are a proven technology that have been enhanced and refined over the years into a convenient and extremely safe method of transportation. Daily use of natural gas vehicles can be found throughout the United States in a variety of applications.

Demand CNG NOW!

CNG Logo

It’s up to us, America’s consumers, to insist that legislators implement policies to accelerate growth in NGV manufacturing, purchase and use. This includes incentives for cash-strapped automakers to produce a wider range of incentives for American consumers, governments and businesses to buy NGVs and incentives for the installation of CNG dispensers at more gasoline retailers. We need to demand to be heard and give Americans the opportunity to use a clean, American fuel.

Source – CNGNOW

As Gas Prices Rise, Natural Gas Vehicles Get A Boost

Bob Davis fills up his airport shuttle van at a natural gas pumping station in College Park, Ga. A growing number of companies are considering converting their vehicle fleets to natural gas.

(ABOVE) Bob Davis fills up his airport shuttle van at a natural gas pumping station in College Park, Ga. A growing number of companies are considering converting their vehicle fleets to natural gas.

Interest in natural gas vehicles soared in the 1990s and then faded. Twenty years later, the cost of gasoline is going up while the cost of natural gas is going down. And that difference in price explains the resurgent interest in natural gas vehicles.

In Indiana, Fair Oaks Dairy Farm does more than just produce milk — it is also in the transportation business. The farm owns 60 trucks, which deliver milk to a processor halfway across the state. Last September, most of the trucks were converted to natural gas.

“It’s great,” says Joel Romein, one of the drivers. “It’s going to change the economy on how we use natural gas and how we fuel our trucks.

How much different is it to fuel it with natural gas as opposed to diesel?

“It’s a lot cleaner — I don’t get messy hands,” Romein answers with a laugh.

The dairy is in step with larger companies like AT&T and UPS, which have recently added natural gas to their trucking fleets.

Twenty years ago, the federal incentives and high gas prices led fleet managers to retrofit thousands of light trucks and city buses to use compressed natural gas as fuel. But, that boom didn’t last.

Rich Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica, a trade association that lobbies for the use of natural gas in vehicles, says there hasn’t been this much interest since the early 1990s, when stations popped up across the country.

“There was enthusiasm. Even Amoco started building public stations. They just put them on the corner, using the ‘if we build it, they will come’ model. It didn’t work and they didn’t come,” Kolodziej says.

There is a big white container that sits empty on the lot of the public bus service center in Gary, Ind. It used to contain 15,000 gallons of liquid natural gas.

Maintenance director John Dutton says the fueling station hasn’t been used in more than a decade, and the city buses that used natural gas were eventually scrapped.

“They would have a bus out here, from what I understand, for hours, just trying to get fuel, and then they couldn’t finally get it to work,” Dutton says.

“There are some important differences in the market now, versus the 1990s,” says Greg Roche of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which wants to build a nationwide network of natural gas fueling stations.

“The economics are far better than they have been since natural gas began as an option in the transportation market,” Roche says. “And the reason for that is: The price of oil is high and it is going to stay high, and we have and incredible abundance of natural gas in this country so the price is cheap.”

Roche said concerns over climate change are also driving demand. Natural gas produces 20 to 30 percent fewer carbon emissions than diesel.

New trucks that run on compressed natural gas cost 35 percent more than comparable diesel trucks, says Mark Stroermann of Fair Oaks Dairy Farms. Government incentives bring the cost down, and, he adds, the trucks eventually pay for themselves.

Stroermann says regular unleaded gasoline sells at a BP station near the farm for about $3.89 a gallon. On the other hand, he is selling compressed natural gas for $2.59 — “so $1.30 less per gallon,” he says.

And for now, that’s the bottom-line difference driving interest in natural gas vehicles.

Source – NPR.org

Geothermal for your home- Benefits & Great Savings

Residential

A GSHP system can be installed in a residential structure of any size, anywhere, whether it is single-family or multi-family. GSHPs can be installed on almost any size lot: under lawns, landscaped areas, driveways, or the house itself. An existing house can be retrofitted with a GSHP using the ductwork that is already there. Your dealer/installer will be able to determine ductwork requirements and if any minor modifications are needed. Home builders and homeowners can both take advantage of the special financing that is offered in many locations on a GSHP either through the utility or manufacturer.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have both endorsed ground source heat pump systems as among the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating, cooling, and water heating systems available. In a 1993 report, the EPA concluded that geothermal technologies represent a major opportunity for reducing national energy use and pollution, while delivering comfort, reliability and savings to homeowners.

Ground Source Heat Pumps offer great benefits:

  • Can be a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system
  • Some can save you up to 50% on your water-heating bill by preheating tank water
  • Made of mechanical components that are either buried in the ground or located inside the home
  • About the same size as a traditional heating/cooling unit
  • Pipe carries up to a 50-year warranty
  • Can cut energy consumption by 20 to 50% and reduce maintenance costs
  • Keep the air warmer in the winter (90 -105¡ F) and at a more consistent temperature throughout the home, eliminating the hot and cold spots common with other systems
  • Very quiet, providing a pleasant environment inside & outside the home
  • No noisy fan units to disturb outdoor activities
  • No exposed equipment outdoors; children or pets cannot injure themselves or damage exterior units
  • No open flame, flammable fuel or potentially dangerous fuel storage tanks

GSHPs offer great savings:

  • One of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today
  • Heating efficiencies 50 to 70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies 20 to 40% higher than available air conditioners
  • Save money in operating and maintenance costs
  • Investments recouped in only a few years
  • Positive cash flow; energy savings usually exceed the cost of the system
  • Some utilities offer rebates or incentives to their customers who purchase GSHPs. To see what your state has to offer click here.
  • Many heat pump manufacturers, local utilities, and lending institutions have special financing for homeowners who are installing GSHPs

GSHPs are environmentally friendly:

  • Conserve natural resources by providing climate control efficiently and thus lowering emissions
  • Minimize ozone layer destruction by using factory-sealed refrigeration systems, which will seldom or never have to be recharged
  • Uses underground loops to transfer heat, with no external venting and no air pollution

Source – IGSHPA