Shell to build CNG stations at TravelCenters of Americas stops

Shell Oil Products U.S. will add compressed natural gas filling stations at some of the travel centers that a northeast Ohio company operates along major interstates, primarily in the Midwest and eastern U.S.

Shell will install at least 200 of the filling stations at a minimum of 100 Westlake-based TravelCenters of America facilities, according to a newspaper report. TravelCenters has 238 locations.

The company, which has about 3,000 repair technicians, plans to train those workers to work on vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, the newspaper reports. TravelCenters expects the first station to be operational next year.

Source- Petro Plaza

WiNG-ing it: Driving 700 Miles on CNG

Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post by Nicole Adams of Westport Innovations, manufacturers of natural gas engine solutions based in Vancouver, Canada.

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Late last week, our team from Westport Innovations braved the wind and rain in Times Square to show off the new Westport WiNG-powered bi-fuel Ford F-250. It was the final stop on a four-day road trip from Detroit to New York City, powered entirely by compressed natural gas (CNG).

The drive itself was terrific. It was great getting to spend time with my colleagues, Arnie Campbell, John Howell and Alissa Marczewski who all took turns driving, refueling and delighting in the $40 fill-ups.

Even better was the chance we got to meet with supporters, enthusiasts and people who had no idea what CNG was or that there are light-duty options in the United States. We were continually encouraged by folks who would pull up next to us at a stoplight or in a parking lot and start asking questions about driving on CNG. They wanted to know about safety, fuel efficiency, noise, environmental benefits, availability, etc. CNG is significantly cleaner and you can save up to 50% on fueling costs. The facts speak for themselves.

It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a genuine enthusiasm and growing momentum behind natural gas vehicles. Some people drove hours just to see the bi-fuel truck. Others called us in the middle of a busy schedule, asking if we could stick around for an extra 30 minutes so that they could take a quick test-drive between meetings.

In the end, the Where in the World is Westport WiNG road trip was both enlightening and encouraging. We had an awesome time! Our only regret was that we couldn’t make it to all the places we wished we could have. There’s always next time… In the meantime, check out the pictures below.

And finally, thank you CNGnow for the station-finder app. It was a huge help in planning our route. In fact, we were able to make it all 700 miles without having to dip into our truck’s gasoline reserves at all. The refueling infrastructure isn’t where we would like it to be, but this is proof that it’s there and viable for many consumers.

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To follow along with other things happening at Wesport, we’re on Twitter @WestportWiNG.

SOURCE – CNGNOW.com

Oyster Bay Gets Funds for Natural Gas Project

The Town of Oyster Bay has been awarded an additional $407,970 in grant money for its compressed natural gas (CNG) project, which included the construction of a CNG fueling station, the conversion of trucks to CNG and the purchase of CNG-ready vehicles.

TOBAY Supervisor John Venditto said the town had previously been granted  $5,223,529 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding through the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Pilot Program.

Those funds came through a grant application that was part of a consortium of Nassau-Suffolk County applications submitted to the U. S. Department of Energy by the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition (GLICC), Venditto said. When one applicant withdrew, the remaining funds were reallocated.

The town’s CNG fueling station, located at the Department of Public Works complex in Syosset, began operating earlier this year. Under this grant, the town has converted 31 heavy-duty sanitation trucks, which are also used for snow removal operations, to CNG, and purchased 13 CNG-ready sanitation trucks.

The supervisor noted that an additional five trucks were repowered under a grant came from the U.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) through the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition, bringing the town’s fleet of CNG trucks to a total of 49.

In addition to the fact that CNG is domestically produced, Venditto said  that the benefits of using CNG include producing an average of 27 percent fewer greenhouse emissions than comparable gasoline or diesel models and creating jobs in vehicle and equipment manufacturing, station construction, and ongoing vehicle and station operations.

Source – Patch.com

California and American West Top 2012 State Clean Energy Index

California is the top clean energy state in the United States for the third consecutive year, and the American West region continues to lead the national clean tech economy, according to a new ranking from industry analysts Clean Edge.

The 2012 State Clean Energy Index, the third-annual such analysis, aggregates various industry data into one scoring system. Overall scores are awarded on a 100-point scale based on three categories – installed technology (clean electricity, clean transportation, energy intelligence & green building), policy outlook (regulations & mandates, incentives), and invested capital (financial, human & intellectual).

#1 — California

California dominated the rankings with a 91.1 score, more than 10 points higher than the second-ranked state, even though it lost 4.2 points from 2011. The Golden State “has established itself as the world’s preeminent testing ground for clean technology of all kinds,” and led the country in nearly all aspects of market expansion, including new wind and solar, hybrid and electric vehicles (EV), and green building.

However, the state’s most notable achievement comes in attracting venture capital. California-based clean energy startups saw $9 billion in investment over the past three years, more than the combined total of all 49 other states.

#2 — Oregon

Oregon held onto its second-place rank, gaining 0.5 points for a 79.9 score. Clean Edge credits the state’s success to consumer-driven demand for clean tech products and services, the highest national participation rates for voluntary green pricing programs, the largest concentration of LEED-certified buildings, and one of the highest rates of hybrid-electric vehicles per-capita.

#3 — Massachusetts

Massachusetts jumped 4.3 points to retain its third-place rank with a score of 76.1. Clean Edge attributes the state’s strength to an existing base of energy efficiency measures, a $500-million infusion of venture capital investment in 2011, and the Boston metro region’s network of universities. The index considers this concentration of education and startups second only to Silicon Valley.

#4 — Washington State

Washington State, buoyed by a 9-point increase, jumped from sixth overall in 2010 to the fourth-ranked state in 2011 with a score of 69.0. This ranking was due to newly added wind capacity and strong hydropower output, which helped to generate more than 84 percent of all in-state electricity from low-carbon sources (up from 72 percent in 2010). In addition, the state’s focus on building out an EV charging network could make it an industry epicenter moving forward.

#5 — Colorado

Rounding out the top five was Colorado, which maintained the fifth-overall rank from 2010 with a five-point score increase to 65.1. Clean tech infrastructure continues to grow in the state, especially in green building, wind power, and solar photovoltaics. Interestingly, Colorado also checks in as the third most attractive destination for venture capital investment, thanks largely to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

National trends

Clean Edge also noted four impressive national trends:

  • Six states now generate more than 10 percent of their utility-scale electricity from wind, solar, and geothermal – twice as many as 2010.
  • Nearly two million hybrid cars are now registered in the U.S., and nearly 50,000 all-electric vehicles now ride our roads.
  • The 29 states with renewable portfolio standards (along with Washington, D.C.) now represent nearly two-thirds of the total national generating capacity.
  • Clean energy patents granted to U.S. entities exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time in history.

Remainder of top ten

The index also highlights interesting factors that helped determine the rank of the rest of the top-ten states:

  • New York State (64.9) ranked sixth, generating more GDP dollars per kilowatt-hours consumed as a result of extensive energy efficiency measures, and the upstate region is a growing hotbed of clean energy R&D.
  • Illinois (59.8) ranked seventh, reflecting rural areas of the state’s focus on agriculture and biofuels development as well as Chicago’s leadership in green building and energy efficiency.
  • New Mexico (58.1) ranked eighth, due largely to the state’s growing importance to the solar industry and importance as a key market for PV deployment and technology development.
  • Vermont (56.5) ranked ninth on the strength of an environmentally minded population, high percentage of hybrid-EV deployment, and energy efficiency measures.
  • Minnesota (54.6) ranked tenth as a notable national leader in wind energy and biofuels. The state was one of only five in 2011 to generate 10 percent of its power needs from wind, and is among the highest national ethanol producers.

Even though national support for clean energy technology may be uncertain, state-level support remains strong and the green economy continues to grow. “The state-level scene shows a diversity that crosses political boundaries and regions,” said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge managing director. “The next decade will determine which nations, states, and cites lead in clean tech.”

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1d4mi)

IEA sets out shale gas ‘golden rules’ for cleaner fracking

Green groups have slammed a new report by the International Energy Association (IEA), which set out a set of “golden rules” that could help the world’s fledgling shale gas industry triple the supply of unconventional natural gases to 1.6 trillion cubic metres per year by 2035.

The IEA launched a new report today to help shale gas companies address key environmental concerns about the controversial extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.

However, WWF and Friends of the Earth, warned that a boom in shale gas would prevent countries from reaching the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C.

They also highlighted a paragraph in the report predicting an increase in shale gas supply could derail efforts to develop other forms of low-carbon energy, including renewables.

A number of countries including the UK are seeking to expand their supply of shale gas, emulating the success of exploration in North America, where shale supplied 23 per cent of total gas production in 2010.

While the UK’s reserves are nowhere near the size of America’s, it is still estimated to have 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in Lancashire alone. But a report by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research last year warned burning a fifth of this would use up 15 per cent of the UK’s carbon budgets to 2050.

Many green groups are also concerned that the process of fracking can contaminate water, while injecting wastewater in deep disposal wells has caused earthquakes.

The IEA’s rules require gas companies to measure and disclose any environmental impacts such as on water quality, as well as restricting venting and flaring to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

If these rules were adopted, the IEA predicts the industry could triple its supply by 2035, allowing gas to overtake coal as the second most important fuel in the energy mix.

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said adopting the rules could push up the price of energy by seven per cent, but it would also earn the industry a “social licence” to operate.

“If this new industry is to prosper, it needs to earn and maintain its social licence to operate,” he said. “This comes with a financial cost, but in our estimation the additional costs are likely to be limited.”

By contrast, in a case where the rules were not adopted, a lack of public acceptance would allow unconventional gas production to rise only slightly above current levels by 2035.

Significantly, the report warned this scenario would push up carbon emissions by 1.3 per cent compared to a “golden rule” scenario, as gas would be replaced by heavy emitting coal.

However, in both cases emissions would be well above the trajectory required to reach the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C, meaning shale could only play one part in reducing global temperature rises.

WWF criticised the IEA’s report for promoting shale gas while at the same time acknowledging that it would fail to reduce the impacts of climate change.

“A golden age for gas is clearly very far from a golden age for the planet. Buried in the depths of this report is the bombshell that a global dash for unconventional gas will condemn us to warming of at least 3.5°C,” said Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK.

“Those who claim that shale gas is some sort of wonder fuel that can tackle climate change are seriously misleading the public – the reality is that it is a dangerous distraction from energy efficiency and clean renewable energy.

Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner Tony Bosworth also urged governments to focus their efforts on growing renewable supplies.

“Drilling for shale and other unconventional gas would put the world on course for catastrophic climate change – incomprehensible when we have clean energy solutions at our fingertips like wind and solar power,” he said.

Source : Business Green

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!

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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