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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: December 4, 2017

  • NGVAmerica Releases CNG Fuel System Inspection Guidance
  • Natural Gas Projects Funded for Pennsylvania Schools, Businesses, and Municipalities
  • First-of-its-Kind Guidance for CNG Vehicle Maintenance Facilities
  • Greater Portland Transit District Supports Growth with Five CNG Buses from New Flyer
  • Greenkraft Sees Jump in Sales for its Commercial Truck Line
  • Ryder Unveils Newly Built Maintenance Facility in Charlotte
  • Penske Logistics Given Sustainability Award by U.S. EPA SmartWay Program
  • S. Gain Promotes Company Leaders in RNG Business
  • Hexagon Receives Order for Four Titan Mobile Pipeline Trailers
  • First Wärtsilä Equipped LNG Fueling Barge Headed to the U.S.


NGVAmerica Releases CNG Fuel System Inspection Guidance

December 4, 2017

NGVAmerica, the national trade association for natural gas fuel in transportation, today released its long-awaited recommended Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel System Inspection Guidance document.

NGVAmerica’s Technology & Development Committee’s Fuel System Inspection Work Group created the new guidance after two years of discussion and review.  The guidance was recently approved by the full Technology & Development Committee and breaks down suggested CNG fuel system inspection into four tiers.  The document recommends detailed visual inspection on an annual basis.

“This four-tiered approach means that the entire fuel system will be inspected more frequently through cursory reviews,” said Dan Bowerson, NGVA’s Director of Technology and Development.  “Full detailed inspections should be reserved for annual inspection or if cursory reviews uncover signs that a more detailed inspection is needed.  Furthermore, this guidance recommends that reviews and inspections expand to cover the entire fuel system and not just the CNG storage system as currently stated in federal law.”

A summary of the four-tiered recommendation is as follows:

Pre-Service Visual Inspection.  This is a detailed inspection of the complete CNG fuel system prior to the vehicle being placed into service.  This inspection is to verify that the CNG fuel system installed meets specifications and applicable codes/standards.

Cursory Visual Inspection.  This inspection should be done every pre- and post-trip by the driver.  During this inspection the driver is checking that there is no damage to the exterior of the fuel system, including the fill receptacle, and that vent lines are capped.

General Visual Inspection.  This should be conducted at preventative maintenance events by a trained technician.  During this inspection, the technician is inspecting the shields and enclosures of the CNG fuel system along with any readily accessible CNG fuel system components.

Detailed Visual Inspection.  The final level of inspection is intended to be a thorough inspection of the entire CNG fuel system.  This level of inspection will likely require the removal of shielding and/or the use of mirrors and cameras to visually access all components.

Current federal requirements in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 304 state, “This container should be visually inspected after a motor vehicle accident or fire and at least every 36 months or 36,000 miles; whichever comes first, for damage and deterioration”.  This requirement was written when light-duty vehicles were the main user of natural gas as a fuel to coincide with traditional OEM warranty timeframes.  The main users of natural gas as a fuel have changed since FMVSS 304 was written, and for some high mileage truck, transit, and trash fleets 36,000 miles of use occurs every few months.  This frequency of inspection was not intended in FVMSS 304.

NGVAmerica has petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to remove the mileage requirement and change the 36 months to 12 months.  DOT is moving on NGVA’s petition, but has not yet released a request for public input.

“This approach makes great strides for the safety of the CNG fueled vehicle,” added Bowerson.  “By recommending that the full CNG fuel system is inspected, instead of only the container, the chances of noticing an issue are improved.  By requesting a driver review the exterior of the fuel system for any signs of damage before and after every trip, and a trained technician digging deeper during preventative maintenance events, there are more opportunities for any potential issues to be addressed.”

Work Group Leaders responsible for developing the guidance include Duane Lippincott, United Parcel Service; Leo Thomason, Natural Gas Vehicle Institute; and Matt Krasney and Dean Stapleton, Penske Truck Rental.  Representatives from Agility Fuel Systems, SoCal Gas, Ryder, PepsiCo, Waste Management, FortisBC, Clean Energy, Chart, McNeilus, Worthington, Hexagon Lincoln, Momentum, Daimler, CSA Group, U.S. DOT, and the American Trucking Association participated in the document development.

The complete guidance is publicly available for NGVAmerica members and partners here on the website.


Natural Gas Projects Funded for Pennsylvania Schools, Businesses, and Municipalities

November 27, 2017

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently announced the approval of funding through the Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIG) program to support alternative fuel projects that will save hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel and reduce air pollution in Pennsylvania.

“Through the AFIG program, DEP is continuing to diversify the vehicles and fueling options in Pennsylvania, and reduce air pollution from vehicles,” said Governor Wolf. “These grants will not only help put more alternative fuel vehicles on the road, but also expand the infrastructure needed to make alternative fuel vehicles more viable for Pennsylvania businesses and families.”

More than $1.1 million in grants were awarded across the two categories: Vehicle Projects and Refueling Infrastructure. A list of the natural gas projects awarded is below:

WW Transport is seeking $140,000 in AFIG funding to purchase seven CNG-powered vehicles for its fleet at an incremental cost of $50k and grant request of $20,000 per vehicle. WW Transport will be using Mobile Fueling Solutions’ delivery service to fuel their vehicles in Camp Hill in Cumberland County. The project is expected to save 114,000 GGEs of diesel per year.

Trillium CNG is requesting $500,000 in AFIG funds to construct a public access CNG fueling station in Lancaster that will initially serve the city. In a five-year period, the project is estimated to reduce 39.92 tons of NOx, 386,428 metric tons of GHG emissions, and displace 1.3 million gallons of conventional petroleum fuel.

Valley Waste Service, a waste hauler subsidiary of Vogel Holding, is requesting $400,000 in AFIG funds to construct an on-site CNG fueling station to allow fleet vehicles access to CNG fueling at their home location in Beaver County. This station will be owned by Valley Waste Service and will be available to the general public.

The primary goals of the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program are to improve Pennsylvania’s air quality and reduce consumption of imported oil through the use of alternative fuels that will help Pennsylvania’s economy and environment. DEP accepts applications for innovative, advanced fuel and vehicle technology projects, resulting in a cleaner and greener transportation sector in Pennsylvania. The AFIG Fund was established under Act 166 of 1992 and is administered by DEP’s Office of Policy.


First-of-its-Kind Guidance for CNG Vehicle Maintenance Facilities

December 1, 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program has published a new first-of-its-kind guidance document, the Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Maintenance Facility Modifications Handbook, which covers all aspects of indoor CNG vehicle maintenance facility considerations.

This document was funded under the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office Technical Assistance program and produced along with a CNG fuel tank safety initiative, which aims to help fleets understand safe handling and use practices for working with CNG.

The natural gas industry has an impressive safety record, in large part due to the stringent industry codes and standards. Compressed natural gas codes deal not only with the vehicles themselves, but also with the design and use of vehicle maintenance facilities. Industry information about these maintenance facility safety requirements exists, but until now it has been difficult for fleets to find or fully understand.

To learn more, register for the upcoming Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Vehicle Maintenance Facility Modifications webinar on Thursday, December 7 from 10 to 11 a.m. MST. The webinar will cover topics included in the Handbook and how you might put this guidance to use. Speakers from Sandia National Laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Gladstein, Neandross & Associates will also be available for a question and answer session. This webinar will be important for stakeholders and facility managers that might currently have CNG vehicles or may be looking to purchase CNG vehicles in the future.


Greater Portland Transit District Supports Growth with Five CNG Buses from New Flyer

November 28, 2017

New Flyer announced that the Greater Portland Transit District (METRO) in Maine has ordered five heavy duty Xcelsior transit buses powered by clean-burning CNG. The new order supports METRO’s planned fleet expansion of with CNG buses to support the growing Portland community.

The Greater Portland region has experienced steady growth since 2010, with Portland named by Forbes as one of America’s 20 Fastest Growing Cities. Throughout 2017, a citywide planning board developed the Portland Plan 2030, which works toward an integrated, sustainable, dynamic, equitable, diverse, and connected city by 2030. A separate initiative by the City of Portland delivered a 2035 Comprehensive Plan for long‐range land use and public facility investment, specifically identifying transportation goals of safety, interconnectedness, environmental sustainability, equitable access, positive health outcomes, and effective daily access. The new plan will take effect January 1, 2018.

“We are proud to support the Greater Portland Transit District as it grows in size and vitality, with more Americans choosing the Portland region as a competitive and sustainable place to live and work,” stated Wayne Joseph, President, New Flyer of America. “We are committed to helping METRO achieve its goals of safe and sustainable public transit, as it pursues achievement of a progressive, innovative, and long-term vision for transportation.”

METRO is a regional public transportation system in Southern Maine, serving the communities of Brunswick, Falmouth, Freeport, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Yarmouth. It is Maine’s largest public transportation agency, serving nearly two million riders per year.


Greenkraft Sees Jump in Sales for its Commercial Truck Line

November 28, 2017

Greenkraft is receiving orders for its G-series trucks from Classes 4 to 7, positioning it to provide the commercial trucking industry a viable alternative to diesel. Greenkraft’s G-series trucks hold EPA and CARB certifications, have achieved near-zero emissions classifications, and fill a void in today’s commercial truck industry as companies seek alternative fuel and gasoline options for fleet vehicles.

Greenkraft says many of today’s fleet operators use diesel-fueled trucks that use emission control systems that require a significant amount of maintenance to meet specific federal and state emissions standards, putting trucks in the shop for extended periods of time and raising overall operation costs. Compared to diesel trucks, Greenkraft’s trucks offered in gasoline have less down time and fewer required emission controls to clean particulate matter.

To date, Greenkraft has received orders for its G-series trucks ranging from 14,000 lbs. to 26,000 lbs. GVW.


Ryder Unveils Newly Built Maintenance Facility in Charlotte

November 30, 2017

Ryder has unveiled its new state-of-the-art maintenance facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. The newly constructed Ryder-Charlotte North location has been engineered with expanded capabilities to provide maintenance to a broad range of diesel and advanced fuel vehicles.

The facility features five new drive-through commercial service bays, and a half-size vehicle service bay, that are all natural gas vehicle compliant. Additionally, the location features a new automated drive-through truck wash bay, a relocated fuel island with dual fuel lanes to improve traffic flow, and a one-acre lot expansion to accommodate parking for more commercial vehicles.

“The opening of this new state-of-the-art facility enables us to meet the growing transportation needs of more businesses in North Carolina,” said Ryder President of Global Fleet Management Solutions, Dennis Cooke. “With our new facility, we can provide customers in the North Charlotte region with more diverse, advanced maintenance services, an expanded staff of expert technicians, and the latest maintenance technologies in a larger, more modern space.”


Penske Logistics Given Sustainability Award by U.S. EPA SmartWay Program

November 29, 2017

The U.S. EPA’s SmartWay program has named Penske Logistics a 2017 Excellence Award winner. Penske is among the program’s top 1 to 2 percent of partners that display environmental best practices.

“Since 2004, the EPA and the business community have collaborated through the SmartWay Partnership to reduce the economic and environmental costs of goods movement, a vital sector of our national economy,” said Christopher Grundler, Director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation & Air Quality.

Penske Logistics is among the companies that have aided the SmartWay program, dating back to 2004, to avoid emitting in excess of 94 million metric tons of air pollutants and saving more than 197 million barrels of oil and $27.8 billion in fuel costs.

“Our company is honored to be recognized as an Excellence Award winner by the EPA SmartWay program,” stated Penske Logistics President Marc Althen. “There are over 550 vehicles in the company’s alternative fuel fleet. In over 26 years, Penske has safely operated and maintained natural gas vehicles in excess of 80 million miles.”

Penske Truck Leasing is an affiliate partner in the U.S. EPA SmartWay program and Penske Logistics is a partner in the trucking carrier and logistics categories. Penske Truck Leasing is also an affiliate partner in the Canada SmartWay Transport Partnership, which is administered by Natural Resources Canada.

U.S. Gain Promotes Company Leaders in RNG Business

November 28, 2017

U.S. Gain, a division of U.S. Venture, has announced the promotion of Bryan Nudelbacher and Hardy Sawall as directors of business development within the RNG sector of the business. In their new positions, Nudelbacher and Sawall will pursue partnerships with RNG project developers, seek out projects that U.S. Gain can invest in, and negotiate RNG supply contracts from project developers to service U.S. Gain’s growing CNG dispensing capacity.

Both serve the company as subject matter experts on renewable identification numbers (RINS), and the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) programs.

“Moving Bryan and Hardy into these roles is indicative of the growth of our RNG business and increased focus on sustainability,” said U.S. Gain President Mike Koel. “They are highly invested in meeting with proper agencies to discuss changes in the RFS program as it relates to D3 RINS.”

Nudelbacher has worked for U.S. Gain since 2011 and was a part of the team that started U.S. Gain. He worked previously as the business development manager, leading significant growth in U.S. Gain’s CNG business throughout the Midwest in addition to implementing the company’s natural gas pricing and supply strategy for U.S. Gain’s nationwide network of CNG stations. He successfully negotiated contracts with fleets and shippers, resulting in more than $25 million of margin and 50 million gallons under contract. He also implemented the company’s first-ever virtual pipeline project to transport CNG via tube trailers to a mobile asphalt plant.

Sawall has been working in the renewable fuels industry for the last 12 years, including biodiesel, ethanol, renewable diesel and renewable natural gas. Prior to joining U.S. Gain in 2012, Sawall served as the president of Fusion Renewables and grew sales from $3 million in 2010 to $67 million in 2011. He has a background in managing terminal operations and biodiesel distribution in the Midwest.


Hexagon Receives Order for Four Titan Mobile Pipeline Trailers

November 30, 2017

Hexagon Lincoln has received a new purchase order for its TITAN 4 trailers from Certarus Ltd., a provider of fully integrated CNG delivery solutions, with a total value of $10.4 million.

“We are proud to be a trusted partner of Certarus who is a pioneer in the supply of clean fuel into the oil and gas fields of North America,” said Jack Schimenti, President of Hexagon Lincoln. “This new follow-on order continues to affirm Hexagon’s class leading product performance and unmatched after-sales service support.”

Deliveries are scheduled for first quarter of 2018.


First Wärtsilä Equipped LNG Fueling Barge Headed to the U.S.

November 28, 2017

The technology group Wärtsilä has been selected to provide a broad scope of products and solutions for a new articulated tug barge (ATB). The vessel will be used to supply LNG fuel to cruise ships along the east coast of Florida. This will be the first fueling barge with a Wärtsilä solution operating in U.S. waters, and is seen as being an important logistics link for the growth of LNG as a marine fuel in the USA.

The ATB is being built at the VT Halter Marine (VTHM) shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi on behalf of Quality Liquefied Natural Gas Transport LLC (Q-LNG). When delivered, the vessel will be on a long-term charter with Shell Oil Co.

The ATB comprises a barge and a tug. The barge will be fitted with a Wärtsilä LNG cargo storage, handling, and control system, and Wärtsilä will also supply the barge automation, power management, and ballast water management systems, and other systems.

“Q-LNG is very pleased to again be partnering with Wärtsilä on yet another ground-breaking project,” said Chad Verret, President of Q-LNG. “Wärtsilä’s expertise in LNG systems, its solid reputation for top quality marine equipment, and its commitment to customer service fits in very well with Q-LNG’s plan to advance the development of LNG as a marine fuel in North America.”

The order with Wärtsilä was booked in November 2017. Deliveries will continue throughout 2018 and 2019, and the vessel is scheduled to commence operations in 2020.