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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: March 12, 2018

  • IRS Issues Guidance to Claim Tax Credit for Alternative Fuel Sales
  • Energy Department Announces $12 Million in Early-Stage Research for Natural Gas Engines
  • GTI Developing Alternative Fuel Vehicle Maintenance Garage Training
  • Arrival of New CNG Buses Celebrated at River Valley Transit in Pennsylvania
  • Simple-Fill Secures $1.7 Million in Funding, Strengthens Partnership with Parker Hannafin
  • Efficient Drivetrains Completes California Energy Commission Vehicle Program
  • Stabilis Energy Announces Acquisition of Prometheus Energy
  • AIDA Cruises Orders Third Ship to Be Fueled Exclusively by LNG


IRS Issues Guidance to Claim Tax Credit for Alternative Fuel Sales

March 7, 2018

The IRS has issued Notice 2018-21 that establishes the procedures for claiming the $0.50 credit for alternative fuel sold or used in calendar year 2017.  The notice requires that a single one-time claim for all alternative fuels (including CNG and LNG) should be made no later than September 29, 2018.  Claims should be made using Form 8849 (Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes) accompanied by Schedule 3 (Certain Fuel Mixtures and the Alternative Fuel Credit).

The notice indicates that taxpayers who filed protective or anticipatory claims in 2017 must refile their claims; the IRS will not consider the previous claims perfected by the extension of the tax credits. Claims for 2017 may be submitted now but April 2 is the official start date for filing such claims and the date that will be used for determining whether the IRS owes interest on late payments to taxpayers.

To file a claim, a person must be a registered alternative fueler. If you previously submitted claims to the IRS or are a retail seller of fuel, then you are likely registered. First time claimants who are not registered must file Form 637 (Application for Registration) prior to making claims for credits. Persons intending to file the claim should seek advice from tax counsel or an accountant to ensure that claims are properly submitted.

Notice 2018-21 is available here, and IRS tax forms can be located here.

More information about the tax credit is available on the Tax Credit Overview page on the NGVAmerica website.


Energy Department Announces $12 Million in Early-Stage Research for Natural Gas Engines

March 9, 2018

The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) announced $4 million to support three new cost-shared research projects focused on medium and heavy duty, on-road natural gas engines. These projects are in part complemented by $5 million in early-stage research at DOE’s National Laboratories.

With abundant domestic supplies, the United States could increase energy security from using low-cost natural gas as an alternative to other energy sources for transporting goods.  Cost-effectively achieving diesel-like efficiency in natural gas engines, while meeting current and future emissions standards, will improve the affordability of natural gas-fueled medium and heavy duty vehicles. Recipients of the three new cost-shared projects are:

Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado) will receive $1.2 million to research ultra-low emissions, high-efficiency heavy duty natural gas engines with optimized combustion chamber designs.

University of Houston (Houston, Texas) will receive $2 million to develop a new class of catalysts with low levels of precious metals for natural gas engine emissions control.

University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota) will receive $1.1 million to advance low temperature combustion technologies for higher-efficiency natural gas engines.

In addition, DOE is supporting $3 million in early-stage research among several National Laboratories. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are researching active and durable catalysts for low temperature methane oxidation to enable efficient CNG engines. Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, ORNL, and Sandia National Laboratories are working collaboratively to research fundamental in-cylinder and emissions-control advancements for higher-efficiency medium/heavy duty natural gas engines.

The Department’s Vehicle Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in early-stage research to spur private-sector research, development and commercialization of more energy efficient and affordable transportation technologies that increase energy security and economic growth.


GTI Developing Alternative Fuel Vehicle Maintenance Garage Training

March 12, 2018

GTI is developing in-person workshops and online resources that will provide a guide for how to upgrade maintenance garages for natural gas and other gaseous fuels. These workshops and resources will cover important topics, including gas detection, emergency ventilation, heating, alarm systems, and a review of fuel properties.

FREE workshops will include a half-day of classroom activity and learning tools, followed by a visit to an actual garage to see a completed upgrade or one in progress. Materials will be available on the training website for free and include reports, videos, case studies, best practices, and strategies for cost-effective code compliance.

GTI’s intended audience includes garage owners, fleet managers, safety officers, fire marshals, and other authorities with jurisdiction.

A natural gas workshop will be held on April 5 at GTI’s headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. To register, visit the registration page here.


Arrival of New CNG Buses Celebrated at River Valley Transit in Pennsylvania

March 8, 2018

In Pennsylvania, River Valley Transit (RVT) celebrated the arrival of 10 new CNG buses that were purchased in part using funding from DEP’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program. Attendees were also given a tour of RVT’s CNG fueling station, also partially funded through AFIG.

DEP North-central Regional Director Marcus Kohl and staff joined representatives from RVT, the fixed-route public transit provider in Lycoming County, and Gillig, the manufacturer of the CNG buses, to discuss the project and its environmental benefits. Color-coded balloons were used at the event to represent the net reduction of air pollutants that will be achieved by using the cleaner-burning fuel.

“The deployment of these ten CNG buses into the RVT fleet is estimated to result in a net reduction of eight pounds per minute of carbon dioxide, five pounds per hour of nitrogen oxides (NOx), four pounds per day of particulate matter, and two pounds per day of sulphur oxides (SOx),” said Kohl. “The CNG buses will also reduce liquid fuel costs, support jobs in the community, and increase the use of fuels generated domestically.”

Ferguson explained that Lycoming County is an air quality attainment area. Under federal rules, vehicle owners are only required to have a gas cap check for emissions testing annually, saving residents the expense of paying for additional emissions testing on their vehicles.

RVT was awarded an AFIG grant of $200,000 in 2017 toward the purchase of the vehicles. DEP also provided RVT with an AFIG grant of $400,000 in 2011 to assist with the construction of their CNG fueling station, which is open to the public. AFIG supports the development of infrastructure necessary for the expanded use of alternative fuel vehicles in the commonwealth.

The AFIG Program, established in 1992 under Act 166, helps to create new markets for alternative fuels in Pennsylvania by investing in the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles, fleets, and technologies. It provides an average of $5 to $6 million annually to support alternative fuels fleet vehicle purchases and conversions and the development of alternative fuel refueling stations.


Simple-Fill Secures $1.7 Million in Funding, Strengthens Partnership with Parker Hannafin

March 6, 2018

Simple-Fill, provider of innovative technology that compresses natural gas, announced it is deepening its partnership with Parker Hannifin Corporation, the global leader in motion and control technologies. The agreement will allow Simple-Fill to leverage Parker’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities to further develop and fulfill orders for its next generation CNG re-fueling technology. Simple-Fill also announced it has secured approximately $1.7 million in additional funding led by Worthington Industries and joined by Rev1 Ventures and The Ohio State University’s Carmen Innovations Fund and several angel investors.

With this financing, Simple-Fill will focus on developing its 40 GGE compressor that will reduce the time to fuel fleet vehicles 10-fold, while reducing the cost of compression, one of the most significant barriers to the widespread adoption of CNG.

“This collaboration and investment will allow us to further deliver on the promise of providing the market with a more efficient way to power the world’s vehicles,” said Rob Underhill, CEO of Simple-Fill. “The support of these powerhouse companies from Parker Hannifin to Worthington, Rev1 and Ohio State, is a pivotal moment for Simple-Fill and provides us the ability to further innovate our platform.”

Unlike conventional compression methods, Simple-Fill uses liquid to compress, cool and dehydrate natural gas, while eliminating methane leakage.

The Simple-Fill technology is already being used by the Safelite AutoGlass facility in Worthington, Ohio. The largest vehicle glass repair and replacement company is leveraging Simple-Fill to reduce operating

expense with a more predictable and environmentally friendly fuel to power their commercial fleet.


Efficient Drivetrains Completes California Energy Commission Vehicle Program

March 6, 2018

Efficient Drivetrains announced the completion of its California Energy Commission (CEC) program to build a fleet of six Plug-in-Hybrid Electric International-brand armored vehicles that feature range extension utilizing cleaner, renewable natural gas for end user fleet Sectran Security.

The fleet of six 26,000 pound, Class-6 medium duty armored trucks marks the creation of another industry-first for Efficient Drivetrains zero emissions PHEV trucks. The result is a fleet that operates with the same expected OEM performance while reducing emissions by up to 99.9 percent in certain duty cycles. The collaboration with the CEC is an exemplary program supporting the state of California’s rapid acceleration towards a zero emissions environment.

Fleet end user Sectran Security armored vehicles make frequent stops as part of their highly congested city routes in Southern California. At each stop, engines are kept idling for security purposes, but now risk violating California’s strict diesel idling regulations, which prohibit idling the engine for more than five minutes. With the modernized PHEV trucks, engine idling is eliminated entirely, by operating in all-electric mode during stop-and-go operations, and in hybrid mode using RNG during highway operations. By deploying the full fleet of six, the vehicles enable Sectran to reduce annual diesel consumption by 31,000 gallons, significantly reducing annual fuel costs and emissions.


Stabilis Energy Announces Acquisition of Prometheus Energy

March 7, 2018

Stabilis Energy has completed the acquisition of a majority interest in Prometheus Energy. The acquisition combines two of the leading LNG production and distribution companies to form a full-service LNG provider capable of delivering LNG to customers in any end market and location in North America.

Prometheus will operate as the independent LNG distribution subsidiary of Stabilis. Prometheus provides mobile and stationary LNG solutions to industrial, utility, pipeline, high-horsepower and other remote customers. Customer solutions include supporting utilities with natural gas via LNG for flow assurance to address gas interruptions, gas curtailments and critical peak demand during extreme conditions. Prometheus will continue to purchase LNG from multiple producers to optimize fuel cost for its customers.

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Prometheus Energy,” said Casey Crenshaw, CEO of Stabilis Energy. “Prometheus was a pioneer in the LNG industry and it remains the premier small-scale LNG distribution and service company in the world. We believe this transaction will allow each company to grow aggressively in LNG production and distribution, respectively.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


AIDA Cruises Orders Third Ship to Be Fueled Exclusively by LNG

March 12, 2018

The German cruise line, AIDA Cruises, has commissioned MEYER WERFT to construct a third ship that will be powered by 100 percent LNG. AIDA’s first ship will be completed in autumn 2018, with the second and third following in 2021 and 2023.

The new ship will have a tonnage measurement of over 180,000 GT and around 2,700 cabins. The engine room modules for all three ships will be supplied by Rostock shipyard, NEPTUN WERFT. These modules will contain the entire engine room for each ship, LNG tanks and all machinery systems and installations.

MEYER WERFT has now received orders for the construction of 14 ships to be delivered by 2023. Such a long-term outlook means the shipyard must have the capacity to constantly adapt and evolve, and as a result about $60 to $100 million per year are invested in the facilities in Papenburg.