Canada’s CN railway is testing natural gas locomotives writes Alberta Oil. Taking advantage of the natural gas glut in North America, the railroad is testing two diesel-electric locomotives fueled by natural gas on a run between Edmonton and the oil sands town of Fort McMurray. The 4,300-horsepower locomotives uses a fuel mixture of  90% natural gas combined with 10% diesel. The company says it is also working with an engine manufacturer to design a standardized natural gas railway engine. A prototype is scheduled for road tests in 2014.

The Auto Channel tells us 1 million natural gas trucks and buses will be sold worldwide from 2012 to 2019. Pike Research forecasts sales of natural gas trucks and buses will expand steadily over the remainder of the decade driven by strong demand from trucking firms, bus companies, and government agencies as they try to reduce fuel costs and green house gas emissions. Compared to diesel engines, natural gas provides a financial benefit. In most cases, the higher incremental cost of an natural gas vehicle is typically recovered, due to lower fuel costs, within two to seven years. You can access the Pike study here.

Two years General Electric committed to buying 25,000 electric vehicles for its fleet.  Now from TheSpec we learn the company has backed off that goal given the high price of EVs and their limited range.  Instead GE will diversify into other alternative vehicles including natural gas and propane vehicles. For example, GE is testing 300 Ford F-250 medium-duty pickups that use compressed natural gas.

Next-Gen Transportation News says 2013 should be a good year for propane autogas in the US as municipal and corporate fleets and school boards convert their vehicles to run on this fuel. Presently about 5% of the propane in the country is used for transportation purposes.  However, experts expect the number to almost double within the next 3 to 5 years. See also Missouri School Fleet Saving 18.9 Cents Per Mile with Propane.

NGV Global News informed us that the new cruise ferry M/S Viking Grace is using liquified natural gas (LNG) to power it.  The ferry, described as the most environmentally friendly large cruise vessel ever built, is operating between Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. It will transport 2800 passengers as well as their vehicles.

The same source notes that Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries has received orders for 5 duel-fuel LNG carriers. These large ships will be able to run either on marine diesel or natural gas. “The vessels are scheduled for delivery 2015-2016 and mark the increasing interest in natural gas fuel for marine propulsion, with the increasingly abundant fuel reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel costs.”

autoblog reports Iran is investing heavily in natural gas cars. In 2006 there were 1,500 dual-fuel cars (those that can run on gasoline and on natural gas) and 60 natural gas refueling stations in Iran. Today that number has climbed dramatically to 3 million cars and 2500 refueling stations. Having been forced to substitute natural gas for petroleum due to the US led oil and economic sanctions over Iran’s nuclear policy, the Mideast country of 80 million now has more natural-gas-powered cars than any other country in the world.

From NGV Global News we hear there are now more than 35,ooo NGVs in Korea, serviced by 164 CNG or LNG stations. 80% of these vehicles are buses and the remaining 20% trucks and bi-fuel retrofit passenger cars. Buses and trucks are supplied by Korean auto makers such as Hyundai, Daewoo Bus and Tata Daewoo.

This past year Bolivia converted over 30,ooo vehicles to natuaral gas….for freeNGV Global News says the 30,477 free conversions of vehicles to compressed natural gas (CNG) is part of the government’s policy to shift away from oil products, preserves the environment, and enable vehicle owners to reduce their operating costs. “89.4% of the NGV conversion program has now been completed. The conversion is free — the cost for the CNG kit, cylinder, installation and authorized repairers is fully covered by the government…Conversion technology is imported from Italy, while CNG cylinders are manufactured and imported from Brazil.”

In the US state of Oklahoma, the price of CNG is now about $2 per gallon cheaper than gasoline. News9 reports some CNG stations are now at 99 cents compared with $2.95 to $2.99 for gasoline.

Cities in Peru will have CNG buses according to NGV Global News. Between them the cities of Lima and Callao have ordered 120 buses for public transportation which will be operating by the end of this year.

In the US state of Pennsylvania the county of Lancaster is converting its garbage truck fleet to run on compressed natural gas reports Waste & Recycling News. The plan calls for the purchase of 14 new trucks as well as a CNG refueling station. The station will be available for use by municipal vehicles from nearby counties. Meanwhile, a refuse and recycling company in the US state of Illinois will have 30 trucks running on CNG within 3 years says Next-Gen Transportation News.




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