The Financial Post says natural gas is challenging oil’s dominance as a transportation fuel. The article is one more recognizing that the huge price differential between crude oil and natural gas is not going away and that the latter is poised to become a fuel of choice in North America’s trucking and other heavy vehicle market, including marine transportation.

A more likely prize for LNG (liquified natural gas) as a transport fuel is garbage trucks and other municipal service vehicles, along with mass transit systems like buses. Trains, ships, and even aircraft are all potential targets too. Buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) – LNG’s less potent older brother – already ply the streets of Dallas and other cities. Rotterdam and Singapore have both outlined plans to become a hub for LNG-powered shipping…LNG-powered ships are already a reality, even though the fleet is modest for now.

NGV Global News says the European Union wants a study to examine the barriers facing the growth of LNG powered ships.

The same source tells us the EU has initiated an ambitious package of measures to ensure the roll out of alternative fuel stations across Europe including natural gas. Alternative fuels in Europe are being held back by three main barriers: the high cost of vehicles, a low level of consumer acceptance, and the lack of recharging and refueling stations. To address this, the Commission is proposing a package of binding targets on Member States for a minimum level of infrastructure for electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed. For natural gas these are:

  • Common standards for LNG and CNG refueling stations for cars, trucks and vessels must be developed by December 2015.
  • LNG refuelling points for waterborne vessels shall comply with the relevant standards, to be adopted by 2014.

Cars of Change reveals the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) will be testing natural gas as fuel for its auto racing cars this year.

Gazprom Germania is continuing to build natural gas filling stations in Germany according to NGV Global News. To the 6 stations already operating, the company is adding four more- one each in Berlin, Potsdam, Leipzig, and Öhringen. These stations will begin operating by the end of this year. By the end of 2013, GAZPROM Germania GmbH will open another seven natural gas filling stations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Encana Corp. has commissioned a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in the province of Alberta, Canada we learn from Next-Gen Transportation. The purpose is to supply LNG to heavy-duty trucking and other fleets in western Canada. Among its customers is Canadian National Railways which  is testing two diesel-electric locomotives fueled mainly by natural gas. Natural gas is 20 to 40 percent less expensive than gasoline or diesel in most regions of North America. See also NGV Global News Encana Commissions First LNG Facility in Alberta.

The Dallas Morning News notes the city of Dallas, Texas is beginning the roll out of 450 CNG buses for its public transportation system. Meanwhile the city of Birmingham, Alabama has ordered 50 CNG buses.

The city of Barcelona, Spain has its first CNG-electric hybrid bus says NGV Global News.

The South China Morning News reports Ford is building liquefied natural gas cars for Hong Kong’s taxi market. In July Ford will introduce an upgraded version of its Transit Connect, an urban vehicle used as a taxi in many US cities.





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