OILPRICE gives us ten points to consider when thinking about the future of natural gas vehicles.  Some key facts: First, natural gas use in road transport accounted for 1.4% of global gas demand in 2012. This is expected to rise to 2.5% by 2018, accounting for nearly 10% of total natural gas demand growth. Second, there are currently 15 million NGVs and this number is rising, yet there are very few in North America. The overriding question is whether the shale gas boom in North America will lead to a lot more Americans and Canadians driving natural gas vehicles as a substitute for gasoline and diesel.

The perception of natural gas as a mainstream fuel for vehicles runs the gamut, dependent upon where you live: from the improbable…to the viable…to the everyday reality. So from recent burrito research expeditions, here are ten points to stir up the melding pot of the great natural gas vehicle debate.

the energy collective tells tells us there is a debate over which fuel is better for long distance trucking: CNG or LNG.  Until now trucking fleet managers generally had two choices to make: compressed natural gas (CNG)  for any return-to-base, short mileage vehicles, and liquefied natural gas (LNG)  for long-haul on-highway Class 8 trucks, also known as tractor trailers or semis. The choice was determined by a few factors inherent in the chemical properties of CNG and LNG and the distance to be traveled (energy density, tank storage capacity, re-fueling time). However, due to a variety of recent  innovations in tank storage and faster refueling , “a paradigm shift may be under way” that is causing managers to re-think the economics of the choice of fuel.

…the pace of innovation across the natural gas industry has been astounding over the past decade, from extraction processes, to refueling infrastructure, fuel storage and engine technology. So although the rapid rate of natural gas vehicle adoption may intensify this fuel debate, both options are viable and economically/environmentally superior to diesel for the Class 8 sector and time will tell which option is truly best suited for the long haul. While the question at the pump may well be, “liquid or gas,” the one thing that is clear is that NGVs of all sizes are here to stay!

NGV Global News reports Russian natural gas giant Gazprom is working to expand the use of this fuel in the agricultural sector. Natural gas is much cheaper and more eco-friendly than diesel and yet makes up on 1% of Russia’s agricultural fuel. Recent studies have show than the conversion of trucks and buses to natural gas in that country reduced their operating costs by one third and the payback period for the costs of conversion was only 6 to 9 months. Gazprom’s goal is to replace 20%  of conventional fossil fuel used in the agricultural sector with NGV fuel by 2030, largely by increasing the number of CNG refueling stations (stationary and mobile) that service this sector of the economy.  In addition the Russian Ministry of Agriculture has formed a working group to look at ways of to develop Russian NGV agricultural equipment and create service and repair centers for this equipment.

From the Milwaukee Business Journal we learn that the US state of Wisconsin is giving out $1.3 million in grants for the purchase of natural gas and propane vehicles. The money is going to money municipalities, companies and other organizations to buy 81 natural gas and 18 propane vehicles. Along with conversions in the state’s trucking sector, the grants hare expected to help create 200 compressed natural gas filling stations by the end of 2015.

NGT News mentions a new refueling network in eastern Canada that will offer CNG, LNG and propane autogas. Gaz Metro Transport Solutions and La Coop federee are partnering to offer this alternative fuel refueling stations. Select locations will also offer biofuels and electric vehicle charging stations. The partnership is a part of Gaz Metro’s “Blue Road” initiative, which is focused on building out a network of LNG refueling stations designed primarily for the heavy-duty trucking sector in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The first station will be built this fall with four more to be in operation by the end of 2015.

UK logistics firm Howard Tenens is adding 35 duel-fuel HGVs (heavy good trucks) to its fleet. NGV Global News says the trucks will run on a mixture of CNG and renewable fuel biomethane.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,