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$5.25M Public-Private Effort Spawns NatGas Near-Zero Emission Engine

It took $5.25 million and a public-private sector effort to develop the natural gas transportation sector's near-zero (NZ) emissions engine unveiled earlier this month (see Daily GPIOct. 8).

Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI), the maker of the new NZ natural gas vehicle (NGV) engine, put up $1 million, and two other private sector partners added another $1.5 million: Sempra Energy's Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas, $1 million) and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. ($500,000).

Two California government agencies put up the remaining $2.75 million: the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD, $1.75 million) and the California Energy Commission (CEC, $1 million).

As a result, CWI now has its ISX12 G NZ engine, which is slated to be available some time in 2017. The engine maker said California air quality authorities view the engine as the equivalent of a 100% battery truck using power from a modern combined cycle gas-fired generation plant.

SCAQMD's technical committee this Friday was scheduled to begin deliberations on how the regional air quality board rates the new engine, which CWI has said it will begin manufacturing in April.

Separately, American Power Group (APG) said it has received additional U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approvals of dual-fuel natural gas-diesel conversions of heavy-duty Cummins ISX diesel engines. Thirteen more trucks were issued variants by EPA, APG said.

The new approvals cover APG's V5000 dual-fuel turbocharged system and are the company's fourth OKs for engines with SCR/selective catalytic reduction. APG's CEO Lyle Jensen indicated that for the 450- to 600-horsepower Class 8 heavy-duty truck market there is no straight NGV option.

"The U.S. heavy-haul trucking market does not have a viable NGV option," Jensen said.

At the CEC on Wednesday, the five-member commission approved nearly $10 million in funding to help the state's push for clean energy and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including $2 million to San Diego Community College District to provide training in clean fuels, advanced vehicle technologies and to purchase specialized equipment.

On the fueling network front, new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations were opened and planned in Florida and New York, respectively, and ANGI Energy announced several new stations it plans to open during the final quarter of the year.

In Jacksonville, FL, ampCNG opened its second public-access CNG fueling station in the city port at GATE station along Interstate-295 on a 24/7 basis. As a major shipping container port, the location is ideal for CNG fueling, according to ampCNG officials.

"In a heavy traffic area, more trucks and fleets now can convert to CNG," an ampCNG spokesperson said. The station uses a fast-fill hydraulic intensifier compressor that allows three Class 8 trucks to fuel simultaneously at the rate of 10 diesel gas equivalents/minute.

In Rochester, NY, American Natural Gas (ANG) said it plans to develop a CNG public-access fueling station near the Rochester International Airport. Construction will begin in November with an opening planned for April.

ANG plans to own, operate and maintain the new facility, which will be designed for cold weather reliability, using 400 hp Cobey Energy compressors and a Xebec dryer.

Even with today's volatility and uncertainty in crude oil prices, ANGI Energy sees the push to expand the CNG fueling infrastructure expanding rapidly, citing retail fuel providers it is working with as an example of this continued growth.

OnCue Express, for example, operates a chain of 50 convenience stores and truck stops throughout Oklahoma, and it has make a major long-term commitment to CNG, adding to its 18 current natural gas fueling locations with plans for providing CNG at stores in and around Oklahoma City.

And on the East Coast, Sunoco commissioned ANGI equipment and successfully reopened its "APlus" fueling station and convenience store at the Pittsburgh International Airport. In addition, Sunoco has added CNG fueling at an existing New Stanton Travel Plaza in Pennsylvania, and installed a third CNG station in Canonsburg, PA.

In Albuquerque, New Flyer of America has received an order for up to 83 of its 40-foot Xcelsior NGV buses for the city's ABQ Ride service. Valued potentially up to $44 million, the contract includes a firm order for 20 new CNG XN409 vehicles, with options for an additional 63.

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