Several of the largest fueling equipment suppliers in the natural gas vehicle (NGV) industry marked milestones this month, underscoring the fact that natural gas as a transportation fuel is still in its infancy.
Chicago-based ampCNG said it has bought the interest of Trillium CNG in 17 joint venture fueling stations the companies have developed in multiple states. Earlier this year Oklahoma City-based Love’s Travel Stops said it planned to purchase Chicago-based Trillium, adding 37 public-access CNG locations (see Daily GPI, Feb. 10).
Amp will now have full ownership of 19 stations in eight states (Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee), with plans to add five to 10 stations this year in some of those same states, plus Illinois and California.
Amp CEO Grant Zimmerman talked about a commitment to expanding CNG infrastructure throughout the nation in a report last Thursday in Fleets & Fuels newsletter. He said ampCNG has been able to grow through its collaboration in recent years with Trillium, which was acquired by WEC Energy as part of its purchase last year of Chicago-based gas utility holding company Integrys Energy -- which it, in turn, put up for sale last fall (see Daily GPI, Sept. 29, 2015).
Historically, Love’s has provided fueling services for heavy- and light-duty fleets. Love’s plans to add Trillium’s client base, which includes transit authorities, school districts, airport fleets, as well as the motoring public. Love’s existing customers will have the option to fill with CNG at any of the Trillium locations.
Another major fueling provider, New York-based TruStar Energy, took a step forward when it was named the developer of a dozen new CNG fueling stations for United Parcel Services' (UPS) latest expansion of its CNG use (see Daily GPI, March 17). Last year, TruStar built 15 stations for UPS.
TruStar said the 12 new stations in four Texas cities (Amarillo, El Paso, Fort Worth and San Antonio) and eight other states from Nevada to South Carolina will include Agility and Quantum fueling systems.
California-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide hit a speed bump financially, reporting missing a $2.7 million principal payment on a credit facility. The default is tied to senior secured convertible notes issued on Sept. 15, 2013 and June 29, 2015 with an aggregate principal balance of $12.5 million.
There has been no interruption of product deliveries from Quantum, which helped pioneer the development of Type IV composite fueling tanks now widely used in the NGV sector. In fact, in February, Quantum secured an $8.4 million purchase order from Xpress Natural Gas LLC for delivery of 15 virtual pipeline trailers used for bulk delivery of CNG to customers remote from existing natural gas pipeline service.
The deal includes a $13 million option for additional upgrades and CNG delivery trailers.
Another fueling supplier, Momentum Fuel Technologies, has introduced a new 150-diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) back-of-cab CNG cylinder fueling assembly for its array of Class 6 to 8 trucks. The new array includes what Momentum calls a range-boosting pressure regulator, allowing the system to operate from 3,600 psi down to a minimum of 230 psi.
The new 150-DGE system mounts between factory cab extenders using neck-mounted cylinders for enhanced durability, according to Momentum. It also is equipped with enhanced pressure relief capability to allow for quick evacuation of the CNG in the case of an emergency.
The pressure regulator, which comes standard on all of the company's CNG assemblies, is designed to allow drivers to go farther on a tank of fuel, according to Momentum General Manager Mike Zimmerman.
Sacramento, CA-based Matheson Trucking Co. said it has added 25 CNG and 12 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractor trucks to its fleet, which transports mail for the U.S. Postal System. It is introducing 12 LNG Kenworth T880 day cab tractor trucks in Oakland, CA and deployed an added 17 CNG Kenworth vehicles in Boise, ID. The remaining eight CNG tractor trucks will be used on its Los Angeles-Seattle route.
With plans for continuing to add NGVs to its tractor truck fleet, Matheson has partnered with a collaboration that includes Kenworth trucks, Agility Fuel Systems, and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. as the station and fuel provider. The added CNG and LNG trucks will decrease Matheson's annual diesel consumption by 718,468 gallons, company officials told Fleets & Fuels.
Meanwhile, the Long Beach (CA) Transit District has ordered 40 Xcelsior CNG buses in a $22 million deal with the possibility of adding 89 more during the next five years. The firm order for the first 40 involve New Flyer XN40 vehicles. Long Beach operated 60-foot-long articulated New Flyer buses.
Operating 249 vehicles in parts of Los Angeles and Orange County, the Long Beach transit system opened its own CNG fueling equipment by ANGI Energy four years ago.