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California Port City Runs on Renewable NatGas Muni Vehicles

Soon to host an annual national alternative transportation fuels meeting, the City of Long Beach, CA is expanding its use of renewable fuels -- liquefied natural gas (LNG) and diesel -- for powering 393 of its 2,185-vehicle municipal fleet.

The city is getting renewable natural gas (RNG) from Applied LNG, and the clean diesel from locally based Merrimac Energy, which buys it from Neste Oil's Singapore refinery.

Renewable LNG is being used by the city's street sweepers, which have been fueling with LNG since 2003. It was the first city in the nation to do so. It became bio-based LNG last October, city officials said.

They said the switch to RNG is expected to save Long Beach approximately $276,000 annually on its usage of more than 826,000 gallons of LNG each year. Savings come from the application of California's low carbon fuel standard credits.

Following the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo early next month (May 2-5), Long Beach will be the starting point for a two-week cross-country compressed natural gas (CNG) rally, "CNG from Sea to Shining Sea," that kicks off May 30. The road show to promote CNG will end in Washington, DC, June 10.

Sponsors include Washington, DC-based NGVAmerica, the American Public Gas Association, Midwest Energy Solutions, and municipal utilities in Tennessee. They are still seeking more sponsors for the 3,144-mile event.

In a promotion package, Midwest Energy Solutions said the aim of the rally is "to inform and educate the American public on the benefits of natural gas vehicles [NGV] and the NGV refueling infrastructure."

The newest link in that fueling infrastructure opened earlier this month in the Permian Basin in Texas where Freedom CNG opened a new facility immediately off Interstate Highway 20. It is designed to fuel truckers going west to El Paso or east to Dallas, according to Freedom officials.

This new station's fill rate of 12 gallons/minute "far exceeds" other CNG fueling stations in the market, a company spokesperson said. ANGI Energy Systems fueling equipment is deployed at the new public access station, which is located east of Midland Airport, between Midland and Odessa, TX.

As the operator of three CNG fueling stations in Houston, Freedom officials emphasized that up to eight CNG trucks can fill up simultaneously at the new station in as little as eight minutes. "This compares to typical fueling that takes more than 30 minutes," said Bill Winters, president of Freedom CNG.

"That's a big difference to a trucker who is trying to maximize the number of loads he can haul each day," Winters told Fleets & Fuels newsletter, noting the new station has more than an acre of turning space, making it accessible to the largest trucks.

Meanwhile, in Riverside County, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has opened a new CNG fueling station in Murrieta, the Sempra Energy utility's 15th NGV public access facility. The 24/7 fueling facility is located on the utility's operating base near the intersection of two interstate highways (I-15 and I-215) that are part of the corridor between Las Vegas, NV, and San Diego.

A SoCalGas spokesperson said the Murrieta station will service all NGVs, but it is particularly aimed at trucks and commercial vehicles using the interstate highway corridor. With four dispensing hoses for CNG, the new station is designed with a wider turning radius and ample space to allow for safe, efficient fueling for multiple vehicles.

"Fuel availability is a key requirement for any NGV fleet operator, and [we] have worked to ensure that Southern California has one of the best CNG refueling networks in the United States," said Mike Schneider, a SoCalGas vice president for customer service/solutions.

Separately, NGV fueling system developer Landi Renzo USA said last Wednesday it has secured certification from the California Air Resources Board for its NGV version of the Ford 6.8-liter engine for model year 2016. The V10 engine powers several vehicles, including the F-650 and 750 series and F-53 and 59 chassis trucks.

Landi Renzo obtained the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certification for the same 6.8-liter engine last month. The global company developed the 6.8-liter, V10 heavy-duty CNG system.

In the NGV service sector, Pennsylvania-based sales/service provider Lesher Mack is promoting its repair and maintenance under its trademarked "NGV Easy Bay" system.* The company claims it is "winning new business and gaining customer praise" with a commitment focused on safety.

*Correction: At the end of a report on natural gas vehicle (NGV) developments on Tuesday, "California Port City Runs on Renewable NatGas Muni Vehicles" (Daily GPI, April 19), NGI attributed the repair and maintenance "NGV Easy Bay" system to the wrong company. Easy Bay is a trademarked system developed by Newport Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which installs it for facilities operators wishing to modify their operations to accommodate natural gas. NGI regrets the error.

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