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Xpress Natural Gas Gets Off-Pipeline CNG Moving in Washington State

A five-year-old Boston-based firm dedicated to taking compressed natural gas (CNG) to large customers beyond the traditional pipeline grid, Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) has opened a CNG supply facility southwest of Seattle within easy reach of the state capital at Olympia and Interstate Highway 5.

With a $6 million investment in equipment for its expansion from New England into the remote Olympia Peninsula region in the Pacific Northwest, XNG has a connection with the Williams Northwest Pipeline interstate natural gas transmission system, from which it fills portable tubes for trucking CNG to customers on its custom trailers. Its anchor customer is energy-intensive the Port Townsend Paper Corp. paper/pulp mill that switched from oil to natural gas (see Daily GPIJune 23).

XNG is using Safe North America compression equipment that has been packaged by Broadwind Energy at the Washington state facility, which XNG officials have said has received a lot of support from the Satsop Business Park in Grays Harbor County.

The relatively fledgling natural gas vehicle (NGV) sector in Washington state longer term should get quite a boost from the XNG facilities. "Each of our fuel trailers acts like a [mobile] CNG fueling station in the sense that we have fully buffered tanks, and all of the systems with our partners to dispense for fleet applications are straight from our trailers," said Matt Smith, XNG executive vice president for sales and marketing.

"What that means for Washington is that we can set up fleet fueling anywhere -- not just on a pipeline -- and often at a delivered cost less than a traditional CNG station that has to tap a pipeline and pay utility tariff rates."

Smith cited the potential for XNG to establish fleet CNG fueling in the Port of Tacoma where traditional pipelines can't be extended for seismic reasons. "We can put CNG fueling in locations across the state, particularly in more remote southern and eastern areas of Washington state."

With operations now in the U.S. northeast and northwest regions, XNG is touting is operations as the largest fleet of high-capacity, all-composite CNG trailers in North America (see Daily GPISept. 8, 2015).

More virtual natural gas pipeline work was in play in a Vermont-based cheese-making cooperative with nearly 100 years of business experience but no chance to tap pipeline-delivered gas when it wanted to move away from an antiquated fuel oil energy system.

Newport Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels and the Vermont-based virtual pipeline company NG Advantage worked together to put the Cabot Cheese Cooperative into the 21st Century. Cabot now has non-stop CNG delivery services, allowing it to produce cheeses for 1,200 dairy farm families throughout New York and New England supported by the cooperative.

"In addition to the savings over burning traditional fuel oil, Cabot is able to show their 30,000-50,000 visitors each year a state-of-the-art industrial fueling systems, which has provided a compelling story for Cabot's leadership in telling their sustainability story," a Clean Energy Fuels spokesperson said.

Cabot's plant services manager Jim Tringe said steam demand varies minute-to-minute in their cheese processing operations, and "the burners respond more quickly when using natural gas fuel."

Meanwhile, the transit bus sector isn't the only one looking forward to near-zero (NZ) emission vehicles with the new Cummins Westport ISL G engine as the refuse hauling sector is lining up orders for the low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) NGV engines.

Although first introduced a year ago, a lack of engineering details on the ISL G NZ engine has until recently kept refuse truck manufacturers from quoting the advantages of NZ-powered vehicles to their customers. That's all changing, according to a recent report in Fleets & Fuels newsletter.

Sean Wine, an executive with Clean Energy Fuels, which markets renewable natural gas under the brand name Redeem for NZ-powered engines, said the NZ engines will be offered to the refuse hauling sector, "it is just a matter of when."

Peterbilt has announced as of last Tuesday that it will introduce the ISL G NZ engine to its refuse truck product line later this year, including the Peterbilt 520 and 320 trucks by year-end and on Model 567 trucks early next year.

Fuel tanker maker Hexagon Lincoln introduced what its officials describe as "the next generation [fueling] cylinders for next generation vehicles." It is the result of years of testing with parts of Daimler Mercedes Benz organization.

As a result, Hexagon is supplying its all-composite Type IV cylinders for a new hydrogen-fueled Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell vehicle, with one fueling cylinder positioned in the transmission tunnel and the other placed under the rear seats.

In another alternative fuel area, American Power Group (APG) is testing a dual fuel NGV-diesel technology aimed at 13- to 15-liter engines with Transport Somavrac in Quebec, Canada. Separately, APG said that its revenue from domestic dual fuel products grew by nearly 400% for its third fiscal quarter ended June 30.

There is a focus on use of the technology in both Canada and Mexico.

Recent Articles by Richard Nemec

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