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Viva Mexico! CNG Expands South of Border

A Southern California natural gas vehicle conversion firm has agreed to produce a 600 kW gas-fired generation set for a compressed natural gas (CNG) station serving buses and taxis northwest of Mexico City. The CNG station needs uninterrupted electricity to run its CNG compressors.

Vista, CA-based Omnitek Engineering Corp. said at the end of last month it is building a 12-cylinder natural gas power generation set to operate the NatGas Bernardo Quintana CNG fueling station in Queretaro, Mexico. It should have a capacity to serve 200 buses and up to 1,000 taxis daily, the company said.

While not revealing the terms of the deal, Omnitek said the CNG station needs the cost benefits of the onsite gas-fired generation to provide the uninterrupted power necessary for fueling vehicles.

Omnitek is touting its natural gas engine technology for a variety of applications, including a micro-grid project in the Northeast United States, a biogas fuel generation unit in Northern California, and two natural gas locomotive engines for the Czech Republic Railway system in a pilot program between two Czech cities.

The Mexico CNG station is NatGas' largest one to date, according to CEO Josue Hernandez. The firm is building a network of stations south of the border. Omnitek CEO Werner Funk said the application in Mexico will "further expand the application of our natural gas technology" as a complement to the company's primary focus on fleet vehicle conversions.

On the U.S. side of the international border, Ryder System Inc. has scheduled an official opening Wednesday (March 11) for its natural gas vehicle (NGV) maintenance facility in Santa Fe Springs, CA, as a center engineered to meet NGV compliance standards. It will provide maintenance services for commercial transportation customers leasing and renting fleets from Ryder.

The facility also will provide rental service for businesses needing heavy-duty equipment on a short-term basis, a spokesperson for Ryder said. The company is deploying NGVs with fleet customers in eight states (Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Texas and Utah) and said recently it will train all of its North American maintenance personnel in handling NGVs (see Daily GPIFeb. 20).

Meanwhile, in Elkhart, IN, Green Alternative Systems (GAS) said it is using a Luxfer G-Stor Pro Type III CNG fuel cylinder in its conversion of Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. trucks. These are package delivery trucks, the type used by United Parcel Service (UPS).

Approximately 200 of these delivery trucks went into service last year, and there are more conversions coming this year, according to Luxfer. GAS General Manager Mark Matijevich told the Fleets & Fuels newsletter the primary reason for using the Type III Luxfer tanks is their reduced weight. They are 16% lighter than other cylinders available, he said.

In Pennsylvania and Louisiana different types of CNG fueling were expanding. Pennsylvania-based O Ring CNG has built 20 stations and provided CNG fuel to 75 different fleets, but it is rebranding itself in conjunction with Gain Clean Fuel's outlets, making the combination facilities O Ring CNG/Gain Clean Fuel stations, expanding the merged CNG station network in the state.

The location of O Ring stations and Gain's fueling agreements with Northeast carriers makes the partnership a strategic fit, according to the companies.

In Louisiana, St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District is expanding an existing landfill gas-based CNG fueling station in Washington, LA, adding a second facility at the waste district's recycling center in Opelousas, LA. The added facility will allow for the deployment of a dozen CNG refuse trucks in the area by Progressive Waste Solutions. The waste district's partner in the existing and expanded systems is BioCNG.

BioCNG is upgrading the existing facility north of Lafayette, LA, and adding the "sister" station in Opelousas.

In the growing CNG bus sector, Long Island, NY's Nassau Inter-County Express is ordering up to 110 new 44-foot Flyer Xcelsior CNG buses. The contract is estimated at $53 million, according to Flyer. And a major manufacturer of CNG and propane school buses, Blue Bird Bus, was taken public in February by Hennessy Capital Acquisition as part of its acquiring Blue Bird's parent organization, School Bus Holdings Inc.

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