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Trucked CNG Extends Its Journey With New York Paper Plant

Compressed natural gas (CNG) hit the road again in New York state Thursday. Vermont-based NG Advantage LLC signed an 18-month contract extension with International Paper's Ticonderoga, NY, paper mill to continue fueling its operations with CNG (see Daily GPIApril 23).

NG Advantage, a majority owned unit of California-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp., provides a "virtual or mobile pipeline" of 24/7 tractor-trailer CNG truck deliveries to the paper plant. It is the "largest mobile pipeline project in the nation," according to NG Advantage officials.

The Clean Energy Fuels subsidiary (see Daily GPIOct. 16, 2014) delivers CNG to the mill using its “virtual pipeline,” consisting of compressor stations located on natural gas pipelines, a fleet of carbon fiber CNG trailers, and offloading/monitoring equipment at the mill.

Lacking natural gas pipeline service in its area, which is common in parts of the Northeast, International Paper was seeking to help underwrite a gas pipeline from Vermont, but the project fell through last year. That is when the paper company issued a request for proposals (RFP) for trucking  natural gas and NG Advantage was selected as the supplier.

"A mill as large as Ticonderoga requires a customized end-to-end energy supply chain," an NG Advantage spokesperson said. Deliveries began in May.

NG Advantage has been providing an average of 18 truckloads of CNG daily to the plant. Subsequently, International Paper issued another RFP for a long-term CNG trucking contract to keep natural gas in its fuel mix.

International Paper is one of seven  paper mills served by Colchester, VT-based NG Advantage among its current 26 contracts. Generally, the customers are seeking the environmental advantages of burning gas instead of fuel oil, the NG Advantage spokesperson said.

NG CEO Tom Evslin said the CNG helps International Paper meet both environmental and financial goals. "The service [to the paper plant] demonstrates that our trucked CNG platform has successfully been scaled to meet demand that formerly required pipeline extensions."

To serve the large paper mill, NG Advantage designed new hardware, revamped its procedures, and expanded its software capability, according to Evslin.

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