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Clean Energy Fuels Signs Multi-Year Deal in Nation's Capital

Newport Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. recently landed a multi-year contract with the Washington (DC) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

Clean Energy's contract covers two transit fueling stations supplying more than 580 compressed natural gas (CNG) transit vehicles that consume about 6 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) annually.

This was one of six transit agreements throughout the nation that Clean Energy touted recently as part of what it describes as a growing NGV fueling portfolio. The deals are in Ohio, Tennessee and British Columbia, in addition to two in Southern California.

Several of the new agreements are for expansion of existing NGV fueling that Clean Energy originally designed and has maintains. In British Columbia, Clean Energy is expanding its Nanaimo Transit Center, which it built in 2013, to accommodate 50 CNG transit buses.

In Nashville, TN, and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Clean Energy is wrapping up deals to provide 1.15 million GGEs of CNG annually to fuel offsite parking buses, service vehicles and shuttle buses at the two airports. The bulk of the CNG will go to the LAX offsite parking buses, or more than 800,000 GGE annually.

In California, Clean Energy officials noted that two major climate change bills passed the state legislature at the end of August (SB 32 and AB 197), requiring California to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) levels to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Gov. Jerry Brown has said he intends to sign both bills.

"The passage of these two bills is a testament to the commitment shown by California to sustain its efforts to reduce GHG emissions," said Clean Energy CEO Andrew Littlefair. "The use of natural gas transportation fuel by medium and large-size vehicle fleets can play a significant role in helping to achieve the goals laid out in these bills."

Biomethane, or renewable natural gas (RNG), is the end-product for Kore Infrastructure, which is working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) to develop a $25.5 million full-scale modular biomethane production facility in Rialto, CA, in the Inland Empire about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Kore is pledging $23 million while the SCAQMD is chipping in $1 million, and the BP Arco Settlement Projects Fund is giving another $1.5 million. Kore's proprietary process for the plan has been developed and demonstrated during the past six years at a local wastewater treatment plant.

"The proposed facility will use a fully integrated system to process biosolids into RNG, utilizing biosolids from local wastewater agencies and converting the energy into RNG that can be used locally as transportation fuel in the next generation NGV engines that are certified to achieve 90% lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than existing 2010 heavy duty engine exhaust emission standards," a SCAQMD spokesperson said.

Kore has patented a five-stage process, including material handling, drying, pyrolysis, pyrolysis gas conversation to RNG, and compression.

SCAQMD and partner agencies already are backing the placement of transit and refuse vehicles with Cummins Westport ISL G near-zero (NZ) emission engines.

Separately, Peterbilt Motors announced that Cummins Westport ISL G NZ low-NOx emissions NGV engines will be made available on its Paccar unit's Model 567, 520 and 320 trucks. That will begin with the Model 520s and 320s by year-end this year.

Peterbilt initially talked about the move earlier in August with its ISL G NZ plans for the refuse truck market, and now that is expanding.

Peterbilt officials call the ISL G NZ engine "an excellent choice" for the company's customers. Its performance and efficiency match the current ISL G, according to Peterbilt with 320 horsepower and 1,000 pounds of torque available. "Horsepower with linehaul, vocational and refuse applications will  benefit from the efficient option," company officials said.

A unit of Westport, West Fuel Systems said in August that it plans to commercialize it so-called HPDI 2.0 high pressure direct-injection technology as a fuel system package for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in Europe and/or China by the summer of next year.

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