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Fill ’er Up with LNG, CNG as Options Continue to Expand

As alternative fueling options expand to oil and diesel, both for consumers and in industrial applications, Beaumont, TX-based Stabilis Energy is hardening its footprint in the Permian Basin of West Texas by opening a 40,000 gallon liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel depot in Odessa that is to provide 24/7 service for the area.

The West Texas LNG Fuel Depot is another step by the privately held company to fulfill its growth ambitions after it acquired a majority interest in Prometheus Energy, which gave it control of a 20,000 gallon/day LNG production facility in Lisbon, UT, part of some swapping between the two companies.

"In addition to installing the fuel depot, Stabilis continues to evaluate LNG production opportunities in West Texas,” said CEO Jim Reddinger.

Stabilis offers turnkey fuel solutions to industrial users of diesel and other crude-based fuel products to convert to LNG. In early 2015 it opened a 120,000 gallon/day production facility in George West, which is in South Texas.

Meanwhile, Portland, OR’s Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant has broadened its use of captured biomethane gas to produce electricity and compressed natural gas (CNG) for transportation with a refueling station at the urban-based city wastewater facility.

The plant processes 38 billion gallons/year of wastewater. For many years it used only part of its captured methane gas for power generation; now most of the remaining methane capture goes to produce CNG for use in natural gas vehicles (NGV).

Called "Poop to Power," the program for fueling NGVs is expected to be fully operational in 2019, replacing more than one million gallons of diesel fuel now used in the city fleet with renewable natural gas (RNG), or biomethane. Local gas utility NW Natural has worked with city environmental services and planning units to develop the program.

In Pennsylvania, another CNG fueling station is planned in Shippenville in Clarion County, through a $178,785 grant from the state’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) to promote the use of more NGV tractor-trailers for the main transportation corridor of Interstate 80. When operable, the new station is expected to displace more than 116,000 gallons of diesel annually.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provides the grants to eliminate the long-standing "chicken-egg" problem of fleet operators needing a network of fueling stations before they can convert vehicles to run on alternative fuels, such as CNG.

"With this project we are helping solve that problem," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

In other news, automaker Volvo has an NGV option available in its low-entry cab, urban-focused trucks with FE cab and chassis combinations. The manufacturer is touting the gas-fueled versions as "a suitable choice for demanding urban transports tailored to operator's specific needs."

In refuse, city distribution and inner-city construction applications, Volvo said the FE would provide productivity advantages for fleet operators as they offer low emissions and can run on biogas. The various powertrain options "fit every requirement for performance," the company noted.

In Jacksonville, FL, an 18.5-mile rapid transit bus corridor, the East Corridor or Red Line, is being created by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority using CNG buses obtained through a $16.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration . It plans to put 19 CNG buses in service when the corridor opens later this year.

With support also from the Florida Department of Transportation, the $33.9 million East Corridor project and its First Coast Flyer system would offer fewer stops and more buses.

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