Clean Energy Fuels Corp.'s BAF Technologies Inc. unit expanded its compressed natural gas (CNG) product line to include Ford vehicles equipped with the BAF proprietary bi-fuel CNG systems. The new line is to be available this May, including bi-fuel Ford E-250/350 vans and F-250/350 trucks. BAF also announced that it was the first CNG vehicle upfitter in the nation to be named a Ford-qualified vehicle modifier for gaseous fuels. The pickup trucks will be available in both 10 and 20 gasoline gallon-equivalent natural gas fueling packages.

Xcel Energy's Minnesota-based utility could be buying more natural gas- and coal-fired generation in the spring after announcing Monday that its 600 MW Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant in Monticello, MN, went offline over the weekend to begin a scheduled refueling outage that is projected to last more than two months. The utility estimated it will take about nine weeks to complete maintenance work, preparing the unit for its next 24-month operating cycle by replacing fuel assemblies in the reactor among other expansions. During the outage, Xcel will purchase power from other utilities or increase its own electricity production at other generating plants, a utility spokesperson said. Equipment also will be installed during the outage that is designed to increase Monticello's capacity by 71 MW, a move approved two years ago by Minnesota state regulators, and the plant will be connected to two new high-voltage transmission lines as part of the utility's transmission expansion between Monticello and Fargo, ND.

ROUSH CleanTech's propane-based transportation fuel system has been granted certification for use in Ford E-series passenger and cargo vans by the California Air Resource Board (CARB). The CARB certification is what ROUSH President Joe Thompson called the "final nod of approval" that his firm needs to "launch a full line of clean-burning propane autogas-powered passenger and cargo vans" to fleet managers in California and a dozen other states where the CARB standards are being used. With the certification for ROUSH, the Prime Time Shuttle vans operating at Los Angeles International Airport will be able to meet the state's new, tougher standards. Propane autogas burns cleaner than either gasoline or diesel with up to 20% less nitrogen oxide, 60% less carbon monoxide and 24% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, ROUSH said. There are cost savings, too, due in part to a 50-cent/gallon tax credit available through this year.

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