Altoona, IA, will be home to the state's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stop for long-haul trucks and other vehicles operating on LNG, following recent approval of a site plan by city officials.

The Pilot Flying J Travel Plaza long-haul trucking stop in Altoona, located on I-80, is part of the 150-station network announced last year as the start of "America's Natural Gas Highway." Seal Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and Pilot Flying J are developing the network (see Daily GPI, Aug. 25, 2011).

The Altoona facilities will be linked to two other LNG fueling stations, the closest being 250 miles away in LaCrosse, WI, and a second farther away in Ohio. Eventually, they will all be part of a network that natural gas transportation fuel supplier and station builder/operator Clean Energy is touting.

Clean Energy communications director Bruce Russell told local news media in Iowa earlier this month that the natural gas fueling network eventually will create a long-haul trucking network using LNG "coast to coast, and border to border."

In Altoona, compressed natural gas (CNG) may also eventually be made available at the natural gas vehicle fueling site. Initially, however, LNG fueling will be the focus.

The Iowa installation is part of Clean Energy's previously announced $225 million commitment to build about 150 principally LNG stations this year and next. "Between 60-70% of the stations will be built on Pilot Flying J properties," Russell said.

Currently there are about 30 public LNG and 500 public CNG fueling stations in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Many long-haul truck manufacturers -- Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, Volvo and others -- are making LNG engines smaller than 10 liters, and in the next two years they are expected to release new models with 12-, 13- and 15-liter natural gas engines.

Local news media quoted Iowa state officials as saying that LNG increasingly is being looked at in the transportation and trucking sector.

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