North American efforts to use more natural gas for transportation got a boost Tuesday on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border with announcements of separate joint venture projects.

In Canada, Ferus Natural Gas Fuels and ENN Canada Corp. said they were partnering to build, own and operate two liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction plants in Canada to supply the transportation sector. The LNG production plants are slated for Vancouver, BC, and Edmonton, Alberta.

Separately, in Salt Lake City, AGA Systems LLC and Nat G CNG Solutions said they are jointly developing a bifuel compressed natural gas (CNG) system for two crossover General Motors (GM) models, the GMC Terrain and the Chevrolet Equinox. They are working with a major Houston-based fleet operator, Silver Eagle Distributing LP, a major beer distributor.

Both efforts are being promoted as market building for the development of more natural gas vehicles (NGV) and the expansion of natural gas use in other transportation sectors, such as rail and marine transport where LNG is being looked at as an alternative to diesel and gasoline. The new joint ventures have implications for NGV development throughout North America.

Ferus specializes in building and operating cryogenic and micro-LNG production plants and distribution equipment, and it recently joined with units of General Electric (GE) and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. in the United States to create Eagle LNG Partners to build out U.S. LNG infrastructure (see Daily GPI,Sept. 20). ENN is developing LNG refueling infrastructure throughout Canada.

Both the facilities will be built to produce 100,000 U.S. gallons/d of LNG with the ability to expand as demand grows, the companies said. Sites will be selected by the second quarter, and LNG production is expected to start early in 2016. As the operator, Ferus will handle the design, engineering, construction, operation, and marketing/sales at both facilities, and ENN has committed to buy a significant amount of each facility's output.

"These projects will help build the market for clean-burning natural gas as a transportation fuel," said Ken Hughes, the energy minister for Alberta. "It is another step on the road to finding new uses and new markets for out abundant natural gas resources here and in British Columbia."

In the U.S. bifuel development, AGA Systems is a leader in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified GM bifuel CNG conversion products, and Nat G CNG, with locations in Texas and Louisiana, is a turnkey provider of CNG fueling for fleets.

The bifuel CNG system is applicable to new and in-service 2013 and 2014 model GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox crossover vehicles, permitting driving ranges of up to 775 miles between fuelings in the passenger versions and 837 miles for cargo versions. The new system is rated at 31 mpg on the highway using CNG.

Silver Eagle Senior Vice President Ed Pritchard said his regional Anheuser-Busch and Modelo Mexican beer distributorship sought out Ferus and Nat G CNG when it decided to focus on CNG for its 1,300 vehicle fleet of the crossover vehicles by GM.