As natural gas moves into various segments of the transportation sector, there is CNG, LNG and now DNG — diesel natural gas. A unit of Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy said Thursday it is offering a conversion kit to allow diesel-powered vehicles to run on DNG.

The conversion kits are expected to be available commercially in the first quarter. Peake Fuel Solutions LLC is touting the equipment as a means for heavy-duty truck operators, many of which run on diesel, to save up to 30% on their fuel bills with equipment it claims is the only DNG kit certified by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

Natural gas use in trucking has been taking off, with the advent of large 12- and 13-liter engines and the building out of the first stages of America’s “Natural Gas Highway,” and along with the infrastructure growth, some industry observers are predicting trucks could eventually be a 2 Tcf annual market for natural gas (see Daily GPI, Nov. 15).

Recently, Houston-based Apache Corp. signed a deal with retailer Stripes LLC to add compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling capacity on a pilot basis at two Stripes locations in Midland, TX. Apache CEO Steve Farris called natural gas “a smart alternative” to conventional fuels.

Based on the results in Midland, Stripes CEO Steve DeSutter said he expects to “gradually roll out” CNG fueling capability at other retail market locations.

In Oklahoma, Peake Fuel said DNG will allow trucks to run on a mixture of diesel and up to 70% natural gas, and when natural gas is unavailable, the trucks can run 100% on diesel. Peake’s Kent Wilkinson, vice president of natural gas ventures, said the DNG technology can help the industry slash fuel costs. “It will help accelerate the trucking industry’s shift to a more affordable domestic fuel.”

CNG and LNG fuel providers for transportation are gearing up for growth as evidenced recently by the expansion plans announced by two Southwest companies: Applied Natural Gas Fuels Inc. and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (see Daily GPI, Oct. 5).

The DNG conversion kit works economically with natural gas prices rising to the $4-6/Mcf range (roughly $2/diesel gallon equivalent for CNG and LNG). That would make the natural gas price about half of the diesel prices, according to Peake Fuel estimates.

Peake stressed that its fuel kit has EPA certification for a variety of engines and that certification makes it “the only dual-fuel natural gas retrofit certified by the EPA, allowing DNG to potentially modify a variety of engines from model years 2010-2012.

Earlier this year vehicle manufacturers began expanding lines of heavy-duty NGV products in response to demand (see Daily GPI, April 2). Clean Energy listed major for-hire trucking fleet operators among those switching to natural gas, including Premier Transportation, Dillon Transportation LLC, C.R. England, Ryder Dedicated Logistics, Werner Enterprises and others.

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