While liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been a bit of a road hog lately, the advancements for compressed natural gas (CNG) keep coming too, albeit a little more quietly.
Refuse hauler Waste Management Inc. (WM) in mid-April opened a CNG fueling station at the Altamont Landfill in Livermore, CA, turning LNG it derives from the landfill into CNG. It is described as a bioLNG-to-CNG process.
Opened in 2009, the Altamont LNG plant is a joint venture between WM and Linde, rated for 13,000 gallon/d of production, but Waste Management has determined it prefers CNG for its refuse/recycling operations: garbage collection trucks and transfer vehicles.
WM trucks bring their loads to the Altamont landfill and then refuel there. Transfer trucks refuel with “trash gas,” or biomethane, while the refuse haulers can refuel with CNG. “It’s not exactly the ‘Back to the Future’ scenario, but close,” said Ken Lewis, WM area director of disposal operations. “It is just a beautiful thing. For [us] to take this step is huge.”
More recently, ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance told a Columbia University symposium in New York City that U.S. natural gas supplanting diesel and gasoline is the “next logical step” for surplus U.S. supplies. “It’s coming; it’s a natural progression.” Although he acknowledged the “chicken-egg situation,” noting he did not know what would come first: “more trucks that can be fueled with CNG or LNG, or more fueling stations.”
On the fueling end, Houston-based Nat G CNG Solutions introduced a new skid-mounted modular CNG fueling equipment design that it proposes to lease for $1,200/month, or 19 cents/gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGE).
The new Nat G 500 Series system can produce 550 GGEs of CNG daily, or enough to meet the needs of a 50-vehicle fleet.
Another unit of Nat G does conversions, and it claims to have done the first Navistar DT 444 school bus conversion, the first Dodge Ram for NatGasCar, and the first Cummins ISX dual-fuel conversion. A competitor in North Carolina, Altech-Eco, in mid-April said it was lowering its prices on Ford Transit Connect conversions by about $1,500. Altech-Eco provides both dedicated-CNG and CNG-gasoline bi-fuel conversions.
“We are reducing the price of our CNG systems to help stimulate the market and attract new customers that may not be able to afford CNG systems with current prices on the market, and we will continue to make cost reductions until it is affordable for everyone,” said Altech-Eco Vice President Miles George.
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