The market for renewable natural gas (RNG) as a transportation fuel is growing, with new interest in Southern California and Scandinavia.

In California, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is investing $7.81 million in RNG, while in Norway, transit and marine transportation providers are looking at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) version of RNG.

Houston-based Element Markets Renewable Energy signed a three-year contract with OCTA to supply biomethane and related consulting services with two two-year options to extend an agreement to fuel 539 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. In addition to providing the fuel, Element would manage OCTA’s federal and California low carbon fuel standard credits. The OCTA plans to use the natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel at its four existing stations.

Meanwhile, Finland-based Wartsila’s technology to liquefy small methane-based gas streams and is being used to create biogas from paper mill and fishery operations. The technology is to be applied at an installation by Biokraft Norway at the Norske Skog Skogn paper mill near Trondheim, Norway.

A marine natural gas fueling provider, Wartsila expects strong demand in the land-based transportation market for liquefied biogas fuel. AGA Linde is expected to use the fuel for its buses and marine vessels in Norway, and Wartsila also has a deal with Puregas to apply its CApure technology to convert raw biogas into biomethane.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) also has certified North American Repower’s dedicated-NGV, spark-ignition version of the 7.6-liter International DT 466 engine for Class 5-8 trucks and buses. The company offers a retrofit package, including the engine, CNG fuel tanks and fill panel fully installed in three days. The DT 466 conversion was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year for vehicles through model year 2004. Officials said there are more than 39,000 retrofits in California alone.

Making a dedicated CNG heavy duty engine available for retrofits gives fleet operators more options that are cleaner and more cost-effective, according to N.A. Repower’s John Reed, who cited better particulate matter reductions than newer diesels and a bigger reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The conversions carry a four-year, 200,000-mile warranty.

In other news, Clean Energy Fuels Corp. said it is helping Waste Pro USA improve its CNG fueling capabilities by developing fueling facilities in Sanford and Sarasota, FL. In addition, Clean Energy is expanding a CNG station in Pompano, IL for Waste Pro.

Waste Pro made a commitment in 2012 to transform the majority of its fleet of refuse collection trucks from diesel to CNG. Waste Pro is buying mostly large, 12-liter Cummins Westport CNG engines, and a few smaller 8.9-liter engines from Mack, according to company officials. It also is investing in slow-fill private/public CNG stations when they are positioned around the refuse fleet operator’s area of operations, which are in nine southeastern states.

WI-based U.S. GAIN Clean Fuel opened a CNG fueling station in Dothan, AL, partnering with Corridor Clean Fuels (CCF). Dothan is a transportation hub for the southeastern corner of Alabama and a main corridor for carriers in southwest Georgia and Florida. The station is expected to service local, regional and long-haul truckers.

A division of U.S. Venture Inc., GAIN and CCF have co-branded the new CNG fueling facility. “Industry partners are playing a vital role in facilitating the growth of the CNG market in America,” said CCF CEO Randy Spence.

Fresh from a big score to develop a dozen stations for UPS’s $100 million build out of its CNG use, TruStar Energy President Adam Comora told the Fleets & Fuels newsletter that expanding the CNG fueling infrastructure is “a vital part of making cleaner alternative fuels available for leading companies, such as UPS” (see Daily GPI, March 17).

The NGV Institute also has a 90-minute safety webinar workshop for heavy-duty fleet operators, “The Essentials of CNG Fuel System Inspections,” at 10:30 a.m. PDT on April 13. Early registration is available through Thursday.