Thursday, August 21, 2014

August Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What fuel-specific information is available through the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s (AFDC) Station Locator website?
 
Answer: Most Clean Cities coordinators and stakeholders are familiar with the AFDC Station Locator website (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations/) and the general station information listed there, such as the address, phone number, hours of operation, payments accepted, and who can access the station. You may not be aware of the fuel-specific information available. Below is a complete list.
 
Biodiesel
  • Blends available: The blends of biodiesel available at the station, including whether different blends are available seasonally and whether customers may select customized blends. Note that the Station Locator only lists stations that carry blends of B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel) and higher.
 
E85
  • Mid-level blends: Whether or not the station carries mid-level blends (e.g., 30% ethanol blend, or E30) of ethanol via a blender pump or otherwise. Note that stations that carry mid-level blends, but not E85, are not included in the Station Locator.
 
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
  • Electric charging network: The relevant charging network, if applicable. Examples of charging networks include ChargePoint, Blink, and SemaConnect.
  • Port level and count: A list of the number of each level of EVSE charging equipment available. Levels include Level 1, Level 2, or DC Fast Charge.
  • Connector types: The type of connector available, including:
    • Level 1: NEMA 5-15, NEMA 5-20, NEMA 14-50, and J1772
    • Level 2: J1772
    • DC Fast Charge: CHAdeMO, SAE J1772 Combo, and Tesla
  • Legacy chargers: The number and type of legacy chargers available.
 
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) also collects information on the EVSE manufacturer, power sources, pricing, and whether the equipment provides wireless charging. This data will be available in the Station Locator in the future. NREL is also coordinating with EVSE networks to provide real-time status availability in the Station Locator.
 
Hydrogen
·         Station status: A website link for detailed information regarding the status of the station. 
 
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas
  • Fill type (CNG only): Whether the station has fast- or time-fill capabilities, or both.
  • Compression (CNG only): The compression pressure in pounds per square inch (psi). The compression can be 2400, 3000, or 3600 psi. 
  • Vehicle accessibility: The vehicle sizes that can physically access the fueling station.
 
NREL also collects information on the total compression and compressor types (CNG only), gas provider, and whether the station has a generator to operate equipment during a power outage. Some of this data will be available in the Station Locator in the future.
 
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane)
  • Services: The type of propane services available. Each propane station is designated as a "primary" or "secondary" service type. Both types are able to fuel vehicles, but locations with a "primary" designation offer fuel priced specifically for use in vehicles.
 
Using the AFDC Station Locator Data Download feature (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/data_download/), users can obtain a detailed spreadsheet with the above fuel-specific station information for stations currently in the database. We encourage you to stay tuned as NREL is working to add new fuel-specific data and search options to the Station Locator database in the near future.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

NEW Westport EPA & CARB Certified CNG Transit Van & Cutaway


Westport WiNG™ Power System

News Update

Westport Expands 2015 Vehicle Line-Up with All-New Transit Van and Cutaway

2015 Ford Transit Van
Westport is expanding its 2015 vehicle lineup with natural gas fueling options for companies who are adding the all-new Ford Transit Van and Cutaway to their fleet.
As Ford’s largest qualified vehicle modifier, Westport is offering the 2015 Ford Transit Van and Cutaway as a dedicated natural gas (CNG) Westport WiNG™ Power System vehicle. The Transit Cutaway will be offered at 10,000 GVW and below. Both versions of the Transit Van and Cutaway will be EPA and CARB certified.
Westport's Transit Van and Cutaway will be compliant with Clean Port Act emissions standards, ensuring that fleets and small businesses who service airports can take advantage of natural gas.
Used to transport passengers and cargo, the 2015 Ford Transit Van and Cutaway models offers a 3.7L gaseous prep engine. 
Visit www.westport.com for more information about our bi-fuel and dedicated CNG Ford vehicles, including our FREE CNG fuel card offer for qualifying Westport vehicles, until supplies last: www.westport.com/wing.
For media inquiries contact: media@westport.com
For sales inquiries contact: fordsales@westport.com

Copyright © 2014 Westport Innovations Inc., All rights reserved.

Westport mailing address:
Westport Innovations Inc.
101-1750 West 75th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6P 6G2
Canada


Monday, July 21, 2014

July Question of the Month

Question of the Month: During the winter of 2013-2014, propane shortages and price spikes were widely publicized by news media, and some fleets reported difficulty getting propane for their vehicles. What really happened and what steps can propane fleets take to protect themselves from similar issues in the future?
Answer: Several factors contributed to the recent winter supply constraints and increased propane prices, including record low temperatures around the country (the 2013-2014 winter was almost 30% colder than the previous winter), increased rain fall requiring additional propane supply for crop drying, pipeline outages (the Midwest Cochin pipeline shut down for three weeks in December 2013), Canadian supply constraints, and increased exports leading to reduced propane reserves. It is important to note, however, that while the demand for propane used to heat homes in colder months fluctuates, fleet demand for propane remains stable throughout the year. As a result, propane suppliers are generally willing to offer longer term fuel contracts to fleets at prices that do not vary during the winter. But fleet customers need to plan ahead and negotiate these agreements in advance. Don’t wait until the coldest day of the year to start asking questions. 
Fleets should develop and maintain a long-term fuel contract based on projected consumption with their local propane marketer or fueling station operator. These contracts can provide a reasonably steady price for propane year-round, regardless of temperature fluctuations and other issues. However, fleets that fuel their vehicles at retail locations where there is no contractual relationship can expect to pay the current market price, which may be equal to or higher than gasoline during peak use periods. As such, the propane price spikes reported in the winter of 2013-2014 primarily affected fleets and drivers without fuel contracts.
While some fleets with fuel contracts also faced supply limitations and price increases this winter, these incidences may have occurred as a result of other circumstances. For instance, some pricing contracts are set up to fluctuate based on a floating commodity price, or they might be indexed to automatically track gasoline or diesel prices. In addition, state fleets may be subject to certain fueling restrictions if the governor addresses energy supply issues through executive action. The prolonged severe weather this past winter resulted in several regions declaring official states of emergency. Similarly, fleets with bi-fuel vehicles, which provide the option to fuel with gasoline, may be subject to caveats during emergency periods that would not affect fleets with dedicated propane vehicles. To avoid unwanted disruptions in propane supply and price spikes, fleet administrators should closely review current and future fuel contracts and discuss various scenarios with their propane marketer to ensure that the contract terms match up with the fleet’s needs and expectations. 
Working with Propane Marketers
Local propane marketers are present in most communities across the United States and can provide expertise and assistance in building fueling stations and deploying vehicles. Additionally, many marketers offer attractive lease options for fuel storage tanks, pumps, and dispensing equipment in return for a multi-year fuel supply contract. The cost of this equipment can be paid back over time through a shared savings or performance contracting agreement, virtually eliminating up-front costs to the fleet operator.
The cost to purchase and install propane fueling infrastructure can be significant depending on the fleet’s choice of refueling options; however, fuel contracts can greatly reduce the financial burden. In most cases, the fleet is only responsible for the cost of infrastructure that cannot be removed from the site when the fuel contract is over, such as the electricity line or the concrete pad for the storage tank.
Current and Future Propane Supply
While the issues last winter raised concerns, it is important to note that the supply of propane in the United States is on the rise. Propane is a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. In recent years, as natural gas production levels in the United States have increased, so has the propane supply from these operations. Between 2007 and 2013, the percentage of the U.S. propane supply produced from North American resources increased from 76% to 92%. As such, propane is not subject to the same types of energy security risks as petroleum based fuels that depend on foreign oil supplies face.
For more information on propane production and distribution, pricing, supply, and infrastructure, you can visit the following websites:

Friday, July 18, 2014

CNG Expiring Tanks and Safety

The mission of the Utah Clean Cities Coalition is to advance the energy, economic and environmental security of the United States by supporting local decisions to adopt practices that reduce the use of petroleum in the transportation sector.

With the mission statement in mind, Utah Clean Cities strives to promote and educate the public and transportation sectors on petroleum reduction. Using alternative fuels for vehicles is excellent, but the coalition would like to further educate those with CNG vehicles.

Every CNG tank has a label that states “DO NOT USE AFTER (expiration date).” Owners of CNG vehicles must keep the expiration date in mind as it is their responsibility to have the cylinder replaced at the end of its life. If the tank is not replaced after its expiration date, there is a high risk of ruptures. CNG tanks’ pressure ranges from 3,000 to 3,600 psi. With such a high pressure, any damage is highly unsafe. 


There are several vehicles with CNG tanks that are expired. Below is a list of vehicles that have expired tanks and should be replaced.

Dodge
Dodge full-sized vans started as CNG in 1992 and mini-vans began in 1994. The production of these CNG vehicles was terminated in 1997 and 1998.
All Dodge vans that were factory equipped have tanks that have passed the expiration date.

Ford
Ford CNG passenger cars came to market in 1993 and continued through 2002. At this time, all Ford CNG Crown Victoria, Contour and pickup trucks that were factory equipped prior to 1999 have expired CNG cylinders.

Honda
All CNG Honda Civics manufactured in 1998 and early 1999 are also on the expired CNG tank list.

If your vehicle is listed above, you need to see a certified tank inspector immediately. Certified tank inspectors will be able to inspect your CNG tank and properly drill holes for end of life treatment. Certified tank inspectors will also be able to replace your expired CNG tank with a new one.

Below are certified tank inspectors Utah Clean Cities recommends:


To contact an inspector, click on their name.


Additionally, it is easy to forget about the basics and it is always important to remember safety. Click here for a quick video to refresh on safety precautions for manufacturing, installation, inspection, and end of life treatment for natural gas cylinders. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Third Annual Utah Governor's Energy Development Summit


The third annual Utah Governor's Energy Development Summit took place June 3 and 4 at Salt Lake City's Salt Palace Convention Center. With more than 1,200 guests in attendance and 100 booths for a networking trade show, the Summit was another success.



Throughout the Summit, breakout sessions allowed guests to hear from several panels on subjects from alternative transportation to Southern Utah’s solar energy projects.  

Utah Clean Cities’ Executive Director Robin Erickson hosted a panel that discussed alternative transportation from a fleet perspective. Among the panel was Scott Lavery (UPS), Sam Lee (State of Utah), Murrell Martin (Utah State School Board), and C. Lance Allen (Waste Management). Each representative spoke about their actions to move forward with transportation changes and how the changes have improved their companies.

Every attendant gathered for lunch where the Governor’s Excellence in Energy awards was announced along with a speech from keynote speaker Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of The Breakthrough Institute. Gov. Herbert took time to acknowledge President Obama’s new plan to reduce emissions by 30 percent within the next 15 years.


“There is concern out there in the business community that this could have a detrimental effect on the economy,” Herbert said as he noted that Utah relies on coal for 80 percent of all electricity in the state.           

Gov. Herbert unveiled a 10-year energy efficiency and conservation plan, which includes transportation and air quality project outlines. In the plan, there is a stress on education and outreach to the public for Utah to have better fuels and vehicles.

“We are trying to lead by example, and we expect that the public will do its part too,” Gov. Herbert said in view of being educated on the topic leads to more efficiency.

In addition to the 10-year energy efficiency plan, Gov. Herbert revealed one more surprise to the audience. He announced that Utah is one of three states participating in pilot projects to convert natural gas into ethanol. This would help reduce fine particulate pollution.

The Summit was truly a success in bringing together businesses, non-profits, state legislators, and the public to discuss what is happening in energy development. Utah Clean Cities plans on supporting the governor’s education plan as it continues its efforts to educate the public on petroleum and idle reduction, and alternative fuels.





To view the Governor's entire energy plan, click here.

Want to find out more on the Governor's Energy Development Summit? More information can be found through the Office of Energy Development and the Deseret News.

Friday, June 20, 2014

June Question of the Month

Question of the Month: Why is idle reduction important? What are ways that I can prevent idling, and what are the benefits of doing so?
Answer: Idling, the time when a vehicle’s engine is on but the vehicle is not moving, wastes over 6 billion gallons of fuel each year in the United States according to Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). This adds up to more than $20 billion annually in fuel costs. For example, heavy-duty trucks frequently idle at rest stops; an estimated 650,000 long-haul trucks use more than 685 million gallons of fuel per year by unnecessary idling. Idle reduction technologies and practices can help lower fuel consumption and fuel costs, protect public health and the environment, and increase U.S. energy security. Reducing idle time can also help reduce engine wear and maintenance costs. Finally, idling for long periods is illegal in many states and jurisdictions.
Idle Reduction Technologies and Practices
Heavy-Duty Vehicles
Truck stop electrification and onboard equipment can help reduce idling at truck stops, roadsides, and delivery sites. It is important to note that the cost-effectiveness of the technologies below depend on the vehicle applications and climates in which they are used as well as the duration of the idling.
·         Truck Stop Electrification provides power from an external source for important systems such as air conditioning, heating, and appliances without needing to idle the engine during required stops at rest areas.
·         Auxiliary Power Units are portable units that are mounted to the vehicle, and provide power for climate control and electrical devices in trucks, locomotives, and marine vehicles without idling the primary vehicle engine.
·         Energy Recovery Systems use the vehicle’s heat-transfer system to keep the truck’s heater operating after the engine is turned off, using engine heat that would otherwise dissipate.
·         Automatic Engine Stop-Start Controls sense the temperature in the sleeper cabin and automatically turn the engine on if the sleeper is too hot or too cold.
·         Cab or Bunk Heaters supply warm air to the cab or bunk compartment using small diesel heaters. Heaters can be coupled with air conditioners if needed.
School Buses
School bus idling is particularly problematic because of the negative health impacts for children. School bus engines should be turned off while the engine is not needed, such as at loading and unloading areas, and should only be turned back on when the bus is ready to depart. Idle reduction technologies for school buses that operate in cold climates include small on-board diesel cabin heaters and electrical block heaters, which can provide warming for the passenger compartment and engine.
Light- and Medium-Duty Vehicles
For light-and medium-duty vehicles, the primary idle reduction strategy is to turn the engine off when the vehicle is parked or stopped for long periods of time. Drivers can also reduce petroleum consumption by avoiding the use of a remote vehicle starter and obeying no-idle zones. Fleets may implement policies to set minimum fuel-efficiency targets or require the use of idle reduction practices. In addition, fleet managers can train their drivers on the benefits of reduced idling and how to use idle reduction strategies.
For vehicles that must stop often or for extended periods of time, such as cabs, limousines, and utility trucks, the idle reduction technologies below can be implemented:
·         Air Heaters operate on engine fuel and are self-contained units that blow hot air directly into the vehicle’s interior. These are similar to the heaters for heavy-duty vehicles.
·         Coolant Heaters use the vehicle’s heat-transfer system and are mounted in the engine compartment. This technology uses the vehicle’s fuel to heat the coolant, and then pumps the heated coolant through the engine, radiator, and heater box. By keeping the engine warm, the coolant heater reduces the impact of cold starts. These are similar to the heaters for heavy-duty vehicles.
·         Waste-Heat Recovery Systems are similar to the energy recovery systems mentioned above for heavy-duty vehicles.
·         Auxiliary Power Systems are similar to the auxiliary power units mentioned above for heavy-duty vehicles. 
·         Automatic Power Management Systems allow a vehicle driver to turn off the engine and use battery power to run the accessories from the battery. When the power management system senses the battery getting low, it restarts the engine until battery levels regenerate.
·         Hybridization enables vehicles requiring power take-off equipment to perform work with the main engine off.
Idling Regulations
There are many state and local laws and incentives in place to reduce idling in specific jurisdictions. For information on current idling reduction incentives and regulations, see the Clean Cities IdleBase (http://cleancities.energy.gov/idlebase) tool and the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Laws and Incentives (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/) database. While most current laws apply to diesel vehicles, increasingly laws are beginning to address gasoline vehicles as well.
Idle Reduction Tools
IdleBox Toolkit
The IdleBox toolkit (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/toolbox/idlebox.html) includes resources such as print products, templates, presentations, and information resources that can assist in creating idle reduction projects for medium- and heavy-duty fleets. IdleBox can also be used to educate policymakers, fleet managers, drivers, and others about the benefits of idle reduction.
Idle Reduction Worksheets
ANL has light- and heavy-duty idle reduction worksheets for drivers and fleet managers on their Idle Reduction Tools and Outreach Materials (http://www.transportation.anl.gov/engines/idling_tools.html) page. The worksheets can help calculate the cost of avoidable idling, as well as potential savings from reducing idling time by implementing technologies and practices.
Additional Resources
For additional information about idling and idle reduction, please see the following resources:
·         AFDC Idle Reduction Basics (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/conserve/idle_reduction_basics.html)
·         Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/prep/)
o   The Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool can help create a plan for your fleet to reduce petroleum consumption and emissions, and includes reducing idling as one of the strategies. See the AFDC Tools database (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/tools) for additional resources.
·         ANL Reducing Vehicle Idling (http://www.transportation.anl.gov/engines/idling.html)
·         U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay Program (http://www.epa.gov/smartway/) and Clean School Bus Program (http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/csb-overview.htm)
o   These national partnerships aim to reduce emissions from the freight industry and diesel school buses through idle reduction and other strategies.

Friday, May 23, 2014

DOE Request for Information: Fuel Cell Research & Development

ENERGY.GOV
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
Fuel Cell Technologies Office

DOE Issues Request for Information on Fuel Cell Research & Development Needs

May 5, 2014 
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Fuel Cell Technologies Office has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking feedback from the research community and relevant stakeholders to assist in the development of topics for a potential Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in 2015 for fuel cells and fuel cell systems designed for transportation, as well as stationary and early market applications, including cross-cutting stack and balance of plant (BOP) component technology.

The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback on R&D needs for and technical barriers to the widespread commercialization of fuel cells. Feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders is sought. The Fuel Cell Technologies Office is specifically interested in information on R&D needs and priorities concerning the development of low-cost fuel cell components and pathways leading to improved fuel cell performance and durability.

For details, see the RFI announcement DE-FOA-0001133 or e-mail questions about the RFI to fuelcellresearchneeds@ee.doe.gov with "question" in the subject line. RFI responses must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on June 2, 2014. This RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement; therefore, DOE is not accepting applications for funding regarding this topic at this time.