All They Want for Christmas Is a Biogas Generator

Franklin, Vermont farmers Denna and Mike Benjamin were heading into the holidays with a big wish: natural gas to start their anaerobic digester to convert the methane fro their cows’ manure to electricity. The project was partially funded by a federal grant, and if the digester was not operating by year’s end they would lose a major portion of the money.

The challenge they were facing was not living near a natural gas pipleline and a “shot of pure gas” was needed to get the biogas generator going.  So the Benjamins called NG Advantage, a company that trucks compressed natural gas (CNG) to very large industrial NGA starting farmers methane producer 2013 6customers not located on gas pipelines. The company brings several tractor-trailer loads of gas each day to their large customers, whose factories run their boilers 24/7. These isolated facilities save an estimated 20-40 percent on their fuel bills and emit 26 percent less CO2. The Benjamins hoped that NG Advantage could bring them the much-needed natural gas to get their digester operating.

Even though the Benjamins did not need a trailer full of gas, NG Advantage worked with the Benjamins’ engineer, John Forcier of Forcier Consulting Engineers PC, Christopher Herrick, the Chief of the Vermont HAZMAT Response Team, Mike Raker of the Green Mountain Power Renewable Development Fund, Robert Achilles of the Vermont State Agency of Agriculture, and a Canadian company Bio-Methatech, to make a small delivery of gas available to the Benjamins within two days of the phone call. General Transportation of Bridge Water, MA (NG Advantage’s hauler) provide the use of their tractor at no charge to help reduce the cost.

NG Advantage’s VP of Operations and Safety, Gerry Myers, organized the holiday rescue team. He explained why the company went out of its way to help the Benjamins, “Environmental stewardship and embracing the needs of our community at large are embedded in our company’s daily operations. Helping the Benjamin family and Riverview Farm achieve success with their digester project was the right thing to do.”

Denna Benjamin described why it is important for them to build a digester at the Riverview Farm by saying, “We, as other farmers, are looking for ways to diversify our income steam so that we can keep farming. This project seemed like a way to do that and to improve the environment at the same time.”

The Benjamins built the anaerobic digester to use the manure from their cows to create electricity that they can sell back to the grid, to generate heat their farm, and to create a byproduct that provides dry bedding for the cows. By using the methane from the manure to generate electricity, they also eliminate the substantial release of greenhouse gas that would have otherwise naturally occurred. Continue reading

Clean Energy Fuels Distributing “Waste” Natural Gas

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has announced that it will be the first company to commercially distribute a renewable natural gas vehicle fuel, called Redeem, made from waste streams such as landfills, large dairies and sewage plants, directly to fleets around the country. In addition, natural gas fleets will be able to purchase Redeem at the 35 public Clean Energy stations throughout California.

“It’s a landmark day for Clean Energy as the first company to make this revolutionary and renewable transportation fuel made from waste available to our customers,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. “Our goal is to produce and distribute 15 CE-Sacramento-CA-Refuse-Truck-RedeemSticker-1million gallons of Redeem in our first year, which can make significant progress towards achieving California’s climate change goals and prove that this is a viable, cleaner and abundant alternative fuel source for our future.”

Clean Energy is staking its position in the renewable fuels market through a significant investment in natural gas fueling infrastructure, including 400 fueling stations throughout the nation, as well as in the development of multiple biomethane production facilities that will produce Redeem.

“California’s leadership in addressing the threat of climate change and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions makes it the ideal state to launch Clean Energy’s Redeem fuel,” said Harrison Clay, president of Clean Energy subsidiary Clean Energy Renewable Fuels. “Redeem is the lowest carbon footprint fuel commercially available and the only affordable renewable fuel for heavy duty trucks. We believe this creates an environmental and economic incentive for companies inside and outside California who are looking to make a major reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions from their fleet operations while still saving on their fuel bill. Redeem makes that possible.”

According to California Air Resource Board CARB( estimates, Redeem sourced from landfill gas can enable up to a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions when displacing diesel or gasoline in compressed natural gas (CNG). Clean Energy Fuels estimates a fleet that consumes 1,000,000 gallons of gasoline per year can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 9,700 metric tons by switching to Redeem. Continue reading

New GM Trucks to Offer CNG, Biodiesel Options

2015silverado1General Motors is offering some pretty clean options in a couple of its 2015 pickup trucks. This story from NGTNews says the latest Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickup trucks will have compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel system options, as well as being able to run on B20 biodiesel.

“Because HD customers tailor their trucks to their specific needs, the 2015 Silverado and Sierra will offer a choice of three fuels – gasoline, diesel [including up to 20 percent biodiesel] or compressed natural gas,” said Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for trucks, during the vehicles’ unveiling at the State Fair of Texas last week.

The standard engine in both the Silverado HD and Sierra HD is GM’s 6.0-liter Vortec V-8. Customers can select a bi-fuel version of this engine that uses either CNG or gasoline.

“And you can now get CNG capability in all three cab configurations – regular, double and crew cab – and on both 2500 and 3500 models,” Luke said.

The American-made trucks running on the American-made fuels will be able to do the heavy lifting truck customers demand, featuring a payload of nearly 7,400 lbs. and a conventional trailering rating of 19,600 pounds. The Duramax diesel engine, capable of running on B20, comes in the beefy 6.6-liter, 397 hp/765 lb.-ft. size.

CNG & LNG Conversion Co. Expands to Indiana

A1aA California company that converts light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to run on CNG, LNG, and LPG systems is expanding to the Midwest. A-1 Alternative Fuel Systems announced the opening of its new Elkhart, Indiana facility, meeting the needs of several area bus manufacturers.

“We are in a strong position to apply our depth of experience in California to markets all around the country,” said Mark Gilio, President of A-1 Alternative Fuel Systems. “Over the past eighteen years we have built a reputation in California that I am very proud of and my goal is to make sure that the rest of the country is able to experience, firsthand, exactly what enabled us to earn that reputation.” Having installed natural gas systems on over 400 vehicles at his Fresno headquarters in 2012, Gilio believes the new Elkhart facility has the potential to reach that capacity and more. The company will be cross-engineering its range of platforms (Ford E-450, F-550/650, F-59, GM G4500) with body builders of the major manufacturers in Elkhart and the surrounding areas.

The Fresno-based A-1 made the announcement at the recent BusCon in Chicago.

Clean Energy Inks CNG Deals in Several Sectors

CleanEnergyCNG1California-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced several new agreements the company struck in some varied compressed natural gas (CNG) sectors, to include transit, trucking and manufacturing.

On the transit side, Clean Energy signed a 10-year deal with LA Metro to provide in total up to 36 million gallons a year of CNG for the country’s largest clean air fleet:

la-metro-bus1LA Metro Board approved a 10-year compressed natural gas (CNG) station operation and maintenance contract with Clean Energy for four of LA Metro’s CNG bus fueling stations. With this award, Clean Energy will continue to operate and maintain all of the Agency’s 10 CNG bus fueling stations as well as an 11th station currently under construction by Clean Energy.

From the trucking sector, Clean Energy will provide a CNG for 100 medium-duty delivery trucks for Fox Transportation:

fox-truck1Once fully deployed, the fleet is expected to consume approximately 600,000 diesel-gallons-equivalent of CNG fuel per year.

Fleet is anticipated to make approximately 900,000 deliveries annually to hospitals throughout California, traveling over five million miles per year.

ngadvantage1And in manufacturing, Clean Energy and NG Advantage struck a first-of-its-kind, 10-year deal to build a new natural gas compression facility in central New Hampshire to reach customers not on a natural gas pipeline throughout New England:

Operated by Clean Energy, the facility is intended to provide a minimum of 10-million gasoline-gallons-equivalent of CNG per year. This potentially represents more than double the CNG fuel volume supplied by Clean Energy’s highest-volume CNG station.

Clean Energy’s President and CEO, Andrew J. Littlefair says these moves help eliminate perceived barriers and limitations of natural gas to demonstrate economic and environmental advantages of transitioning to the fuel.

Refuel Colorado Fleets

Refuel Colorado Fleets, a pilot project to boost the use of alternative fuel vehicles in public and private sector fleets, has announced a new pilot program for several Colorado communities. The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant to the Colorado Energy Office. Counties selected for the year-long pilot are Routt, Larimer, Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, Garfield, Mesa, Montezuma and La Plata. A is funding the project.

Energy coaches employed by four community-based nonprofits will help business and government fleet owners work together with auto dealers, fuel providers, business leaders and local governments in the nine counties to pursue or expand use of alternative fuels. The program is aimed at accelerating the deployment of alternative fuels, reducing Refuel Colorado Fleets logopetroleum imports and increasing fuel cost efficiency in public and private sector vehicle fleets. Alternative fuels being considered include compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), propane, biofuels and plug-in electric vehicles.

“The Refuel Colorado Fleets energy coaches will support the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles,” said Jeff Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office. “Each community will determine what makes sense for them, be that electric, natural gas, propane, or other vehicle types. Each of these provides economic and environmental benefits, making this an exciting project.”

Energy coaching will be done by Northern Colorado Clean Cities, Denver Metro Clean Cities, Garfield Clean Energy and Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency. The pilot project is being led by CLEER: Clean Energy Economy for the Region, a Carbondale nonprofit with expertise in alternative fuel vehicle technology, energy coaching and community engagement.

“Colorado has built a strong reputation as a leader in renewable energy and other innovative industries,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. “Refuel Colorado Fleets’ work on these projects in counties across the state only enhances that reputation. “There is great promise in alternative fuel vehicles and these types of programs help proliferate their use and allow communities to see how best to implement proven green technologies.”

In the coming weeks, energy coaches will work with businesses and local governments in the nine counties to analyze their fleets, including miles driven and age, vehicle type and purpose, to determine the optimal alternative fuel to focus on.

EDP Adds Natural Gas to Fleet

Portuguese energy company EDP is adding a compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling station to fuel it’s fleet with natural gas. In addition, the company plans on purchasing 20 natural gas vehicles. Ballast Nedam IPM has been hired to install the CNG station in Porto, Portugal and the CNG station is expected to be online by August 2013.

Ballast Nedam has designed a customized fast-fill refueling installation for CNG. The rapid and complete handling of the vehicles will require the compressor installation to be Ballast Nedamequipped with a storage facility, and there will also be a specially designed dispenser with fast-fill connector. A release and recording system will also be installed, allowing only authorized EDP users to operate the installation, and supporting the periodic remote reading of volume and consumption information by the company.

According to Ballast Nedam, the market for natural gas as a vehicle fuel is growing in Portugal. There are only a few natural gas refueling stations in Portugal currently, but increasing awareness of the environmental and financial benefits of running on natural gas is creating expectations of a sharp increase in the number of stations over the next few years.

Ballast Nedam has selected a Portuguese partner for the local work. ERI Engenharia S.A. will take responsibility for the permit acquisition, civil engineering and technical installation on the project site. After commissioning, the company will continue to handle the service and maintenance for the station.

Governor Corbett Commits $9.6M to Clean Energy

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced a commitment of more than $9.6 million for 13 clean and alternative energy projects in 11 counties. The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has approved 13 projects, through the state’s Alternative and Clean Energy Program, including five Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fueling stations that, the agency says, have the benefits of reducing emissions, fuel savings and utilizing the large domestic CNG Station in PA Photo: Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvaniasource of natural gas available in Pennsylvania.

“The projects supported by the CFA will help businesses and school districts save collectively on their utility costs and reduce their environmental impact,” said Corbett. “They will also result in significant private economic investment throughout the commonwealth and the creation of 25 new jobs.”

Among the approved projects includes a $250,000 Alternative and Clean Energy Program grant for PMF Industries to aid in the company’s expansion of their manufacturing plant. The project will expand their precision metal forming facility to allow for the manufacturing of CNG cylinders.

“We have an available, abundant, domestic, economical and clean-burning supply of natural gas throughout Pennsylvania that can be used in a number of ways including to fuel our vehicles,” added Corbett. “Increasing the number of natural gas filling stations in the state will grow the industry, boost our economy and result in a better environment.”

In total, 13 projects were approved in Allegheny, Beaver, Bucks, Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Lackawanna, Lycoming, Montgomery and Schuylkill counties. The state investments are projected to result in more than $109 million in additional economic investments.

New Natural Gas Partnership Announced

Clean Energy Fuels and Mansfield Energy have created a strategic partnership to offer customers a comprehensive solution in the compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel industry. The partners will offer Clean Energy’s natural gas fueling station construction and operational services. The services will be supported by Mansfield’s large-scale fuel supply capabilities and Gas-2-Gallons fuel management system.

Clean Energy logo“This agreement joins two leaders of fleet fueling into strategic partners that will provide the highest level of service and best value for customers in the rapidly-growing natural gas fuel market,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. “No other company offers fuel customers the benefit of scale and expertise that Mansfield provides. Clean Energy has built and operated more CNG stations and fueled more natural gas vehicles than any company in the U.S. Together, we will be the best solution in the marketplace.”

Mansfield logoMansfield Gas Equipment Systems has ongoing CNG service and operations contracts with 43 locations as well as 20 new CNG sites currently under development in the waste, transit, and municipal fleet sectors. This portfolio will be combined with the 348 CNG and liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations Clean Energy currently owns, operates or supplies. Clean Energy’s total strategic partnerships to-date represent over 11 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel delivered annually. The company also will become the Western distributor of Mansfield Gas Equipment Systems’ FuelMaker, a small scale business and home re-fueling system.

Michael Mansfield, CEO of Mansfield added, “We want our customers to have the best solution possible for fueling with natural gas. We bring scale in commodity supply, risk management, and transaction processing. Clean Energy has scale in design, engineering and operations. Bringing these strengths together for our customers provides the benefits of proven technology coupled with large scale operating efficiencies to provide the best value and simplest path to natural gas adoption in the market today.”

Love’s Expanding CNG Network

Love’s Travel Stops is expanding its fast-fill compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations to service Class 8 trucks. The corridor between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas will soon include eight new CNG pumps and should be operational by the fourth quarter of this year.  Love’s will add fast-fill CNG to the following locations in Texas: Ft. Worth – gI_63424_LovesCNG fueling laneI-35 W, Exit 40; Dallas – I-35/I-20, Exit 466; Rockwall – I-30, Exit 283; Willis – I-45, Exit 95; Houston – 610 Loop, Exit 24A; Katy – I-10, Exit 737; San Antonio – I-35, Exit 144; and Seguin – I-10, Exit 604.

“The major interstate corridors between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are ideal locations to place fast-fill CNG for adopters of this natural-gas alternative,” said Jon Archard, director of fleet sales at Love’s. “A typical Class 8 truck can cover up to 450 miles after filling up with CNG, so Love’s locations near these three metro areas make sense. A gallon equivalent of CNG is significantly less than a gallon of diesel or LNG, so the drivers and fleets running on CNG see dramatic cost benefits.”

Love’s began offering CNG for light-duty and consumer vehicles at locations in Oklahoma in 2010. In 2012, the company opened its first fast-fill CNG dispensers for heavy-duty trucks at the Love’s Travel Stop off Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City.

“At our existing location in Oklahoma City, drivers are experiencing fill times comparable to fueling with diesel,” added Archard. “Speed is a top priority for Love’s because our fast-fill CNG dispensers are located on our diesel islands. We are focused on our customers and know professional drivers need to fuel quickly and get back on the road.”

AMP Americas Joins National Clean Fleets Partnership

CNG Station in Fair Oaks IndianaDuring the Indiana Greener Pastures and Beyond event today in Fair Oaks, Indiana, AMP Americas was invited to join the National Clean Fleets Partnership (the Partnership). The company helps organizations with large trucking fleets move from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG). The Partnership is run by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program.

The announcement was made during the celebration of the grand opening of AMP Americas’ renewable compressed natural gas, I65/I75 Corridor March 4, 2013. This corridor from Chicago, Illinois to Orlando Florida. is anchored on the Northern end by the CNG Stations in Fair Oaks IN, and Sellersburg Indiana. The partnership consists of AMP Americas, Fair Oaks Farms, Greater Indiana Clean Cities and the Indiana Office of Energy.

IMG_0650“As we continue to reduce emissions and fuel costs, we are committed to cleaner and greener transportation and are very proud to join this elite group that contains some of the world’s most respected businesses,” said Nathan Laurell, CEO of AMP Americas. “By the end of the year we plan to open 13 more CNG fueling stations and to lease additional CNG trucks, lessening the financial barriers for companies transitioning to CNG.” The company operates one of the largest CNG fleets in the country in partnership with Fair Oaks Farms.

According to AMP Americas, the program will enable them to further its efforts to leverage cleaner alternative fuels and technologies, to increase efficiency and cost-savings, and to reduce emissions. The Partnership offers AMP Americas access to technical information, tools, resources and opportunities for collaboration with the DOE.

In addition to expanding its CNG fueling network, the company owns renewable-CNG assets including a CNG plant that produces natural gas from cow manure through anaerobic digestion.

Thorntons Wins Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture honored Thorntons Inc. as the recipient of the Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy Leadership Award. The honor was given during the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition Holiday Reception by Indiana’s Ag Director Joseph Kelsay.

THORNTONS Gas Station with ethanolThe Paul Dana Award was established by Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Skillman in 2006 after Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana was killed in racing accident. A strong supporter of biofuels, the award recognizes those who have shown exemplified leadership and innovative vision in the bioenergy industry.

“I congratulate the Thornton family for its entrepreneurial spirit, growing the fueling business from a single station in New Albany, Ind. in 1952 to be among Forbes Magazine’s 500 largest privately held companies today,” said Lt. Governor Skillman, who serves as Secretary of Agriculture. “We thank you for your support of Indiana and including mid-level ethanol blends and E85 at your stations.”

Thorntons began retailing gasoline in 1952 with a single location in New Albany, Indiana, but the first “Thorntons” opened in Clarksville, Indiana in 1971.

The 2012 Greater Indiana Clean Cities Award Recipients:

  • Ethanol Blends Award – Thorntons Inc.
  • Propane/Autogas Award – Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)
  • Compressed Natural Gas Award – Palmer Trucks
  • Support of Multiple Alternative Fuels and Technologies (Silver BB’s Award) – Ivy Tech Lafayette Automotive Department, Alternative Fuels Technical Training
  • BioDiesel Blends – North Central Co-op

GE Purchasing 2,000 C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrids

General Electric (GE) is purchasing 2,000 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids as part of its commitment to convert half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. The purchase ups GE’s alternative vehicle fleet to 5,000 in its goal of 25,000 vehicles. The EPA has rated C-MAX Energi with a 108 miles per gallon city rating and 620 mile single tank range. In addition to the purchase, Ford, who manufactures the electric vehicles (EVs), will promote GE’s WattStation charging station and CNG in a Box, natural gas fueling station with commercial buyers.

“Ford is launching six new electrified vehicles – a big bet that fuel prices will continue rising and lead to more demand for advanced fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “We are pleased to partner with GE, a company that is charting a similar course, to promote advanced technology and energy savings.”

The two companies will also work with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to study GE employee driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance. Researchers will use Ford’s MyFord Mobile app – with real-time battery charge status and value charging that automatically recharges at lower-cost, off-peak electricity rates.

Mark Vachon, vice president of ecomagination at GE, said “At GE, we are focused on providing our customers and our fleet with more economically and environmentally efficient vehicles. The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is a great addition to our expanding fleet of alternative fuel vehicles.”

According to Professor Bert Bras of Georgia Tech, understanding driving and charging habits are key to advancing vehicle charging infrastructure. He said the acceleration of research and development of new technologies will help to improve efficiency  driver satisfaction and environmental benefits. The findings of the study will be shared with commercial customers to provide insights and help foster continued adoption of EVs into fleets.

VA Gov Bob McDonnell Touts Propane & CNG

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell kicked off his third annual Governor’s Conference on Energy this morning by officially beginning his state fleet’s transition to alternative fuels. Governor McDonnell began the event by signing partner agreements as well as a memorandum of understanding to switch state fleet vehicles to a mix of propane autogas and compressed natural gas (CNG). A propane autogas cruiser from the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office and a propane-powered ROUSH CleanTech Ford F250 was on display during the conference.

Steve McCoy of Alliance AutoGas, representatives from Clean Energy and CNG proponent Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin witnessed the signing of the momentous executive directive, which requires all state agencies to develop an alternative fuel replacement plan. McCoy was joined at the event by fellow Alliance AutoGas representative in Virginia Tripp Greene and Alliance AutoGas partner John Phillips of Phillips Energy, as well as Chelsea Jenkins of ROUSH.

The propane autogas conversions will be handled by Alliance AutoGas and ROUSH CleanTech. The two companies will also provide OEM autogas vehicles for the Commonwealth. In addition, Alliance AutoGas will provide fueling infrastructure for state fleets transitioning to autogas.

Industry Launches “Fuels America” Campaign

In the face of increasing calls to waive the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard, biofuel industry stakeholders today announced a major new communications campaign to educate consumers and policy makers about the benefits of renewable fuel to America’s economy, energy security and environment.

The new coalition – Fuels America – includes renewable fuel, national security, renewable energy and other stakeholders. Among those who are part of the coalition are Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC). A number of biofuel companies are also members, such as Abengoa, DuPont, POET and Novozymes.

The Fuels America campaign will be a national effort, including advertising, beginning in Washington, DC and several states, including Colorado, Ohio, Delaware and Montana. Each state will have its own online platform reachable through FuelsAmerica.org and feature the stories of renewable fuel innovators and communities with a stake in maintaining the RFS. The coalition also has a Twitter feed @FuelsAmerica.

A telephone press conference was held this morning to announce the new coalition and campaign with BIO president and CEO Jim Greenwood, Novozymes president Adam Monroe, Marion (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce president Pam Hall, and ZeaChem president and CEO Jim Imbler.

Listen to or download that press conference, which starts with comments from Jim Greenwood: Fuels America press conference

Press conference Q and A: Fuels America press conference Q&A