Checking in with Cummins-Westport’s CNG Powered ISX-G Engine

Cummins-Westport, an industry leader in vehicle engines powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), is rolling out a 12 liter engine in 2013 targeted at the heavy duty truck market.

This engine, called the ISX-G, employs a number of neat technical innovations designed to help it use natural gas efficiently, letting truck operators enjoy the benefits of CNG as a cleaner burning and more affordable fuel.

Check out the short video below for an overview of the features of the ISX-G, I found it interesting and my knowledge of engines doesn’t extend past refilling my wiper fluid.

Spectra’s Doug Bloom Talks Natgas in the Vancouver Sun

Stories about the potential economic benefits of natural gas sourced from within North America have become increasingly common in the past year.  Last week the Vancouver Sun got in on the act with a story highlighting the perspectives of a couple of key leaders from NWGA member companies, Doug Bloom from Spectra Energy and John Walker of FortisBC.

We’ll cover the FortisBC section of the article in our next blog post; today I want to highlight some of the great insights provided by Doug Bloom, President Western Pipelines, for NWGA Member Company Spectra Energy.

In a talk given to the Vancouver board of trade Mr. Bloom hit on the growth in British Columbia natural gas supply, a development that has led to more greater supply diversity not only in Western Canada but throughout the Pacific Northwest, saying B.C. has truly huge natural gas resources. We’ve got over 100 years of supply at current production rate.”

Bloom continued by highlighting some key environmental benefits provided by switching to natural gas:

“By shifting 25 per cent of current energy use from coal to natural gas, Canada and the U.S. could meet their national emissions (reduction) targets. 

“Gas in transportation is also an important opportunity. A company called PIRA, Petroleum Industry Research Associates, a prominent consultant, said that gas demand in large trucks and fleet applications in the United States could reach 14 (billion cubic feet) a day by 2030. 

“That could reduce diesel demand by up to two million barrels per day or more through a mix of LNG and compressed natural gas applications.”

Click here for the entire article.

DOE Report Affirms Role of Natural Gas as Foundation Fuel

Washington, D.C. – A recent report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) entitled “Macroeconomic Impacts of LNG Exports from the United States” affirms the position of natural gas as a foundation fuel for the United States and the nation’s energy future. The American Gas Association (AGA) is encouraged to see DOE examining the important role that natural gas will serve in our nation’s energy and economic future. 

“The Department of Energy study acknowledges the tremendous impact our domestic abundance of natural gas is having on energy markets at home and abroad. Natural gas already provides one-fourth of our nation’s energy. With natural gas as a foundation fuel for a clean and secure energy portfolio, we can meet our national goals of boosting our economy, improving our environment and increasing our energy security,” said AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy.

“The report states that our nation’s natural gas resource base is able to satisfy existing and new markets at very competitive prices. DOE analysis indicates that U.S. exports of natural gas would allow for continued stable pricing for the 177 million Americans who depend on the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas every day.”

“We envision a future where natural gas not only provides energy for homes and businesses, but runs a significant number of our vehicles, generates power and supports other forms of renewable energy. America’s natural gas utilities will continue to provide safe and reliable service to our customers today while building the 21st century infrastructure necessary to serve the nation’s energy needs tomorrow. ”

Kirschner talks CNG on the radio and at Medford station opening

If you’re a radio listener in Southern Oregon odds are pretty good you ran into NWGA Executive Director, Dan Kirschner, at some point this week. Dan was all over the dial talking natural gas in the build up to today’s (December 5) opening of a public Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station in Medford, OR.

Click below to listen in on archived copies of Dan’s radio appearances this week, we’ll update this list as the other interviews are posted online:

* The Bill Meyer Show on AM 1440 KMED December 3 (mp3 file opens in a new window. Length: about 14 minutes).

The opening of a Medford CNG station is another positive step in the development of a “natural gas highway” along the I-5 corridor as the lone public CNG station between between the San Francisco and Seattle metro areas. Rogue Valley Clean Cities hosted the grand opening festivities, where Dan served as MC, and has a wealth of can’t miss information on their website.

Stay tuned for more CNG developments in 2013!

Puget Sound Energy sends 24 natural gas service employees to New York to help restore heat to victims of Superstorm Sandy

BELLEVUE, WA.– Two dozen Puget Sound Energy natural gas employees today headed to New York to help restore heat for customers on Long Island, where overnight temperatures this week are expected to dip into the 20s.

PSE employees will work with National Grid to replace natural gas meter sets damaged nearly five weeks ago by Superstorm Sandy; they will also  inspect and relight equipment and appliances inside homes and businesses.

PSE’s team of 21 technicians and three supervisors will work for 2½ weeks and return home the weekend before Christmas. They will join natural gas crews from other utilities around the country.

PSE received the mutual aid request from the Northeast Gas Association to help restore natural gas service for the storm-damaged communities on Long Island.

“Every member of our PSE team is sacrificing more than two weeks with their families to get the heat back on in time for the holidays for so many people who were affected by the devastation of Sandy,” said Sue McLain, PSE senior vice president of delivery operations. “When a disaster like Superstorm Sandy strikes, utilities help out each other to restore service to their customers. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the storm.”

PSE sent the employee team to New York after evaluating and confirming that it has an adequate number of responders and customer service technicians to respond to routine natural gas-service calls and emergency situations in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Thurston, Lewis and Kittitas counties.

AMP Americas Converts Trucking Fleet to Renewable Natural Gas

CHICAGO, Dec. 3, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — AMP Americas announced today that it has commenced operating its trucking fleet on renewable natural gas produced from the first agricultural digester project in the United States to qualify for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

AMP Americas owns two compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations in Indiana and, in partnership with Fair Oaks Farms, manages a fleet of 42 CNG milk-transport trucks (one of the largest in the country).  These long-haul trucks now run on renewable CNG made from manure sourced at the dairy in a process called anaerobic digestion.  Renewable CNG is the chemical equivalent of fossil-based natural gas and is obtained from biomass, often food or animal waste.  The fleet runs in excess of 20,000 miles a day delivering milk throughout the Midwest.

“A vision of producing renewable natural gas for our fleet has become a reality.  We are extremely proud of the dedicated team that, over the course of the past two and half years, has allowed this to succeed.  It is a significant day for AMP as well as for both the dairy and transportation industries,” stated Mark Stoermann, Operations Director for AMP, who oversaw the project.

AMP Americas focuses on displacing liquid fuels with CNG and works with clients who want to run their fleets on CNG rather than diesel, substantially reducing and often locking in their fuel costs. CNG has significant environmental benefits producing approximately 25% less carbon dioxide than diesel when sourced using utility supplied natural gas and nearly 100% less carbon dioxide when using renewable natural gas, along with reductions in sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions of up to 90% and 60% respectively. AMP plans to use renewable CNG whenever possible.

AMP, along with its joint venture partner, Trillium CNG, will be breaking ground soon on the construction of additional CNG stations in Texas and along the I-65 and I-75 corridors, which are major trucking routes. “The stations will be open to the public though the primary customers will be heavy-duty and long-haul trucking fleets,” says Nathan Laurell, CEO of AMP Americas.

Stations will feature fast-fill capabilities and redundant equipment providing increased fill speed and reduced downtime while delivering exceptional reliability backed by a 24/7 on call service-team. The stations will also accept fleet cards and major credit cards and offer special fuel-pricing programs to encourage fleets to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of CNG.


Kirschner to Talk Natgas Transportation at Medford CNG Station Grand Opening, Dec. 5

The grand opening and sparkling cider toast for Oregon’s largest compressed natural gas fueling station will be held from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm Wednesday, December 5 at Rogue Valley Transportation District, 3200 Crater Lake Avenue, Medford.

Dan Kirschner, executive director of Northwest Natural Gas Association in West Linn, Ore., will talk about Southern Oregon as a CNG leader. Tim D’Alessandro, RVTD operations manager, will describe how the station works, the cost savings and benefits of cleaner air. Senior Field Representative Troy Ferguson will talk about Congressman Greg Walden’s support for RVTD’s pioneering use of domestic fuel in 15 of its 23 buses since 1994.

The event will feature a CNG-fueled Crater Lake Trolley that hauls visitors on ranger-guided tours of Crater Lake National Park, Rogue Disposal and Recycling’s CNG waste truck, Jackson County’s new CNG Chevy cargo van, a CNG Honda Civic from Lithia and an RVTD CNG-powered bus. CNG drivers are enjoying a fuel price of $1.41 per gallon, compared to about $3.35 for regular gas.

RVTD received a CMAQ grant and other funding to rebuild its 18-year-old facility, one of two public CNG stations in Oregon. The other is located at Jackson County Motor Pool, 808 W. Main Street, Medford. The grand opening is also sponsored by Avista Utilities and Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition. Parking is available in the RVTD lot on Ford Drive off of Crater Lake Avenue. For information, visit the website,, send an email to melissa@roguevalleycleancities or call 541-779-0569.

Savings Calculator Helps Reduce Barriers for Natural Gas Vehicles

Washington, D.C. – Natural gas is 47 percent less expensive on average than equivalent gallons of gasoline and 59 percent less than equivalent gallons of diesel. The Drive Natural Gas Initiative, a collaboration between natural gas utilities and producers, is launching a Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator to help fleet owners conduct a preliminary analysis of  the total costs associated with converting a fleet, or part of a fleet, to natural gas.

“The Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator is powerful step forward in our ability to help reduce barriers to entry for natural gas vehicles by providing fleet managers with the information they need to make their own assessments about the benefits of natural gas,” said Drive Natural Gas Initiative Executive Director Kathryn Clay. “Throughout the nation, businesses are making the switch to natural gas because it’s good for the bottom line. Any fleet owners interested in putting less money into their fuel tanks and more money into growing their businesses should consider what natural gas can do for them. By providing information tools like this new calculator, we are making it easier for more people to take advantage of our domestic abundance of this clean energy source.”

The Drive Natural Gas Initiative worked with Ricardo, a leading global provider of product innovation, engineering solutions, clean technology and strategic consulting, to develop this helpful tool. 

The Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator is a spreadsheet based, total cost of ownership evaluation tool.  It comes pre-loaded with the current numbers for natural gas vehicle availability and cost, but it is also fully customizable for fleet managers to input the parameters that best describe the kind of vehicles they use, and how they use them.

Tomorrow, the Drive Natural Gas Initiative and Ricardo will hold a webinar to explain the Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator including a demonstration of the tool and explanation of its implications in the alternative fuel marketplace.

The Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator is available here.

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Burner Tip

What it means: A generic term referring to the final stage in the natural gas system, the ultimate point of consumption.  The term also applies to an attachment for a burner head.

See it in action: While an actual burner tip looks like this, something you would see on a gas stove or fireplace; when those in the natural gas industry use the term they are often talking about where natural gas is being consumed, either in an industrial setting or the home. Increasing the in-home consumption at the burner tip by converting appliances to natural gas is an excellent way to make your home more efficient.

Natural Gas Terms of the Week are posted each Monday, check back weekly to boost your natural gas IQ.

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