More Than 1,100 Registrants and 100-Plus Exhibitors
Celebrate Abundance of Fuel, Real Emergence of NGVs
Natural gas? “We have centuries of supply,” Pilot Flying J president Mark Hazelwood said in Atlanta Tuesday. “It is domestic. It provides U.S. jobs. It’s clean-burning.”
Its use as a transportation fuel, Hazelwood said, is “a no-brainer.”
Hazelwood, whose firm is partnered with Clean Energy Fuels for the America’s Natural Gas Highway truck stop LNG network, was the keynote speaker at the Clean Energy-sponsored lunch at the North American Natural Gas Vehicle Conference and Exhibition, now underway in Atlanta.
Organizer and co-host NGVAmerica reported more than 1,100 registrants for the convention’s first morning, and upwards of 100 exhibitors, all basking in an abundance of natural gas that at long last promises serious market penetration for natural gas vehicles.
‘Based on Economics’
“This is going to gain traction,” Hazelwood said. “The equipment is out there today.”
“The value proposition for NGVs,” said Alicia Milner, president of the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (and NGV Global chair), “is based on economics.”
“The economic advantage of natural gas is here to stay,” said NGVAmerica president Rich Kolodziej.
“The fundamental have never been better,” said Hank Linginfelter, executive VP of distribution operations with AGL Resources, local host and platinum sponsor of the conference.
Natural gas, said Clean Cities chief Dennis Smith, “has been a dominant force during the 20-year history of his U.S. Department of Energy organization, which is celebrating 20 years of alternative fuel advocacy. “Year after year it’s been there and it’s been successful.”
The NGV Industry Has Arrived
“We are here,” said Ron Eickelman, president and CTO of Agility Fuel Systems and new NGVAmerica chairman.
Almost all of the Tuesday speakers, however, warned of potential pitfalls.
Kolodziej mentioned varying standards around the country, specifically the lack of a defined diesel gallon equivalent and even a move to rescind the existing recognition of the gasoline gallon equivalent, as threats to the market viability of natural gas.
And, fuel excise taxes around the country vary, widely, he Kolodziej, and are based on different units of measurement. “This is an accounting nightmare and it’s a bottleneck for us,” he said. “We’re going to have to succeed one state at a time.”
Safety Is a Key Issue
Substandard equipment is another issue, he said. “We’re seeing charlatans come out of the closet,” Kolodziej warned in Atlanta. “Safety has to be, has to be, our number one priority.”
Milner noted that threats to hydraulic fracturing could affect natural gas supply. “We all need to get up to speed on the details of the debate,” she said.
Smith noted that natural has is handled differently by a host of utility-governing regulatory commissions making the purchase of natural gas a very different experience across states and sometimes even county lines. But he said there is opportunity when solving these problems to forge partnerships that otherwise might not have come into being.
“Build relationships with allies in this cause,” said AGL’s Linginfelter. “Build alliances. Find those customers and sell to them.”
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Source: Fleets & Fuels at the North American NGV Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta
How much gas? Chris McGill, policy and analysis VP with the American Gas Association discussed the new U.S. abundance of natural gas at the opening plenary session of the NGVAmerica conference on Tuesday morning.