AGA, ANGA, Clean Energy, UPS, and the Governor of Colorado Reiterate
The Benefits of NGVs Despite ‘Headwinds’ Engendered by Low Oil Prices:
‘An Unbeatable Value Proposition as a Transportation Fuel,’ Says Godlewski
NGVAmerica and partners including NGV Global kicked off the 2015 North American Natural Gas Vehicle Conference & Expo today at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The meeting runs through to Thursday, September 17.
The basic message? “We all know that natural gas has an unbeatable value proposition as a transportation fuel,” said NGVAmerica president Matt Godlewski.
Several speakers, including Godlewski and Clean Energy Fuels president and CEO Andrew Littlefair, mentioned the low oil prices that have made for natural gas vehicle market “headwinds” this year. But, “We still have an economic proposition that’s pretty compelling,” Littlefair said.
“Natural gas still is cheaper than any oil-based fuel,” said NGV Global executive director Diego Goldin.
“When you compare compressed natural gas to other fuels it is more affordable than gasoline and more stable,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “Over the long term, it is the best idea,” he said. “CNG’s always going to be cheaper. It pays for itself.”
‘Fundamentals Are Great’
“Consumers benefit every day from this clean, abundant fuel,” said American Gas Association president and CEO Dave McCurdy. “This is a pragmatic solution for America,” he said, “a positive, good-news story.”
“The long-term fundamentals are great.”
“We’ve come a long way,” said Littlefair, noting that NGVs operate at 40 U.S. airports, power 30% of U.S. transit buses, and account for 60% of new refuse truck sales.
In the United States, “We have fabulously efficient, low-cost natural gas,” Littlefair said. Even with today’s lo oil prices, he said, customers are saving $1.40 per gallon. “Other alternative fuels can not tell you that.”
“Natural gas is the cleanest burning fuel that can actually be deployed in heavy duty equipment,” said Mike Whitlatch, global energy and procurement VP at UPS (a major Clean Energy customer for both compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, much of it derived from renewable sources; F&F, May 5).
Bt using alternative fuels, UPS displaced 25 million gallons of gasoline and diesel in 2014, amounting to 5.4% of total fuel use, Whitlatch said. In 2016, he said, 4,400 UPS-operated NGVs will displace 50 billion gallons – eliminating 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to taking 105,000 passenger vehicles or 27,000 UPS delivery trucks off the road.
Over at the MOVE Review
NGV Global’s Goldin made his remarks at the final MOVE program review, which wrapped on Tuesday. MOVE stands for Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy, a $30 million federal Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy program aimed at reducing the cost of onboard compressed natural gas vehicle storage three-fold, and the cost of compression by a factor of ten (F&F, July 13, 2012).
“We’ve done our part, it’s time for the community to do its part,” ARPA-E MOVE program director Jason Rugolo said after eight program participants detailed their progress on adsorbed natural gas, conformable CNG fuel vessels, and innovative compressor technologies.
Venture capitalists and CNG station builders – and experts like Goldin – were on hand to discuss just what it takes to move inventions to the commercial stage. “We don’t want these technologies to sit on the shelf,” Rugolo said. “The answer is strategic partnerships.” MOVE participants voiced their willingness to work together. Developers of AND systems and conformable fuel vessels may be expected to pool their efforts.
Among the veteran NGV industry speakers at the MOVE review was Mario Pirraglia, currently the president of Landi Renzo affiliate Safe North America, a compressor manufacturer. More than 1,000 CNG stations were built in North America in the early 1990s, but most had no anchor tenant and some 700 were subsequently decommissioned, Pirraglia said. And while new station activity has dipped significantly this year, Pirraglia said that the industry is unlikely to see an infrastructure falloff.
People have learned their lessons and the anchor tenant strategy is paying off. “It’s not the chicken and the egg anymore,” Pirraglia said. “It’s the rooster.”
NGVAmerica is holding a one-hour overview session
on ARPA-E’s MOVE program starting at 9:15 Wednesday morning.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels at the 2015 North American
Natural Gas Vehicle Conference & Expo in Denver