Two Plants to Start, with Potential that Dwarfs Current Capacity,
‘One of the Most Significant Milestones in Clean Energy’s History’
Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE) and GE Oil & Gas are teaming to produce LNG to support the fast-developing ANGH, Clean Energy’s “America’s Natural Gas Highway.” The firms have agreed that ANGH will take most of the output from two GE Ecomagination brand MicroLNG plants – each of which has the potential to dwarf the current U.S. capacity for liquefied natural gas for vehicles.
The first two MicroLNG plants will produce up to 250,000 gallons per day, the partners say. According to the two firms’ announcement, GE Energy Financial Services is providing up to $200 million in financing for the two facilities.
Plant start up is slated for 2015. The initial plants will be located in the upper Midwest and the Northeast, Clean Energy president and CEO Andrew Littlefair told reporters today. He predicted demand for 5 billion to 6 billion gallons per year over the next six to seven years. “In that case you’re going to need dozens of these plants,” he said.
“The agreement announced today with GE is one of the most significant milestones in Clean Energy’s history,” Littlefair says in today’s joint release.
“Each of these plants – in their base configuration – can produce more LNG than the Clean Energy Boron Plant in its fully built-out state,” one expert observer notes in reference to Clean Energy’s existing LNG facility east of Los Angeles. Clean Energy can produce up to 160,000 gallons of LNG per day at Boron, he notes, and is planning an 80,000-gallon expansion.
‘Plug-and-Play Modular Units’
“With the ability to expand each of these plants to 1 million gallons per day,” the observer says, each new GE MicroLNG facility “would represent more than twice the current merchant LNG production capacity in the U.S.”
The GE plants are described as plug-and-play modular units, “designed to rapidly liquefy natural gas while minimizing a site’s physical footprint.”
“As the long-haul trucking industry begins its transition to natural gas, it will be critical to have a reliable supply of LNG,” Littlefair said. “No other company is as uniquely qualified as GE to help address this need due to its vast experience in energy, technology innovations and financing capabilities.
“GE partnering with Clean Energy on these two facilities will not only help ensure an adequate LNG supply for our stations,” Littlefair said, “it is another confirmation that the transition to natural gas as a transportation fuel is gaining momentum.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Littlefair told reporters.
Based on World-Scale Units in Qatar and Australia
“GE is committed to natural gas,” said GE Oil & Gas president and CEO Dan Heintzelman.
“From extraction to transport to power generation – we continue to develop solutions that infuse new technologies into the value chain and help improve every step of the natural gas development and deployment life cycle,” Heintzelman said in the joint announcement.
“Our Ecomagination-qualified MicroLNG plant was born from the same turbomachinery technology that has made GE a success in large LNG compression such as in the world-scale plants in Qatar and Australia,” Heintzelman said.
“By taking this technology and reengineering it so that it’s modular and highly efficient, we are able to help customers such as Clean Energy deliver this abundant and cleaner fuel source to the market.”
GE’s MicroLNG plant can liquefy natural gas at any point along a gas distribution network, the two firms said, “making it ideal for supporting the fueling of vehicles in remote locations by reducing the impact of long distance fuel transport.”
GE for Construction and Installation
The announcement states that that the system to be used by Clean Energy will produce 250,000 gallons of LNG per day, or about 54 million DGEs (diesel gallon equivalents) per year with the built-in capability for further expansion – a 67% increase over the capacity of the MicroLNG unit introduced in January of 2012.
LNG produced with this MicroLNG system can be used to fuel approximately 28,000 heavy trucks, says the release.
GE also is providing turnkey process/plant construction and consultations on optimal plant location and power partner. The scope of the agreement also includes project installation. It entails not only the liquefaction but also the complete process design from the pre-treatment of the gas to the storage system.
Mike Hosford is global GM for unconventional fuel solutions at GE.
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Source: Clean Energy Fuels and GE Oil & Gas with Fleets & Fuels follow-up