Arrangement with Intermountain Gas Said to Be the First in the Country
Liquefied natural gas provider Blu has installed a system to inject LNG boiloff into the utility grid – “the first of its kind in the country.” Boiloff from Blu’s LNG fueling station in Nampa, just west of Boise, Idaho is placed into the Intermountain Gas Company distribution system. substantially updated August 20
“This system captures boil-off gas from the LNG storage tank and returns it to the Intermountain natural gas pipeline, which eliminates the venting of excess LNG into the atmosphere,” Blu says.
“By returning excess gas to the natural gas distribution system, we are increasing efficiency, saving money, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Blu CEO Merritt Norton said in a release.
The arrangement with Intermountain – which supplies the Blu station with LNG from a peak-shave liquefaction facility in Nampa – “is helpful when you’re starting up a station,” Norton says – when there are often a limited number of truck customers. He told F&F that “the utilities that are selling LNG are the most cooperative” about taking it back.
Boiloff LNG is released from the LNG tank into a pressure regulator, warmed and returned to gaseous form, the company says. A mercaptan odorant is added. The gas is injected at a pressure suitable to the particular pipeline, in Nampa to 40 psi, although higher pressures are acceptable there if more boiloff has accumulated. “Prior to passing into the pipeline, the gas is metered, and the vented gas is sold to Intermountain at a commoditized rate,” Blu notes.
The firm cites “a minimal investment up front” and says the recapture system is “estimated to pay for itself within a year.” Norton says that the extra equipment costs between $10,000 and $20,000, dependent largely on the distance from the LNG tank to the receiving pipeline.
More Are Planned, In Idaho and Elsewhere
Blue says it plans to install gas recapture systems at its other Idaho facilities, including Jerome and Idaho Falls, “and eventually at all of its fueling stations that have access to a nearby natural gas pipeline and cooperation from the local gas utility.”
Applications are underway at two Midwest utilities and with one in the U.S. Southeast, he says.
Intermountain Gas was approved as an LNG vendor to non-utility customers by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission early in 2013. Its plant in Nampa can produce approximately 50,000 gallons of LNG per day. It has a 7.3 million galling storage tank.
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Source: Blu LNG with Fleets & Fuels follow-up