New President Has Measured Strategy, Better LNG Tanks
And Technology to Deal with Boiloff at Fueling Stations,
Firm Is Looking Ahead to High Horsepower Markets Too
Salt Lake City-based Blu LNG has a new president in the person of Shell veteran James Burns, who has taken the helm with a mandate to “lead Blu’s day-to-day operations and strategic direction with a specific focus on maximizing the company’s recent innovations and working to expand its reach in domestic LNG use.”
Blu’s innovations include a precedent-setting underground liquefied natural gas storage tank facility the firm has designed to make better use of space at fueling stations, and a system for using boiloff gas to drive a small turbine engine to make electricity. The underground LNG tank is ready for use at Blu’s next retail station, Burns says, while a turbine is already at work at Blu’s West Haven LNG outlet in Ogden, Utah.
“With this turbine system, our fueling station generates its own electricity, and our LNG customers get more efficiency,” he says. The electricity is metered, and if it exceeds the station’s needs it is sold back to the local utility.
Boiloff Re-Injection and the ‘V2’ Tank System
Previously announced Blu innovations include a system to re-inject boiloff gas back into the utility pipeline – in place at Blu’s LNG station in Nampa, just west of Boise, Idaho, per agreement with Intermountain Gas (F&F, August 15), and the “V2” onboard LNG fuel tank for trucks.
The V2 tank, Burns says, is especially significant as it has potential to drive the incremental cost of an LNG truck to about $35,000, down from $50,000 today. Blu said in announcing the new tank system last year that it hoped to reduce the payback time for an LNG truck to just one year (F&F, October 13).
‘A Fuel of the Future, Available Today’
Burns says that he’s maintaining his predecessor’s focus on high horsepower markets for LNG fuel, seeing opportunities in the marine, rail, mining and industrial sectors.
“We believe LNG is a fuel of the future that is available today,” he says, a clean fuel that “makes sense even in today’s market.” The current price of oil has slowed the pace of development, he concedes, but is “a blip.”
“It’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ prices will go up,” Burns told F&F. “Current prices are just not sustainable.”
Blu’s plans to expand beyond its current 25 LNG fueling outlets? “We will invest as aggressively as we can in this market,” he says, “as much as the market will allow.”
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Source: Fleets & Fuels interview with Blu LNG