Archive, Product News

US drives on with LNG bowser network

Link between road gas retailer and truckstops owner bearing fruit as engine makers also forge ahead on alternate fuel

By Matt Wood | December 17, 2012

The American transport industy’s love affair with natural gas continues to gain momentum with the imminent completion of stage one of the country’s first major liquified natural gas (LNG) network.

The network which will eventually cover the vast majority of the American interstate highway network is the result of the a partnership between natural gas supplier Clean Energy and Pilot-Flying J truckstops.

Many of the initial LNG refuelling facilites have been installed at existing Flying J locations with the company owning and operating 550 truckstops across the US.

Speaking recently at the American Trucking Associations (ATA) summit on Natural Gas in Trucking, Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy’s President and CEO, says: “We have created America’s Natural Gas Highway to support the growing number of long-haul truckers and shippers who are deploying factory-built, heavy-duty trucks powered by natural gas fuel. LNG-fueled trucks can now travel the country and reap the benefits of fuel cost savings, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and the lower emissions profile that characterizes this abundant American resource.”

The end of 2012 will see at least 70 retail LNG sites completed with between 70 and 80 slated for completion by the end of 2013.

Engine manufacturer Cummins is expecting to release it’s much anticipated spark ignition, 12litre ISX G natural gas powered engine into the American market in the next few months.

This follows on the heels of a partnership with gas engine manufacturer, Westport Innovations over the last decade and Westports development of the 15 litre ISX based Westport HD high pressure injection LNG powerpant which has found favour with some Australian operators already.

As the American truck market struggles to come to grips with EPA10 emission standards, and the consequences of high exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) flow rates.

Interest in natural gas has grown from US based manufacturers from Paccar stalwarts Kenworth and Peterbilt to fellow heavy duty competitors Freightliner and Navistar.

California is also set to mandate class 8 (heavy duty) diesel fuel consumption levels by 2015 adding further impetus to the natural gas cause.

ATA Chairman Michael Card, also states at the summit that
“We are truly at the cusp of a potential revolutionary change in the trucking industry”, as it moves toward more use of natural gas as a transport fuel.

To help drivers and operators beome familiar with new gas refueling station locations a fuel finder smart phone app is also being introduced.

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