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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Wärtsilä to acquire biogas upgrader Puregas Solutions

October 06, 2017

The technology group Wärtsilä has reached an agreement to acquire Puregas Solutions, a Sweden-based provider of turnkey biogas upgrading solutions. Puregas is a leading player in its field with subsidiary companies in Germany, Denmark, the UK, and the US. The company utilizes a unique CApure process to convert raw biogas to biomethane and renewable natural gas.

The CApure process recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in the raw biogas. The process separates the CO2 from the biogas by a process of chemical adsorption. The selective organic solvents used in this process are so efficient that the end product can contain more than 99% methane and is suitable for vehicle fuel or to be injected into the natural gas grid.

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New Euro6 trucks from Volvo running on LNG offer the same performance as diesel, but with 20-100% lower CO₂ emissions

October 04, 2017

Volvo Trucks is now introducing Euro 6-compliant heavy duty trucks running on liquefied natural gas or biogas. The new trucks have the same performance, driveability and fuel consumption as Volvo’s diesel-powered models. Furthermore, the new trucks’ CO₂ emissions are 20–100% lower compared with diesel, depending on choice of fuel. The new Volvo FH LNG and Volvo FM LNG are available with 420 or 460 hp for heavy regional and long-haul operations.

Instead of an Otto cycle engine, which is the conventional solution for gas-powered vehicles, the Volvo FH LNG and Volvo FM LNG are powered by gas engines utilizing Diesel cycle technology. This means that an operator who chooses gas can do so without compromising on driveability, fuel efficiency or reliability. Volvo’s 460 hp gas engine delivers maximum torque of 2300 N·m while the 420 hp version produces 2100 N·m. This is the same as Volvo’s corresponding diesel engines. Fuel consumption is on a par with Volvo’s diesel engines, but 15 to 25% lower than for conventional gas engines.

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Audi A4 and A5 now available to order as g-tron in Europe; Audi e-gas for 3 years as standard

August 18, 2017

Audi’s two latest natural-gas alternatives in the midsize category—the new A4 Avant g-tron (earlier post) and the new A5 Sportback g-tron—are now available for order in Europe. Both models are powered by a bivalent 2.0 TFSI engine developing 170 hp. Like the A3 Sportback g-tron that is already on the market (earlier post), they can run on a choice of the climate-friendly fuel Audi e-gas, conventional CNG (compressed natural gas) or gasoline.

A 2.0 TFSI engine powers both the A4 Avant g-tron and the A5 Sportback g-tron. It develops 125 kW (170 hp) and achieves torque of 270 N·m (199.1 lb-ft). The newly developed engine is based on the new gasoline-powered 2.0 TFSI with innovative combustion principle based on the Miller cycle (earlier post).

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Audi offers up to €10,000 trade-in bonus for switching from Euro 1-4 diesels to Euro 6; biomethane benefit

August 09, 2017

Audi AG is offering trade-in bonuses to customers who switch to an Audi with Euro 6 standard from diesel-powered cars with emission standards Euro 1 through Euro 4. The price advantage is scaled by model.

Depending on the category of the new car, it amounts to between €3,000 and €10,000. The bonus is especially attractive for customers who select an Audi with plug-in-hybrid technology or a g-tron model that runs on CNG (compressed natural gas). The initiative is applicable in Germany with immediate effect. The Volkswagen brand has launched a similar offering. (Earlier post.)

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Cenex involved in large-scale UK trial of biomethane-fueled heavy-duty trucks

August 06, 2017

Cenex—the UK’s first Center of Excellence for low carbon technologies—announced its involvement in the UK’s largest trial of biomethane-fueled trucks. Led by Air Liquide and funded in part by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK via the recently launched Low Emission Freight and Logistics Project (earlier post), the “Dedicated to Gas” trial will see large fleet operators—including Kuehne + Nagel; Wincanton; ASDA; Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear—test the effectiveness of 81 dedicated gas-powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

The trucks in trial range from 12 to 44 tonnes, and are all new to the UK market. The trial will road test the HGVs across 10 different vehicle configurations, generting data on vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and cost.

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BP acquiring upstream portion of Clean Energy’s renewable gas business for $155M

March 01, 2017

BP will acquire the upstream portion of Clean Energy’s renewable natural gas business and sign a long-term supply contract with Clean Energy to support the firm’s continuing downstream renewable natural gas business. The deal enables both companies to accelerate the growth in renewable natural gas supply and meet the growing demand of the natural gas vehicle fuel market.

Renewable natural gas (RNG) fuel—biomethane—is produced entirely from organic waste. As a fuel for natural gas vehicle fleets, including heavy-duty trucks, it is estimated to result in 70% lower greenhouse gas emissions than from equivalent gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicles.

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DOE to award up to $1.2M to project converting wastewater solids to biogas and liquid fuels; hydrothermal processing

February 11, 2017

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced a pilot hydrothermal wastewater processing project has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive up to $1.2 million in federal funding. SoCalGas is part of a consortium conducting the pilot, which will be required to share the cost at a minimum of 50% in order to receive federal funds. The consortium is being led by the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WERF).

The project will use Genifuel hydrothermal processing technology (HTP) to convert wastewater solids into renewable natural gas as well as liquid fuels. DOE funding is expected to pay for about half of the design and planning of a pilot plant to produce these renewable fuels at a municipal wastewater treatment facility near Oakland, California. SoCalGas will help oversee the project’s design and assist in obtaining state and federal regulatory approvals and incentives.

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DuPont Industrial Biosciences awarded grant for high-efficiency biogas enzyme production

January 26, 2017

DuPont Industrial Biosciences has been awarded a grant from the European Commission to demonstrate high-efficiency enzyme production to increase biogas yields as part of the DEMETER project, funded from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program. Enzyme technology has been proven to improve biogas yields and process robustness, ultimately increasing customers’ revenue and profitability while increasing offerings in renewable energy.

The objective of DEMETER (Demonstrating More Efficient Enzyme Production To Increase Biogas Yields) is to increase the yield of this industrial fermentation process by at least 20%; improve the product recovery process by 40%; and reduce overall product cost by at least 15% while increasing the productivity of the process. In addition, DEMETER will demonstrate the efficacy of the enzyme in 8 field trials in biogas plants throughout Europe.

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Cummins Westport ISB6.7 G midrange natural gas engine now in full production

December 09, 2016

Cummins Westport’s ISB6.7 G, a 6.7 liter midrange, factory-built natural gas engine is now fully available as a production engine for shuttle bus, medium duty truck, and vocational applications in North America. (Earlier post.) As previously announced, the engine has been available for school bus applications since May 2016 from Thomas Built Buses. The 6.7 liter engine platform has large OEM availability for midrange trucks, vocational trucks and mid size buses and the expansion of applications potentially available for the ISB6.7 G engine more than doubles its addressable market.

The ISB6.7 G is based on the Cummins ISB6.7 diesel engine platform, the industry leader in the Cummins midrange engine family, and operates exclusively on natural gas, including compressed, liquid, or renewable natural gas (RNG). The ISB6.7 G is the second engine from Cummins Westport (CWI) to receive emission certification from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Air Resources Board (ARB) in California for meeting the Optional Low NOx Emissions standards.

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Study finds renewable natural gas could meet ~85% of current natural gas use in transport in California by 2020s; much higher volumes possible with right policies

December 05, 2016

A study by a team from UC Davis for the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has found that the state could produce 14 bcf (billion cubic feet) per year of renewable natural gas (RNG) (biomethane) by the 2020s, meeting roughly 85% of current natural gas use in transport California at LCFS (Low Carbon Fuel Standard) credits of $120 per metric ton of CO2.

In addition, RNG use could be much higher if the LCFS credits were combined with US federal RIN credits (Renewable Identification Number, part of the Renewable Fuels Standard, RFS), the study found. Given the appropriate policy and market measures, the state’s RNG production potential is 90.6 bcf/yr (≈ 750 million gasoline gallons). The main barriers to large-scale RNG use are the state’s high cost of pipeline interconnect and the cost of upgrading to pipeline standards.

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CNG Fuels launches renewable biomethane in UK; heavy-duty fleet operators committing to use

December 04, 2016

In the UK, CNG Fuels launched its renewable biomethane fuel, the most cost-effective and lowest-carbon alternative to diesel for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The fuel is 35%-40% cheaper than diesel, and emits 70% less CO2 on a well-to-wheel basis. It therefore offers fleet operators the chance to significantly reduce running costs and emissions. Retailers Waitrose, John Lewis and Argos, as well as hauler Brit European, have already committed to using the new biomethane fuel for their long-distance articulated trucks.

CNG Fuels is the UK’s leading supplier of CNG (compressed natural gas) fuel, and it is now sourcing its entire supply from biomethane. The biomethane is made from the gas harvested through the processing of waste generated by food production, which is then injected directly into gas pipelines. The gas is subsequently compressed at CNG Fuels’ own high-capacity refueling stations in Leyland (Lancashire) and Crewe (Cheshire).

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Big Blue Bus receives nearly $900K to purchase 58 new Cummins-Westport Near-Zero NOx engines

November 22, 2016

In California, Big Blue Bus (BBB) will receive $870,000 from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee’s (MSRC) Near Zero Engine Incentive Program. Big Blue Bus will use the grant approved by the MSRC partially to fund the purchase of 58 new Cummins-Westport 8.9L ISL G Near-Zero (NZ) 0.02 NOx engines. The NZ engine is the first mid-range engine in North America to receive emission certifications from both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) meeting the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards. (Earlier post.)

The new engines will be installed over a period of 3 to 4 years, at a rate of 12 to 18 buses per year.

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CarboSax: new joint venture for more sustainable carbon fiber production forms in Germany

October 13, 2016

PD Glasseiden, a Germany-based producer of fiberglass; European Carbon Fiber GmbH; and the ForschungsCampus Open Hybrid LabFactory e.V., established under the auspices of the Lower Saxony Research Centre for Vehicle Technology at the TU Braunschweig and Volkswagen AG have formed a joint venture—CarboSax GmbH—to pursue developing, manufacturing and distributing more sustainable carbon fibers in Germany.

In the first step at a location in Chemnitz, Saxony, CarboSax will build a pilot line for the sustainable production of carbon fibers. The objective of this carbon fiber pilot line production is a significant reduction in production costs by 30% over currently available commercial carbon fibers. This cost reduction is required to further enable the use of carbon fiber in mass production in the automotive industry, mechanical engineering and wind power. An equal objective is a reduction of at least 50% in CO2 emissions from carbon fiber production.

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