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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.]

Kenworth developing hydrogen fuel cell, Near Zero NOx CNG series hybrid Class 8 prototypes for SoCal ports; CNG hybrids

May 03, 2017

Kenworth continues its advancements on low/zero emission projects focused on Kenworth T680 day cabs for drayage tractor operation in Southern California ports, which are backed by $9 million in government grants awarded last August.

Kenworth is developing a prototype Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell tractor, using the Ballard Power Systems fuel cell to recharge the battery pack. The hydrogen fuel cell series hybrid T680 day cab tractor uses lithium-ion batteries to power a dual-rotor electric motor, driving the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission. Kenworth’s hydrogen truck is expected to be ready for initial track and on-road testing in the fourth quarter of this year.

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Cummins Westport announces MY 2018 natural gas engine line-up; near zero NOx

May 01, 2017

Cummins Westport (CWI) announced its model year 2018 dedicated natural gas engines for regional haul truck / tractor, vocational and transit, school bus, and refuse applications at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, California. The new lineup comes with a change in names, following Cummins tradition of using B, L, and X series letters, followed by engine displacement. The letter “N” denotes engines that are fueled by natural gas.

The new B6.7N, L9N, and ISX12N engines feature Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) Optional Low NOx certification, On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), Closed Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) systems, and performance and reliability improvements. (Earlier post.) The new ISX12N features a redesigned fuel system with fewer parts and improved performance.

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Volkswagen introduces new Coasting 2.0 micro hybrid system and new natural gas engine at Vienna Motor Symposium

April 27, 2017

At the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium Volkswagen is introducing a new, more fuel-efficient “Coasting - Engine off” micro hybrid system—which shuts off the engine completely—as well as a new, compact three-cylinder natural gas engine for the Polo.

Volkswagen is also highlighting its spectrum of efficiency and electrification solutions all the way to further optimized battery-powered propulsion as in the new e-Golf and the coming new MEB-based electric vehicles exemplified by its series of I.D. concepts.

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GE and SCE unveil first battery-gas turbine hybrid system

April 18, 2017

GE and Southern California Edison (SCE) unveiled the first battery-gas turbine hybrid system in Norwalk, California: the LM6000 Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine (Hybrid EGT). The hybrid system, the first of two to be deployed at SCE sites, was developed in response to changing regulations and grid requirements in the wake of the devastating gas leak from California’s Aliso Canyon storage facility and will ultimately support increasing renewable energy capacity on the California grid.

This hybrid system supports SCE’s increasing renewable energy capacity by providing quick start, fast ramping capabilities when they are needed. The unit integrates a 10 MW, 4.3 MWh Li-ion battery energy storage system, capable of immediately providing power with GE’s proven 50MW LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine, which offers 56% combined cycle efficiency.

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OSU team developing Gas and Biomass to Liquids (GBTL) technology for production of liquid hydrocarbons

April 12, 2017

Researchers at Oklahoma State University are developing a novel natural Gas and Biomass to Liquids (GBTL) technology that will synergistically use biomass (e.g. switchgrass and eastern red cedar) and methane to produce liquid hydrocarbons that are compatible with existing infrastructure.

The work is led by Dr. Ajay Kumar in collaboration with Dr. Allen Apblett. The team uses a synergistic reaction system consisting of activation of methane and deoxygenation of pyrolysis-derived volatiles with metal-loaded HZSM-5 catalysts.

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HYREADY collaboration supports introduction of power-to-gas H2 into natural gas infrastructure

March 31, 2017

The addition of hydrogen produced by renewable sources (e.g., electrolysis powered by renewable electricity) to natural gas supports the decarbonization of the natural gas system and integration of sustainable energy sources. However, the properties of hydrogen differ significantly from those of natural gas, and its introduction into the gas infrastructure may negatively impact public safety, the integrity of the gas system and the performance of end-use equipment.

The HYREADY joint industry project (JIP), led by DNV GL, intends to encourage the industry to “Be ready for Hydrogen” by developing practical processes and procedures for the introduction of hydrogen to the grid. HYREADY focuses on the consequences of H2 added to natural gas in an existing specific network and on feasible countermeasures to mitigate these consequences.

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Ascend Energy and Atrex Energy demo tubular SOFC electric ATV, fueled by natural gas

March 29, 2017

Ascend Energy, in collaboration with solid oxide fuel cell manufacturer Atrex Energy, released the results of a joint project to demonstrate a newly developed tubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in an electric all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The project was supported by a $146,283 Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) from the California Energy Commission.

Ascend worked with Tructronics Inc., idea Solutions Design, and JB Mechanical to integrate and install a commercial 1000 Watt Atrex Energy fuel cell power generator fueled with compressed natural gas in an all-electric Polaris Ranger ATV. ATVs are in common use in California farms, ranches and orchards as a utility vehicle but the gasoline-fueled versions make a significant contribution to poor air quality in the farm regions of the state.

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CDP Technologies offering new gaseous fuels aftermarket cylinder head package for GM 6.0L engines

March 17, 2017

CDP Technologies, the OEM sales division of Crazy Diamond Performance Inc., will offer a new aftermarket gaseous fuels-prepped cylinder head package for GM 6.0L engines. The new CDP cylinder head will be available for the popular GM engines that have been, or are slated to be, converted to a gaseous alternative fuel engine.

One of the components in Crazy Diamond Performance’s upcoming CDP TorqueDrive (TD) engine, CDP’s new cylinder head has been engineered to incorporate higher airflow, strength and durability than the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) unit. The CDP gaseous prep cylinder head includes ultra-high strength stainless steel valves, proprietary hardened valve seats and revised seals.

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UPS to invest more than additional $90M in natural gas vehicles and infrastructure; 6 new CNG stations, 440 vehicles

March 16, 2017

UPS plans to build an additional six compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and add 390 new CNG tractors and terminal trucks and 50 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles to its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. UPS further cements its leadership in the alternative fuel market while continuing to reduce its environmental footprint with this more than $90 million investment in natural gas.

UPS has deployed more than 4,400 natural gas vehicles and a network of fueling stations, said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability. In 2016, UPS used more than 61 million gallons of natural gas in its ground fleet, which included 4.6 million gallons of renewable natural gas. The resulting decrease in the use of conventional gas and diesel decreased CO2 emissions by 100,000 metric tons, he said.

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New MAN Diesel & Turbo ME-GIE two-stroke engine can use VOCs as fuel

March 11, 2017

The world’s first ME-GIE ethane-combusting two-stroke engine has been delivered from MAN Diesel & Turbo licensee Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (MES) in Japan. The Mitsui-MAN B&W 7G50ME-C9.5-GIE is the first engine in a series of three.

Further research has led to new possibilities for this engine leading to new prospects for multi-fuel combustion including the combustion of waste gas. The benefits of the diesel-type combustion are now fully exploited in the ability of the two-stroke engine to run on almost any gas quality without efficiency reductions, and in the complete combustion maintained by a relatively high gas injection pressure.

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Audi introduces new A4 Avant g-tron; Audi e-gas offered as standard

March 07, 2017

Audi has introduced the natural-gas-fueled A4 Avant g-tron; dealers in Europe will begin taking orders for the midsize model starting in early summer 2017. It can be selected with climate-friendly Audi e-gas (synthetic natural gas produced with renewable energy in a Power-to-Gas process, earlier post) or compressed natural gas (CNG), or can be powered with gasoline.

Additionally, Audi is now offering e-gas to power the A3 Sportback g-tron as standard; customers will pay only the regular natural gas price. With this deal, Audi is reducing the CO2 emissions of the g-tron fleet when running on gas by 80%. When the new A4 Avant g-tron and the A5 Sportback g-tron come on market later this year, the e-gas offer as standard will apply to these models as well.

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IACMI launches new technical collaboration project for advanced compressed natural gas storage

February 21, 2017

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI)—a 100+ member, University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Department of Energy led consortium committed to increasing domestic production capacity and manufacturing jobs across the US composites industry—launched the first technical collaboration project in the compressed gas storage focus area.

The project will combine partnership efforts from DuPont Performance Materials (DuPont), the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), Composite Prototyping Center (CPC) and Steelhead Composites. The target objective of the project is to provide unique advantages to the storage of compressed natural gas with the use of thermoplastic composite technologies to achieve better durability, weight reduction and recyclability.

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Georgia Tech team furthers four-stroke-cycle active-membrane piston reactor for enhanced SMR for H2 production

February 17, 2017

Steam methane reforming is currently the primary pathway for hydrogen production worldwide. However, due to its high operating temperature and use of sequential units for the reaction stages, industrial SMR does not scale down well for distributed, point-of-use applications such as fuel cell vehicle refueling stations.

Seeking to develop an SMR system suited for such distributed applications, a team from Georgia Tech in 2014 proposed the sorption-enhanced CO2/H2 Active Membrane Piston reactor (CHAMP-SORB)—a variable-volume batch reactor for the production of hydrogen from catalytic steam reforming of methane that operates in a cycle similar to that of an internal combustion engine. Now, in a paper published in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the team has developed a comprehensive analysis of the system, focused on understanding the heat/mass transfer and reaction/separation interactions to develop guidelines for scale-up.

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New CE-CERT report finds Cummins Wesport ISL G near-zero gas engine performs with lower NOx than EPA certification standard over range of cycles

February 02, 2017

A report released by the University of California Riverside’s College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), found that the new 8.9L Cummins Westport ISL G near-zero (NZ) natural gas engine (earlier post) meets and exceeds the certification standards during a full range of duty cycles. This finding is in stark contrast to previously released CE-CERT data and a recently released report by the California Air Resources Board that found heavy-duty diesel trucks emitted higher levels of NOx than their certification standards in the same duty cycles.

With the near-zero emission factors demonstrated for natural gas vehicles, it is expected that these vehicles could play an important role in providing much needed emissions reductions required for the South Coast Air Basin and California to reach federal air quality attainment standards.

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BP Energy Outlook: 30% growth in global demand to 2035; fuel demand continues to rise, even with EVs & fuel efficiency

January 25, 2017

The 2017 edition of the BP Energy Outlook, published today, forecasts that global demand for energy will increase by around 30% between 2015 and 2035, an average growth of 1.3% per year. However, this growth in energy demand is significantly lower than the 3.4% per year rise expected in global GDP, reflecting improved energy efficiency driven by technology improvements and environmental concerns. The Outlook looks at long-term energy trends and develops projections for world energy markets over the next two decades.

While non-fossil fuels are expected to account for half of the growth in energy supplies over the next 20 years, the Outlook projects that oil and gas, together with coal, will remain the main source of energy powering the world economy, accounting for more than 75% of total energy supply in 2035, compared with 86% in 2015.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, IVECO and ENGIE collaborating to promote natural gas in Europe starting from Belgium

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), IVECO (a brand of CNH Industrial) and ENGIE (Global Energy Player) are broadly collaborating to promote natural gas vehicles and infrastructure in Europe. This collaboration is in line with the implementation of the DAFI Directive (Directive 2014/94 - Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructures), with a particular focus on certain countries and regions, starting from Wallonia, Belgium.

At the “Salon de l’Auto” in Brussels, the Minister of Mobility and Environment announced a program for the improvement of air quality in Wallonia. In line with COP 21, the Walloon strategy envisages that 50% of its public fleet vehicles, in need of replacement, will run on alternative fuels starting from 1 January 2017, and the percentage will rise to 100% starting from 1 January 2030. The Government of Wallonia also set a new regulation to promote the development of CNG infrastructure.

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WVU study fully characterizes pump-to-wheels methane emissions from HD natural gas vehicles and fueling stations

January 12, 2017

Researchers at West Virginia University have characterized pump-to-wheels methane emissions from heavy-duty (HD) natural-gas-fueled vehicles and the compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations that serve them. The study, published as an open-access paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, greatly expands on very limited data on methane emissions from natural gas-fueled vehicles.

The WVU pump-to-wheels study is the first end-use paper in a collaborative scientific research series designed to measure and better understand the sources and amount of greenhouse-gas methane that is emitted across the natural gas supply chain.

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ExxonMobil develops efficient new technology to dehydrate natural gas; exclusive license to Sulzer

January 05, 2017

ExxonMobil has developed new technology for natural gas dehydration that employs a patented absorption system inside pipes and replaces the need for conventional dehydration tower technology. The “in-line” cMIST (Compact Mass transfer and Inline Separation Technology) could be deployed at both land-based and offshore natural gas production operations and represents a step-change in efficiency and a concomitant significant reduction in operational footprint.

The new technology, developed and extensively field-tested by ExxonMobil, more efficiently removes water vapor present during the production of natural gas. Removing water vapor through the use of dehydration technology, typically accomplished using large and expensive dehydration towers, reduces corrosion and equipment interference helping to ensure the safe and efficient transport of natural gas through the supply infrastructure and ultimately to consumers.

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DOE awards $18M to 5 projects to accelerate development of plug-in electric vehicles & use of other alternative fuels

December 23, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $18 million to five projects for research, development, and demonstration of innovative plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and direct injection propane engine technologies, as well as community-based projects to accelerate the adoption of light, medium and heavy duty vehicles that operate on fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, E85, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane.

Odyne Systems, LLC will receive $2.9 million to develop and demonstrate plug-in hybrid work trucks (class 7) that reduce fuel consumption by more than 50% and eliminate fuel consumption during stationary operations.

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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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Eco-Motive reveals prototype H-Motor dual fuel engine; road testing to begin soon

December 02, 2016

Eco-Motive, a startup developing what it calls the first dual-fuel “H” engine (earlier post), revealed photos of a full-scale prototype of the Eco-Motive H-Motor. The prototype was completed in February 2016 and was built to reflect the engine configuration when installed in a vehicle; testing in driving applications will begin soon.

The H-shaped engine has parallel left-side and right-side vertical inline piston banks, each with a crankshaft and pistons, cylinder head, and individual fuel feeds, but sharing a common power transmission system. The H-motor—essentially two separate engines housed within the same engine block—can be powered by either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG), at the driver’s decision.

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Chevrolet and GMC expand alternative fuel fleet offerings; expanded CNG/LPG lineup

November 22, 2016

Chevrolet and GMC are partnering with Power Solutions International, Inc. (PSI) to introduce heavy-duty pickups and full-size vans powered by 6.0-liter V-8 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-capable engines starting in the first quarter of 2017. Chevrolet also will offer CNG and LPG versions of its new Low Cab Forward commercial truck.

The announcement follows the selection of PSI, based in Wood Dale, Illinois, as General Motors Fleet’s preferred upfitter for CNG and LPG trucks. PSI is one of North America’s largest and most experienced providers of integrated turn-key, alternative-fuel powertrain solutions.

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

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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Oil and Gas Climate Initiative to invest $1B over 10 years in low-emissions tech

November 04, 2016

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) will invest $1 billion over the next ten years to develop and to accelerate the commercial deployment of innovative low-emissions technologies.

Led by the heads of ten oil and gas companies that aim to lead the industry response to climate change, OGCI member companies—BP, CNPC, Eni, Pemex, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco, Statoil and Total—together represent one fifth of the world’s oil and gas production. The OGCI was established following discussions during the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, and was officially launched at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York in September 2014.

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Cummins Westport begins production of ISL G Near Zero NOx natural gas engine; first commercially available near zero NOx MidRange engine

October 14, 2016

Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) announced that orders are being processed and production of the ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine (earlier post) has commenced. The 8.9-liter ISL G NZ is the first MidRange engine in North America to receive emission certification from both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California to meet the optional 0.02 g/bhp-hr. Near Zero NOx Emissions standards eight years in advance of the 2023 California Near Zero NOx schedule and contributing to California Clean Air initiatives.

Exhaust emissions of the ISL G NZ are 90% lower than the current EPA and ARB NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr and also meet the 2017 EPA greenhouse gas (GHG) emission requirements. CWI natural gas engines have met the 2010 EPA standard for particulate matter (0.01 g/bhp-hr) since 2001.

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FCA, IVECO and Snam sign MoU for development of natural gas as an environmentally friendly vehicle fuel

October 06, 2016

Alfredo Altavilla (Chief Operating Officer of FCA EMEA Region), Pierre Lahutte (IVECO Brand President) and Marco Alverà (Chief Executive Officer of Snam), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at fostering the development of natural gas as a fuel for road vehicles. The MoU was signed in the presence of Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Graziano Delrio, and is part of a wider set of initiatives to promote sustainable mobility.

Italy is the leading European market for natural gas consumption for vehicles, with more than 1 billion cubic meters consumed in 2015 and about 1 million vehicles currently in circulation. Italy’s natural gas value chain in the transport sector is globally recognized for its technological and environmental excellence, and Italy is also able to leverage Europe’s largest, most accessible gas pipeline network, stretching over more than 32,000 km (20,000 miles).

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GD Tech delivers prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for 13L IVECO engine; HDGas project

September 24, 2016

GDTech Engineering s.a. has developed and delivered prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for heavy-duty long-haul LNG mono-fuel engines.

This injector will be applied in the future IVECO Cursor 13 DI-CNG engine being developed as part of the HDGas project in Europe. GDTech is the injector supplier to Fiat Powertrain Technology Industrial (which is in charge of the development of new IVECO engines for coaches, buses & industrial applications).

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Cal Energy Commission approves $1M grant to develop 12L near-zero NOx nat gas engine

September 15, 2016

The California Energy Commission approved a $1-million grant to develop a 12-liter natural gas engine that produces near-zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) tailpipe emissions. The engines would be suitable for heavy-duty vehicles. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will work with Cummins Westport, Inc., to develop the engine. Cummins has a history of developing natural gas engines for heavy-duty application, and its engines are being used globally in a variety of commercial vehicles.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2010 emission standards for heavy-duty engines establish a limit for NOx emissions of 0.2 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr), and constitute a 90% reduction of emissions compared to the previous standard (CARB 2007) of 2.0 g/bhp-hr. Nevertheless, it is projected that even with the entire on-road fleet of heavy-duty vehicles compliant with the 2010 standards, upcoming National Ambient Air Quality Standards requirements for ozone attainment cannot be achieved in California’s worst air basins without further significant reductions in NOx emissions from heavy-duty fleets.

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Gen 2 Audi A5 Sportback available as bivalent g-tron; Audi e-gas, natural gas or gasoline

September 07, 2016

Following on the heels of the introduction of the second-generation A5 in June (earlier post), Audi has now introduced the new A5 and S5 Sportback coupé models.

The second generation comes with a completely reengineered suspension, high-performance drives and innovative driver assistance systems. The S5 takes to the road with a new six-cylinder turbo engine developing 354 hp (264 kW) and 500 N·m (369 lb-ft). In a new departure, the A5 Sportback is also available as a bivalent g-tron, which customers can run on either Audi e-gas (earlier post), natural gas or gasoline.

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UTA study indicates air contamination near fracking sites result of operational inefficiencies, not inherent to the extraction process

August 27, 2016

A study led by chemists at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) indicates that highly variable contamination events registered in and around unconventional oil and gas developments are the result of operational inefficiencies and not inherent to the extraction process itself.

The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, found highly variable levels of ambient BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene compounds) in and around fracking gas drilling sites in the Eagle Ford shale region in South Texas. In situ air quality measurements using membrane inlet mobile mass spectrometry revealed ambient benzene and toluene concentrations as high as 1000 and 5000 parts-per-billion, respectively, originating from specific sub-processes on unconventional oil and gas well pad sites. BTEX compounds in high concentrations can be carcinogenic and have harmful effects on the nervous system.

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Kenworth receives $8.6M in grants for low-emission T680 Day Cab drayage truck projects in California; hybrids, CNG hybrid and fuel cell

August 20, 2016

Kenworth has been awarded three government grants totaling $8.6 million that will support low emissions projects involving Kenworth T680 Day Cabs targeted for use as drayage tractors in Southern California ports.

The first two projects are funded at $1.9 million each by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build two, proof-of-concept T680 Day Cab drayage tractors to transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards along the I-710 corridor in the Los Angeles basin.

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New Flyer adds 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine to Xcelsior bus lineup; debuting in LA

August 18, 2016

Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc., the largest heavy-duty transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, is adding the 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine (earlier post) to its Xcelsior bus family. New Flyer is the first transit manufacturer to offer the industry’s cleanest certified engine and will deliver the first original OEM installation of a the engine in the third quarter of 2016.

The ISL G NZ compressed natural gas is certified by both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California to meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards for medium-duty truck, urban bus, school bus and refuse applications. The engine will be used to power a New Flyer Xcelsior XN40 bus for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). LA Metro operates the largest natural gas engine transit vehicle fleet in North America.

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Study quantifies impact of oil and gas emissions on Denver’s ozone problem

August 12, 2016

The first peer-reviewed study to directly quantify how emissions from oil and natural gas (O&NG) activities influence summertime tropospheric ozone (O3) pollution in the Colorado Front Range confirms that chemical vapors from oil and gas activities are a significant contributor to the region’s chronic ozone problem.

Summertime ozone pollution levels in the northern Front Range periodically spike above 70 parts per billion (ppb), which is considered unhealthy—on average, 17 ppb of that ozone is produced locally. The new research, published in an open-access paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, shows that oil and gas emissions contribute an average of 3 ppb of the locally produced ozone daily, and potentially more than that on high-ozone days.

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Surprise Natural Gas Drawdown Signals Higher Prices Ahead

August 09, 2016

by Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

The US electric power sector burned through a record amount of natural gas in recent weeks, a sign of the shifting power generation mix and also a signal that natural gas supplies could get tighter than many analysts had previously expected.

The EIA reported a surprise drawdown in natural gas inventories for the week ending on August 3. The reduction of 6 billion cubic feet (Bcf) was the first summertime drawdown since 2006. Natural gas spot prices shot up following the data release on August 4, although they fell back again shortly after.

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New ceramic membrane enables first direct conversion of methane to liquids without CO2 emissions

August 05, 2016

A team from CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, the University of Oslo (Norway), and the Instituto de Tecnología Química (ITQ) (Spain) has developed a new process for the direct, non-oxidative conversion of methane to liquids—reducing cost, eliminating multiple process steps, and avoiding CO2 emissions.

The process uses a novel ceramic membrane that simultaneously extracts hydrogen and injects oxide ions. The resulting aromatic precursors are source chemicals for insulation materials, plastics, textiles, and jet fuel, among other valuable products. A paper describing the process is published in the journal Science.

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EPA issues final actions to cut methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills

July 17, 2016

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to reduce emissions of methane-rich landfill gas from new, modified and reconstructed municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, updating standards that were issued in 1996.

In a separate action, EPA also issued revised guidelines for reducing emissions from existing MSW landfills, updating the previous Emissions Guidelines, which also were issued in 1996.

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Cal Energy to award up to $4M for off-road heavy-duty natural gas vehicle research and development

July 13, 2016

The California Energy Commission will award up to $4 million (GFO-16-501) to projects to to support the research and development of heavy-duty off-road vehicles powered by conventional or renewable natural gas.

Projects should incorporate advanced low emission engine technology currently available for heavy-duty on-road vehicles. Existing advanced natural gas engine technologies could be adapted to provide this market segment with a natural gas engine option capable of exceeding current, Tier 4, emission regulations while simultaneously meeting the performance needs of off-road applications.

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Neos and Lockheed Martin to develop enhanced next-gen airborne gravity gradiometer to advance ability to find oil, gas & minerals

July 06, 2016

In partnership with Lockheed Martin, Neos Inc. will develop a new generation sensor to be used to find oil, gas and minerals beneath the earth’s surface from the air. The new Full Tensor Gradiometry (FTG) Plus technology has 20 times the sensitivity and 10 times greater bandwidth than current gravity gradiometers, according to Neos.

Gravity gradiometers have been commercially used for more than 20 years and militarily longer than that. The technology is based on the principle that earth’s gravity field varies with location, local topography and sub-surface geologic features. Measuring the gravity variation caused by items beneath the earth’s surface can help identify unique underground and undersea geologic structures. The new airborne FTG Plus sensor is so advanced it could find a 10-meter tall hill buried one kilometer below the earth’s surface.

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LLNL 3-D printed biocatalytic polymer turns methane to methanol at room temperature and pressure

June 15, 2016

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have combined biology and 3-D printing to create the first reactor that can continuously produce methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure.

Methane monooxygenases (MMOs), found in methanotrophic bacteria, are selective catalysts for methane activation and conversion to methanol under mild conditions; however, these enzymes are not amenable to standard enzyme immobilization approaches. Using particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), the researchers created a biocatalytic polymer material that converts methane to methanol. They embedded the material within a silicone lattice to create mechanically robust, gas-permeable membranes, and the direct printing of micron-scale structures with controlled geometry. The enzymes retain up to 100% activity in the polymer construct.

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Siluria Technologies and Air Liquide partner to develop and deliver novel catalytic process technologies to global energy markets

June 07, 2016

Siluria Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, the engineering and construction business of the Air Liquide Group, to collaborate on the development of novel catalytic processes utilizing both companies’ expertise in gas conversion technologies.

The novel process offering will be developed using the proven innovation platform that has given rise to Siluria’s revolutionary Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) technology (earlier post), but will be focused on entirely new fields beyond the companies’ current product offerings. Siluria and Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions have agreed to work as partners in the commercialization—including marketing and licensing—of the jointly developed process technologies resulting from the collaboration.

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Cummins unveils SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses; diesel, hybrid and near-zero NOx engines

May 20, 2016

Cummins Inc. unveiled the SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses, which focuses on improved uptime and reliability. As part of the SmartEfficiency initiative, Cummins revealed the 2017 L9 diesel and 2017 B6.7 hybrid engine systems; the ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine (earlier post); the isolated engine coolant loop system for the 2017 L9 and ISL G; and a new SmartSupport service program.

Available in 2017, the L9 for transit applications will continue to use the modular aftertreatment architecture. A SmartEfficiency-driven improvement is the isolated coolant loop for transit buses using an L9 or ISL G powertrain, which improves reliability and reduces downtime.

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ANGP commercializes 1st ANSI NGV2-certified on-board low pressure ANG technology storage system for LDVs

May 04, 2016

Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. (ANGP) has successfully installed the industry’s first ANSI NGV2-certified adsorbed natural gas (ANG) active storage system. The system, which ANGP calls its first-generation (GEN 1) ANG System, comprises six activated carbon monolith-filled seamless aluminum cylinders, fully ANSI NGV2-certified for an operating pressure of 900 psig, and ANGP’s low-pressure fuel management system.

The first system was successfully installed on ANGP’s 2014 Ford F-150 pick-up truck equipped with Ford’s CNG/LPG-ready 3.7 liter V6 bi-fuel engine for gasoline or natural gas operation. The ANGP GEN 1 ANG system includes several industry firsts:

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