At this year’s STN Expo in Reno, Nevada, the Propane Education & Research Council is providing school transportation professionals with the information they need to build the business case for clean, American propane autogas.
“Propane autogas continues to gain traction as the leading alternative fuel in the school bus industry,” said Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business development. “Reinforced by the availability of propane autogas options from four major manufacturers, we’re finding that an increasing number of transportation directors have questions about adopting the fuel.”
Currently, Blue Bird, Collins, IC Bus, and Thomas Built each offer propane-autogas-powered school bus options. “We’re exhibiting at STN Expo this year to help school bus fleets and private contractors understand why propane autogas has passed the test for districts around the country: it’s clean, safe, and provides a lower total cost of ownership compared with diesel,” said Taylor.
The Expo is being held this week through July 19 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. Expo attendees are invited to stop by the PERC booth to talk with propane industry experts, and get answers to their questions about the fuel. Show attendees will also be able to see propane autogas refueling dispensers and learn more about the growing number of propane-autogas-powered school bus options.
Alliance Autogas has obtained the first EPA certification for the new Ford Transit.
“Our order queue has been off the charts even when the certification was pending,” notes Ed Hoffman, president of Blossman Services. “The Ford Transit 3.7L Bi-Fuel autogas system conversion by far and away, is Alliances’ largest and most popular platform yet. The number of conversion requests exponentially exceed all prior platform conversion requests we’ve ever seen,” add Hoffman.
The Bi-Fuel system conversion on the Transit is precedent-setting in that no intake manifold drilling, cutting, or splicing of wiring is required. The Ford Transit is the first engine to employ the “Plug and Play” technology, reducing installation time in half, and ensuring consistent performance.
Significant fuel cost savings of 35% or more are achieved without buying a new vehicle. The Bi-Fuel autogas system allows a fleet owner to operate wherever the fleet needs to be and eliminates range anxiety. Multiple tank options are available to meet all range requirements.
The Transit conversion is backed by the Alliance AutoGas 5-year,100,000 mile warranty. New conversions additionally come with the ultra-low emissions Staubli refueling nozzle, the safest and most efficient in the market.
Members of the GROWMARK and FS System were recent participants in the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) 2015 Propane Days at the nation’s capital. This news release says the members were educated regarding affairs and legislation that affects the propane industry and how to be actively involved in its development.
“The Propane Days conference was a great opportunity to work with dedicated FS and GROWMARK experts as well as the Illinois Propane Gas Association. It was a privilege to work together and with our legislators toward the common goal of promoting propane as a clean, alternative fuel of choice,” explained Kevin Johnson, energy specialist with Heritage FS, Inc.
Attendees had the opportunity visit with their Congressional representatives to encourage the extension of key tax provisions, equalization of taxes on propane, and parity of propane relative to other auto fuels. The event also provided networking opportunities with other industry colleagues throughout the nation and a discussion with PERC staff to learn more about the national Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) efforts.
“I feel the Congressional visits will reward the industry for years to come. The visit to PERC was such an eye opening experience which yielded great information. I can’t wait to share my new found knowledge with my team back home,” said Chris Olson, LP and retail marketing manager with Illini FS.
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has joined a national task force promoting the use of alternative fuel in emergency vehicles. PERC says the task force has a two-year program to educate emergency managers about alternative fuels.
The Initiative for Resiliency in Energy through Vehicles is one of 11 projects funded by the Department of Energy Clean Cities program to accelerate the growth of the alternative fuel vehicles market. The National Association of State Energy Officials was awarded $800,000 in grant funds to administer the project. PERC will work with NASEO and 17 other member groups to provide emergency fleet managers with customized tools, information, and strategies about alternative fuel vehicle technologies, infrastructure, and their uses in emergency scenarios.
The task force’s resources will help emergency managers examine the potential costs, benefits, and interdepencies associated with diversifying their fleets, reducing dependence on petroleum, and increasing their energy security.
“Alternative fuels are very important for the emergency response sector,” said Roy Willis, PERC president and CEO. “Diversifying a fleet’s fuel source insulates it from petroleum market volatility and mitigates the impact of supply disruptions. It’s all about ensuring that priority fuel users can continue to operate in the face of natural disasters, major fuel source disruptions, and extreme weather events.”
PERC has been a heavy investor in the creation of propane-powered technologies, and that has led to a dramatic expansion in the types of available propane vehicles, including those used by emergency response fleets.
SMART has added 61 new Connector paratransit propane autogas fuel system buses. This, says SMART, makes them the second largest propane autogas powered paratransit fleet in Michigan and one of the top five largest in the country.
“SMART is committed to responsibly and eco-consciously serving the communities in southeast Michigan. By using domestically produced propane we help support local jobs and our economy,” said John C. Hertel, general manager. “In addition, using the autogas technology will improve our operations, lower costs and preserve the environment in which we work, live and play.”
SMART says the propane autogas investment will reduce emissions, save money, and extend the life of the vehicles. The total fuel and maintenance savings is projected to be $1.1 – $1.7 million over the lifetime of the fleet with a return on investment of less than four months. In addition, SMART says the cost of building on-site refueling stations at each of its three terminals was determined to be less expensive than other refueling station options. The vehicles and propane stations are grant funded.
“Residents in Southeast Michigan are breathing easier due to SMART’s decision to fuel paratransit buses with propane autogas,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, whose company did the propane autogas conversions. “Plus, this abundant alternative transportation fuel means reduced operating and ownership costs for the transit agency.”
Delivery of all 61 SMART Connector autogas vehicles has been on-going since February and to date 14 vehicles have been placed into service. The full fleet is expected to be in service by the end of July.
One of the country’s biggest propane dealers is practicing what it preaches. Blossman Gas is increasing the number of vehicles in its fleet that run on propane with the purchase of three new autogas bobtails, purchased from ROUSCH CleanTech.
“Propane autogas provides numerous benefits for our nation’s fleet vehicles,” notes Stuart Weidie, President and CEO of Blossman Gas and President of Alliance AutoGas. “Blossman Gas has made the commitment to run our own fleet on autogas and therefore has the ability to share real data and experiences, which enhances our ability to convince prospective customers that it is a cost effective, clean and domestic fuel that is available right here, right now” adds Weidie.
Currently, ninety-five percent of the Blossman fleet running on gaseous fuels has been converted to propane autogas within the last two years, netting a cost savings to the company of over $976,000. Additionally, their fleet has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 96 tons since converting to autogas.
Added to the fleet of work and service vehicles are the three new F-650 Ford ROUSH CleanTech bobtails. The Ford F-650 ROUSH CleanTech units have a 6.8L V-10 engine that will be dedicated to use propane autogas. These units will be deployed this month with a 2600 gallon barrel for the sole purpose of delivering propane gas to Blossman’s residential and commercial accounts.
GROWMARK showed off its newest propane terminal in South Dakota. This company news release says the April 28 open house at the Canton terminal attracted about 70 people to the event.
GROWMARK, headquartered in Bloomington, Ill., acquired the Magellan Pipeline Company, L.P. in 2013 and added rail capacity. Facility upgrades were complete and the terminal was operational in January 2015.
“This opportunity made strategic sense for us,” said Kevin Carroll, GROWMARK VP Energy & Logistics. “Our retail division, STAR Energy, acquired Siouxland Propane in 2013, expanding our footprint into the South Dakota geography. This terminal will support the expanded footprint and enhance our supply for other areas of our System.”
The upgraded GROWMARK terminal provides storage capacity of more than 300,000 gallons and the capability to fill two semi-truck tanks simultaneously, each loading at a rate of approximately 570 gallons per minute. The terminal is adjacent to the BNSF railroad, and GROWMARK has upgraded the facility to allow for six railcars to unload at one time, with the opportunity to expand that to eight cars in the future.
The Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo is around the corner, May 4-7, 2015 in Dallas, Texas and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) will be showcasing propane autogas. PERC’s investments in advancing propane autogas for medium-duty technologies will be on display at the show in booth 407. Featured will be a Roush CleanTech Ford F-650, a BSI diesel substitution unit, and refueling dispensers by Superior Energy and CleanFuel USA.
“With the growing number of EPA- and CARB-certified, propane-autogas-powered vehicles available, propane autogas has become a proven solution that offers an increasing number of fleets, a lower total cost of ownership, a clean emissions profile, and affordable and scalable infrastructure options,” said Roy Willis, PERC’s president and CEO.
At the show, attendees can also learn about propane autogas’ growth in the school bus industry. Texas Commissioner of Energy Michael Williams heads the Texas Education Agency, which oversees the state’s pre-kindergarten through high school education for more than 5 million students enrolled in both traditional public schools and charter schools.
“Williams has spent years in public service, and is a notable figure dedicated to creating a healthier environment for school children. It says a lot that he supports propane autogas as a reliable solution to reducing emissions,” Willis added. “Propane autogas not only diminishes air pollution, but school districts making the switch from increasingly complex diesel buses also report seeing significantly lower operating costs due to less maintenance, fuel additives, and parts replacement.”
A new conversion to a truck running on propane is showing just how easy and cost saving the fuel can be. Alliance AutoGas showcased the Ford F-650/F-750 tractor cab featuring a new product innovation – the Bi-Fuel AutoGas System – at the recent AutoGas Pavilion at the NPGA Propane Expo in Atlanta.
Westport’s Prins VSI system “plug and play” conversion on the 2016 Ford F650/F-750 is precedent setting in that no intake manifold drilling, cutting, or splicing of wiring is required. The Bi Fuel Autogas system conversion of the F-650/F-750 features these critical components:
Costs less than its diesel or dedicated propane counterparts.
Reduces fleet operating costs by as much as 30%.
The new Bobtail conversion comes in at a lower cost than its diesel counterpart.
Offers increased range while reducing fuel costs.
“Best in Class” warranty of five years or 100,000 miles.
This plug-and-play conversion cuts the propane system’s installation time by half—about six hours—compared to a typical 12 to 14-hour installation time for any predecessor.
NTEA Work & Truck Show took place this week in Indianapolis, Indiana and several propane announcements were made during the show including a new bi-fuel autogas conversion system. The news was delivered by BSI President Ed Hoffman, and said the Ford Transit 3.7L engine conversion to propane autogas was under development and expected to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for certification this spring.
Hoffman said the bi-fuel system conversion on the Transit requires no intake manifold drilling, cutting, or splicing of wiring, and the system provides OEM quality components and engineering with ½ the install time. He also noted with extended range capabilities the bi-fuel system insures a fleet gets where it needs to go.Twenty one gallons of propane will be added to the “tank” to be used in conjunction with traditional fuel. The Transit will be the first “plug & play” conversion to be installed by the Alliance AutoGas.
Replacing the Ford E-Series, the Ford Transit vans and wagons are in several configurations the wagon offers higher fuel economy ratings. The 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 surpasses the E-Series standard 4.6L V8 gas engine in EPA estimated highway mpg by 19 percent.