PERC Promotes Propane at ACT Expo

Propane will be on display at the upcoming 2016 Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long,Beach California. The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is promoting the benefits of propane. Tucker Perkins, chief business officer, is presenting at the expo’s May 4, 2016 general session on urban mobility.

propane-logo“To meet the needs of any urban fleet, whether that’s a city parks department with two light-duty trucks, a sheriff’s department with 55 bi-fuel sedans, or a school district with 150 78-seater buses, PERC continues to work with OEMs to develop the most efficient, most powerful, and most user-friendly propane autogas fuel systems for dedicated, bi-fuel, or converted vehicles,” Perkins said. “Adding propane-autogas-powered vehicles to a fleet is a great way to cut emissions and costs while simultaneously improving customer service and vehicle horsepower.”

PERC is located in booth 911, which will showcase a variety of propane-powered equipment. A Ford F-550 fitted with a Roush CleanTech propane autogas system will be displayed in the booth alongside a Tico Port Tractor and Exmark commercial mower to give attendees a close-up look at the machines moving businesses forward with clean, American-made fuel. Attendees can also learn about how propane autogas vehicles can help them meet sustainability goals – including how propane fuels decrease hydrocarbon emissions – and “green up” their corporate image.

“With regulations continuing to limit carbon and greenhouse gas emissions across the United States, propane autogas is an inexpensive, easy-to-implement solution with long-lasting benefits that include reduced maintenance, lower fuel costs, and longer engine life.” Perkins added, “It’s also becoming increasingly common to hear how businesses can gain clients and generate success through adding environmentally-friendly equipment and practices to their operation.”

Clean Cities Coalitions Promoting Propane Autogas

Clean Cities Coalitions around the U.S. have been promoting the use of propane autogas to lower tailpipe emissions. Just around the corner, the Alliance AutoGas converted F-150 will set out on its 5,500 mile 12-city “Alliance AutoGas Coast-to-Coast Clean Air Ride”. The tour kicks off in Kansas City on May 2, 2016 and will be hauling a propane autogas 2013 Exmark Lazer Z Ultra Cut 60 mower. powered by a 25.5 horsepower Kawasaki FX801 V-Twin gasoline engine, converted to propane by Alliance Small Engines.

Indianapolis F-150 Coast to CoastThe F-150 conversion to propane autogas recently broke a conversion record. The Alliance AutoGas Engineered Fuel System features a single plug wiring connector and a 21-gallon underbody autogas tank. The wiring is “plug and play,” and everything is bracketed and designed to be installed without any drilling or fabrication. By deploying these features, Alliance Autogas reports labor times and conversion costs are significantly reduced.

Once leaving Kansas City, the tour will travel to Seattle, WA, and complete its journey in Jacksonville, FL, on May 18, 2016. There will be an additional “homecoming” event scheduled on May 23 in Asheville, NC. Several Clean Cities Coalitions are planning events and activities during the refueling stops of the trip. The goal of the F-150’s trip, according to Alliance Autogas, is to underscore the importance and impact of reducing CO2 emissions through the use of propane autogas.

“We want people to see first-hand, how simple and easy it is to convert a vehicle, how well it runs, and a how it gives the fleet manager a well-documented return,” noted Ed Hoffman, president of Blossman Services, Inc., a propane gas dealer.

Stuart Weidie, president and CEO or Blossman Gas and president of Alliance AutoGas added, “The cross country trip in Alliance Autogas’ Ford F150 will be a great opportunity to demonstrate why propane Autogas is the world’s #1 alternative fuel.  We hope to educate citizens across the country about the extended range of autogas vehicles as well as the benefits of real costs savings and emissions reductions.”

#Propane Power on a Roll

growmark-propane-beckyPropane power is on a roll these days, going far beyond it’s traditional uses of home heating and grain drying, moving into areas such as fleet vehicles and school buses. To learn more about propane’s market expansion, Cindy Zimmerman spoke with Becky Hornblower, GROWMARK’s propane marketing and technical services manager. GROWMARK is one of the country’s largest retailers of propane.

According to Hornblower, GROWMARK markets propane in 16 states and operates more than 300 company-owned transports, which she said really helps with their supply network. This resulted in the sale of more than 200 million gallons of propane sold in fiscal year 2015, and this year looks even stronger.

One major area of growth for the company is the autogas market and Hornblower noted that their members have been really proactive in growing this market. She explained autogas is the term used when propane is used in a motor-fueled vehicle such as a pickup truck, car, bus, fleet delivery vehicle and the like.

Their network is growing and they have specific accounts and networks in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois for school systems that are operating their school buses using propane autogas. They also have municipality accounts, transit and commercial lawn company accounts to name a few.

“This market presents not only a strong opportunity for our position in the industry, especially as you look at growth year round versus cyclical cycles with residential and ag demand,” said Hornblower. She added that end users are really seeing the benefits of the cleaner burning aspects of propane. For example propane is easier on the engines saving maintenance costs and prolonging engine life. She said that there are tax credits and incentives for propane conversion and use and propane is safer than gasoline.

What about savings in action? She said one school district reported savings of more than $300,000 over 10 years with their propane autogas bus fleet.

Learn more about propane in this week’s ZimmCast: Interview with Becky Hornblower, GROWMARK

Propane Conversion in a Snap

During the Indianapolis Work Truck Show earlier this week, Alliance AutoGas conversion techs Stephen Holland and Stacey Snyder installed the Alliance fuel engineered conversion system on a Bi-Fuel 2016 3.5 Liter Ford F-150 V6 in a little more than an hour an a half, setting a record.

Stephen Holland, Blossman Services Inc. Equipment Application Engineer and Stacey Snyder, Blossman Services Equipment Conversion Tech

Stephen Holland, Blossman Services Inc. Equipment Application Engineer and Stacey Snyder, Blossman Services Equipment Conversion Tech

The propane fuel system features a single plug wiring connector with a 21-gallon underbody autogas tank with all wiring at proper specs. Everything is bracketed anddesigned to be installed without any drilling or fabrication. Alliance AutoGas says by deploying these features, labor times and conversion costs are significantly reduced.

Ed Hoffman, President of Blossman Services Inc., the equipment distributor for Alliance AutoGas said of the new feat and new propane autogas technology, “The live, record-setting conversion of the F-150 at the Work Truck Show proved that Alliance’s EPA and NFPA 58 compliant system can indeed be installed in far less than half the time of other products in the market without any permanent vehicle modifications. We are also confident in saying that that fleets can experience a positive ROI with a partial asset life when reduced conversion costs are coupled with low, stable fuel prices as well as our warranty that doubles the industry standard.”

Stuart Weidie, President of Alliance AutoGas, who spoke at the Live Conversion event, added, “We are proud that our innovative and elegant fuel system design was installed in far less time than we ever anticipated. Alliances’ state of the art technology coupled with a positive environmental impact, is a winner in all regards. It is a definitive message that our system will take the lead on reducing costs, and any barriers associated with fleet conversions going forward throughout North America.”

In early May of this year, the converted F-150 will embark on the Alliance AutoGas Clean Air Coast-to-Coast Ride, a 5,300 mile trip beginning in Kansas City, KS, and ending  in Asheville, NC, on May 20.

PERC Promotes Farm Incentive Program

Several years ago, the Propane Research and Education Council (PERC) launched the Propane FEED Program for farmers. Today the program has evolved as is now called the Propane Farm Incentive Program and it’s taking off. To learn more about the program and how farmers can get involved, Chuck Zimmerman spoke with PERC’s Director of Agriculture Business Development Cinch Munson during Commodity Classic 2016 in New Orleans.

classic16-percThe results for 2015 are in, said Munson, and they follow the trends for the past five years. “Folks who switched to a propane irrigation engine from a diesel engine saw their energy costs go down 58 percent in 2015. So by making that switch they’re ending up with a lot of money in their pocket. Grain dryers a similar story. By upgrading their equipment from an old generation propane grain dryer to a new propane grain dryer people saved 42 percent on energy.”

Technology is changing; technology is getting better and equipment is so much more efficient, said Munson. He noted that when you combine that with the fact that propane supplies are up and propane prices are down, people who make the switch are seeing more money in their pockets.

To learn more about the Propane Farm Incentive Program, listen to Chuck’s interview with Cinch Munson: Interview with Cinch Munson, PERC

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

ROUSH Aids Nestlé Waters Switch to Propane

ROUSH CleanTech has recently assisted several companies convert to greener fleets. Nestlé Waters North America is adding 150 medium-duty beverage delivery trucks (Ford F-650) fueled by propane autogas. According to ROUSH CleanTech, over the vehicles’ lifetime, the 155 Ford F-650 trucks will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 24.6 million pounds. These units will be deployed beginning in April.

“Becoming a better steward of our environment is a priority for Nestlé Waters,” said Bill Ardis, national fleet manager for Nestlé Waters North America, speaking at the NTEA Work Truck Show. “We’ve been running propane autogas vehicles since 2014. Because of gI_86569_Nestle Waters F650the proven emissions reductions and cost savings, we knew it was the right choice to expand our fleet with this domestically produced alternative fuel.”

Each delivery truck is equipped with a California Air Resources Board- and Environmental Protection Agency-compliant ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system with a 45-usable gallon fuel tank. Mickey Body in High Point, North Carolina, upfitted the vehicles with side-load beverage bays.

The new medium-duty delivery trucks, added to the company’s existing autogas fleet of 30 Ford trucks of the same model, will also help the company save on maintenance and fuel costs. Ardis added, “Autogas allows us to operate without compromising standard delivery methods and reduce operational costs. Customers have already noticed that our trucks operating on autogas are quieter and cleaner,” said Ardis who noted their fuel savings per gallon is about $1.

“Fueling beverage delivery trucks with propane autogas offers the best total cost of ownership,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech. “By choosing this safe, abundant and American-made fuel, fleets around the nation have reduced operating costs and lowered their carbon footprint.”

Propane Autogas Buses Offer Clean Ride to School

propane-vision-mb1A school district in Indiana this month is rolling out the state’s largest deployment of propane autogas school buses, giving the students a cleaner ride to school and saving taxpayer dollars. The Metropolitan School District of Warren Township will start using 11 Blue Bird Propane Vision buses purchased through dealer MacAllister Transportation, including 10 78-passenger models and one bus outfitted with a wheelchair lift.

“Better cold weather starts, lower maintenance and fuel cost, quieter buses, as well as better air quality for students, the bus driver and our community were the reasons we chose propane autogas,” said Steve Smith, director of transportation for M.S.D. Warren Township. “With the fuel’s clean operation, we anticipate longer maintenance intervals and lower periodic maintenance cost.”

The new Blue Bird Propane Vision buses replace older diesel models. A propane autogas fuel system manufactured by ROUSH CleanTech powers each bus.

Historically, propane autogas costs about 50 percent less than diesel per gallon and reduces maintenance costs due to its clean-operating properties. To fuel the buses, M.S.D. Warren Township installed two onsite autogas fuel stations with 1,000-gallon capacity each. “Our drivers will feel more confident taking the longer routes and field trips by having fuel conveniently located and available around the clock,” Smith said.

“M.S.D. Warren Township joins over 500 other districts nationwide experiencing the benefits of propane autogas technology: lowering operating costs, maintenance costs and emissions,” said Brian Carney, group account director for ROUSH CleanTech.

The fleet of propane autogas buses is expected to lower nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 13,600 pounds and particulate matter by about 350 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses they replaced.

Olympia School District Goes to School with Propane

Olympia-Schools-Propane-Bus1-X2Stanford, Illinois students are traveling around town in school buses fueled by propane. The Olympia Community Unit #16 School District, a rural district covering 377 square miles, converted to propane-fueled buses to meet the district’s needs for reliable, lower-cost buses. The school buses travel an average of 20,000 miles per year.

According to John Olsen, assistant superintendent for Olympia, the district tested propane with two school buses and now has 12- nearly one-third of their 33 bus fleet. The remaining buses run on diesel fuel. He estimates each bus saves the district $2,500 per year in fuel and maintenance and is expected to serve the district for 10 years. He figures that the buses will save the school district $300,000 over the 10-year life of the buses.

According to information about propane autogas, propane engines do not require diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and diesel particulate filters, and oil consumption can be reduced as much as 50 percent, making propane powered buses less expensive to operate and maintain. Propane fuel costs, currently lower than diesel fuel, make up the difference and more.

The savings are not the only benefit of the propane buses, says Olsen who notes they are also quiet and cleaner-burning. “I love the fact that when our buses pull up to the schools at the beginning or end of the day, we’re not sitting there creating a cloud of fumes right outside the school,” he added.

Evergreen FS, based in Bloomington, IL works closely with Olsen to supply the fuel. They also set up and continuously service and maintain the four 1,000 gallon propane tanks on-site. Typically the storage onsite provides a seven to eight day supply of propane. Olsen and the school district will continue to work with Evergreen FS, a member cooperative of GROWMARK, who keep him up-to-date on technical advances that will make the fleet even more cost efficient over time.

Propane Council Unveils Farm Safety Site for Kids

PERCouramazingfarmA new website is giving kids more information about how to be safe around propane on the farm. The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) unveiled the interactive site – propanekids.com/agsafety – that includes fun and educational videos, science experiments, and activities aimed at children ages 12 and under.

Our Amazing Farm,” the latest addition to the PropaneKids.com site, features a series of entertaining 5-minute science experiment videos to support PERC’s national agricultural safety initiative. The video series, titled “Science Rocks,” is designed to engage young minds while providing a resource grounded in science to be used by both parents and educators.

The videos explain fundamental principles relating to propane, a ubiquitous energy source in rural America. Other features of “Our Amazing Farm” include hands-on, age-appropriate, interactive activities that teach kids about grain bin safety, fire extinguishers, static electricity management, and other important topics. The videos use common household items – and the site offers printable instructions – to enable teachers and parents to share the lessons at school or home.

Developed by PERC with funding from CHS Inc., the national agricultural safety program promotes the videos and e-learning elements with the aim to improve safety on America’s farms. All components are available free of charge and are directly accessible by educators, the public, and any organization wishing to offer the tools through their own websites.

“We expect these videos to become valuable tools for kids, families, businesses, and schools to help prevent accidents and improve safety around the farm,” said Stuart Flatow, PERC’s vice president of safety and training.

Propane Expands Production, Use Options

nafb-15-percPropane is expanding in production and the options for its use. During the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention in Kansas City, Missouri, Cindy caught up with Cinch Munson from the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) who said that there are 102.4 million barrels of propane in storage right now – a nearly 30 percent increase from a year ago. He credited strong production and a mild grain-drying season for the big inventories right now.

“We’re most of the way through harvest, and most of the grain that has come in is pretty dry,” he said, adding a possibly warm winter ahead could make the situation even better for consumers. “Propane prices right now are very good. So it’s a really good time for rural homeowners and ag operation owners to consider what they should do about this.”

Munson said new propane engines offer lots of advantages, especially in the ag markets. He added the positive supply outlook for propane and its domestic, environmentally friendly profile, as well as more machinery running on the fuel, make propane a great choice. Munson said consumers should talk to their local dealers or go to PERC’s website for more information.

“You really owe it to yourself to look at what’s out there.”

Cinch Munson, Propane Education and Research Council