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Natural Gas Vehicle
Natural Gas Trucks: A Clean Take on the Business of Trash
Moving trash can be dirty business. But, thanks to efforts from Waste Management, the process of keeping waste to a minimum has been getting cleaner.
A company with 45,000 employees serving more than 20 million customers, Waste Management provides collection, transfer, recycling and disposal services and has taken significant steps to ensure cleaner operations through the use of natural gas.
In an economy where every dollar has to be maximized, Waste Management now powers its fleet with a fuel that is cleaner, abundant and more affordable – natural gas.
Waste Management deploys the nation’s largest heavy-duty trucks fleet powered by natural gas. In North America alone, it has more than 2,000 trucks moving trash in cities today. Waste Management is also focused on converting its fleet of 18,000 vehicles to run on natural gas.
“This conversion makes good business sense for our company and our shareholders because of the significant maintenance and diesel fuel costs savings,” said Waste Management’s President and Chief Executive Officer, David Steiner. “It’s much cleaner for the environment, and our [compressed natural gas] trucks are much quieter than diesel powered ones.”
Waste Management’s commitment to using natural gas to power its fleet goes beyond just their trucks on the street. To further increase their use of clean natural gas, Waste Management has built a plant that converts landfill gas – the gas which occurs once waste breaks down in a landfill– to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power 300 of Waste Management’s trucks that service customers in Oakland, San Diego, and in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.
LNG is a fuel well-suited for high-horsepower and heavy-duty engines. Waste Management’s Steiner speaks proudly of the facility, saying, “Indeed, I’m very pleased that we have created an environmental closed loop for the City of Oakland, where some of their waste is disposed at our landfill and the resulting landfill gas powers the WM trucks that collect their waste and bring it to our recycling centers and other post-collection facilities.”
The benefits of Waste Management’s natural gas use are not exclusive to the company itself. It also has made clean, affordable natural gas available to customers through investments in public infrastructure projects across the nation. This investment is critical to the greater use of vehicles powered by natural gas for everyday drivers. Waste Management operates 15 publically accessible natural gas fueling stations across North America and, in 2013, the company plans to expand the number of these stations, providing other drivers with an opportunity to access the benefits of natural gas fueled vehicles.
This company leads by example, developing a fleet of trucks that take advantage of our abundant natural gas supplies. In doing so, Waste Management invested in a business solution that keeps fuel costs down while still meeting the needs of their customers in an environmentally conscious way. This leadership illustrates that with natural gas, we do not have to choose between the economic benefits of natural gas and preserving our environment. We can achieve both of these goals.
Natural Gas Trucks Help Waste Management Meet Clean Air Goals
In November, I visited Washington, D.C. to discuss the importance of energy security, which includes the use of alternative fuel like natural gas. I did so because the nation has the ability to harness newer, cleaner, domestic energy sources. As a member of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and its Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), we advocate increasing domestic energy production, reducing oil consumption and transforming the transportation sector so that oil is no longer its primary fuel – by expanding the use of natural gas and electricity.
I joined my ESLC colleagues – CEOs and senior military leaders – to speak to legislators, media and the White House because updating our national energy policy to incorporate energy security is vital to our country’s future success. I also joined them because candidly, I’m downright boastful about what my company is doing to tap domestic alternative fuel like natural gas for its vehicles.
Waste Management has the nation’s largest fleet of heavy-duty trucks that run on clean-burning natural gas. We have 2,000-plus such trucks working across North American cities today, and we’re on a path to convert our 18,000 collection vehicle fleet to natural gas. This conversion makes good business sense for our company and our shareholders because of the significant maintenance and diesel fuel costs savings. It’s much cleaner for the environment, and our CNG trucks are much quieter than diesel powered ones.
With political instability in oil-producing regions around the world and approximately 80 percent of conventional oil reserves controlled by the OPEC cartel, it seems obvious that our country must end its dependence on a single fuel source for our transportation sector. If we increasingly focus on developing our own resources – like natural gas – we will, at once, help grow the economy, and shrink prices at the pump.
I’m proud of Waste Management’s leadership role in greening our fleet. That includes our investments in fueling infrastructure, and supporting government efforts to accelerate the same for compressed natural gas (CNG) for use by the public in their vehicles. As a major consumer of diesel fuel, we gladly lend our support to policies that foster a less oil-dependent transportation system.
Today, at WM, we have 40 natural gas-fueling stations across North America – 15 of which are publicly accessible, and another seven with pre-approved third-party access. We own the stations, purchase their fuel, and finance their construction. We are planning 13 more for early 2013, with more to follow.
Another pride point for me is our award-winning plant in California that converts landfill gas to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which in turn powers 300 of our trucks every day. This LNG is the lowest carbon intensity fuel of any commercial scale transportation fuel currently produced in California. These trucks service our customers in Oakland, San Diego and several cities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Indeed, I’m very pleased that we have created an “environmental closed loop” for the City of Oakland, where some of their waste is disposed at our landfill and the resulting landfill gas powers the WM trucks that collect their waste and bring it to our recycling centers and other post-collection facilities.
Waste Management’s fleet professionals have spent several years of experimentation and they – our driving force so to speak – are convinced that converting our collection vehicles to natural gas is our best option today. I agree.
Doing so improves energy and operational efficiencies and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2012, we already have reduced our carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent – beating our 2020 goal of 15 percent eight years ahead of schedule. By 2020, our commitment will pay off as a reduction of 350 million gallons of fuel, about 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and $1 billion of operational costs.
Let’s encourage our leaders in Washington, D.C. to work together to move us down the path to a more energy independent future.
For WM, use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in our fleet reduces our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 21% and mono-nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than 30% compared to the equivalent 2013 diesel-fueled trucks. The emissions reductions associated with CNG are even greater relative to the older diesel trucks we are replacing.
Embracing natural gas as a safe and abundant transportation fuel, the legendary Patrick Racing Team has entered into an agreement with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron (ALMS), to identify development and testing opportunities for the fuel system to power the Series' Prototype Challenge class beginning in the 2013 season.
Pat Patrick owned and operated one of Indy car racing's top teams for more than 30 years between 1970-2002. An oil man, Patrick has been in the drilling business for fifty years and like many of his competitors he's expanded in recent years into natural gas. Today, Patrick is the leading exponent of introducing natural gas to motor racing. Patrick made an agreement with the ALMS to run natural gas as the fuel for 2013 Prototype Challenge category. Patrick announced that Katech engines in Clinton Township north of Detroit has started developing 2013 ALMS natural gas Chevrolet engine.
"The ALMS has an open rulebook and they welcomed us. They said, 'Sure we want you. Come on in.' They've said let's prove it in the Prototype Challenge class and then, who knows, maybe we can move up to LMP2 and so on. They don't want to cut out other fuels. They want other fuels and it may come to a point where they would run natural gas against diesel and other fuels and try and come up with an equalizing formula.
"The Prototype Challenge category is perfect for us because it's a spec category. All the engines and cars are the same so it's a great place for us to start with natural gas. It'll give the Prototype Challenge a big boost because the cars are using a new innovation."
McGee says the initial work to convert Chevrolet's LS3 Prototype Challenge engine to natural gas will be completed at Katech over the next month. Static and dyno testing will then begin followed as soon as possible by track testing of the engine fitted to an Oreca Prototype Chellenge car.
"With Katech on board we're really gathering momentum," McGee said. "It's starting to attract a lot of interest. We talked to some people from the Departments of Energy and Transportation and they think it's great that somebody is going to do something to show what natural gas can do. So we're making some strides."
"We met with the teams at Mid-Ohio to tell them what we're doing and what the benefits will be to them," McGee commented. "We didn't want them to worry about how the program was going to work and how much it was going to cost them. Our goal is to make it work for the competitors so that it doesn't cost them anything and they have the benefit of new sponsors available to them through their association with natural gas.
"The producers spend millions of dollars with ANGA, the American Natural Gas Association, and the AGA, the American Gas Association. The producers pay for all the ads you see on TV for natural gas and we've been talking with all the producers, people like Apache, Chesapeake, Southwestern, and these guys love what we're trying to do. They feel like it will bring natural gas more positive attention from John Q. Public.
"The producers think it would be a great way to go and they've started talking to the ANGA and AGA about supporting this program. But there also are a lot of suppliers who are in favor of this program. It's going to happen. It's just a matter of time."
McGee discussed the technical challenges faced by Katech in adapting to natural gas.
"It's not a big change for the competitors," he said. "We did some early work with Roush but Katech have been working in the ALMS for a long time and everyone has confidence in them, Pat and I included. It's all come together really well.
"The engine conversion is not that big a deal. What you want to do is optimize the natural gas whether it's with compression ratios or timing. Natural gas is anti-knock. It doesn't detonate like fossil fuels, whether it's alcohol or whatever. So you can run a lot of spark and a lot of compression with natural gas.
"We ran a little 2 liter engine on the dyno at Roush's a couple of years ago. We ran normal spark plugs in it and at twenty pounds of boost it put out 655 hp. It's not rocket science.
"We've got a couple of companies working on the tank and delivery system. It's not like it's new technology. It's already out there. It's a matter of downsizing and making it more suitable for racing. We've made some great contacts with these companies and they're willing to supply the equipment at a pretty reasonable price so that everyone benefits."
McGee estimates that fuel tank size with natural gas should be roughly similar to gasoline.
"Fuel tank capacity should be about what they're using now because LNG is so close to ethanol and alcohol and ten percent off gasoline in terms of BTU values. Plus you have higher octane with natural gas, which is about 130 octane, where alcohol is around 70 and gasoline around 90.
"We won't really know until we put the whole package together and do our dyno runs so we can see what the flow rates are and what the engine wants. We'll run the whole system on the dyno as a package with the LNG tank and the delivery system with a heat exchanger, so we get it right before it goes into a car."
"The biggest problem with natural gas is the symbol is a flame and everybody connects the flame with explosions. But LNG is not explosive in its liquid form. When it turns to a gas it evaporates. There's no clean-up or spill. If you have a leak, it won't even hit the ground. It turns into a gas and dissipates.
"If you were trying to light it, it takes a gas to oxygen mixture of between five and fifteen percent. So in an open environment it's impossible to ignite because you can't get that type of mixture. Most natural gas explosions happen in a building or underground where the gas is contained and the oxygen level is contained.
"When we talked to the people at the DoE and DoT in Washington they said one of the huge things we were going to do for them was to demonstrate the safety of this fuel."
"I'd go to stock-block engines, open it up to all the car companies and run it on natural gas. Can you imagine the sponsor potential? Every natural gas supplier would want to get involved. You would attract sponsorship from some major corporations."
Last edited by MCSL; 05-24-2013 at 12:06 AM.
Audi Unveils CNG/Gas-Powered A3 G-Tron With 808-Mile Range
Audi's partnership with German electric giant SolarFuel bore its first fruit today, the bi-fuel Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron. The A3 G-Tron will be powered by "e-gas" and normal gasoline, giving it low CO2 emissions and a claimed 808-mile range.
The A3 G-Tron is fueled by conventional gasoline and "e-gas," the brand's name for a special carbon neutral compressed natural gas (CNG) that Audi co-developed with SolarFuel. Though Audi touts its own e-gas, the A3 G-Tron will also be able to run on conventional natural gas.
The A3 G-Tron is powered by a modified version of Volkswagen's new turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4. The engine, which produces 108 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque, is fed by three fuel tanks – a conventional gas tank, and two CNG tanks which are stored underneath the floor of the cargo area. The two lightweight tanks are monitored by an electronic pressure regulator, which is smart enough to switch the engine over to gas power if the pressure drops too low. Filler necks for both types of fuel tanks are kept under a single fuel filler flap.
Though the engine is started on gas, it switches over to CNG almost immediately. Audi expects the A3 G-Tron to have a 249-mile range on CNG and 559-mile range on gasoline. The G-Tron is expected to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 11.0 seconds, and have a top speed of 118 mph.
The Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron goes on sale in Germany at the end of 2013.
Last edited by MCSL; 05-25-2013 at 12:27 AM.
The Audi e-gas facility that is currently being built in Werlte in the Emsland region will be operated with renewable electricity (e.g. from wind energy and solar energy). Expansion into the area of renewable energies is increasing the share of volatile energy sources -- sometimes there is a surplus of electricity while at other times a shortage exists. The facility with its electrical power consumption of about 6,000 kW will preferably draw electricity whenever there is an electrical surplus. Then the facility could serve as a means for long- term storage of renewable energies, and this would solve one of the central problems of the transition to new energy sources.
The first step involves converting the electricity to produce renewably generated hydrogen by electrolysis -- Audi e-hydrogen -- which will be the fuel used to power future cars with fuel cell drive systems such as the Audi Q5 HFC technology platform. In this car, two high-pressure cylinders store the hydrogen under 700 bar pressure; a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEM), which produces 98 kW, supplies the energy for the electric drive. Two electric motors output a system power of 90 kW and 420 Nm (309.78 lb-ft) of torque. However, the infrastructure needed to supply hydrogen is lacking today. Audi is solving this problem by adding another innovative process step: combining hydrogen with CO2 in a methanation system (downstream of electrolysis) to synthesize renewable methane -- Audi e-gas. This natural gas substitute can be locally fed into the natural gas network to store the energy.
The Audi e-gas facility in Werlte, which Audi is now constructing with system builder SolarFuel, will be the world's first facility to convert renewable electricity and CO2 into a synthetic natural gas that can be fed into the natural gas network on an industrial scale.
The Audi facility obtains its CO2 from a biogas plant. The input material for the biogas plant is not energy crop plants, rather it is organic waste. This avoids any sort of competition with food production. The CO2 is a waste product of the biogas plant that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The Audi e-gas facility uses the CO2 as a feedstock for the fuel. This makes Audi e-gas a climate-neutral fuel -- when it is combusted in the engine, the amount of CO2 emitted is precisely the amount consumed by the e-gas facility beforehand.
Audi e-gas is an energy-rich fuel that is chemically identical to the fossil fuel methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, and it is excellently suited for powering internal combustion engines. According to forecasts, beginning in 2013 the facility in Werlte will produce about 1,000 metric tons (1102.31 US tons) of methane per year, and in the process it will chemically bond 2,800 metric tons (3086.47 US tons) of CO2. That amount of renewably generated Audi e-gas could power 1,500 Audi A3 Sportback TCNG vehicles for 15,000 kilometers (9320.57 miles) per year in CO2-neutral driving. In 2015, Audi plans to launch a second TCNG model on the market that is based on the A4.
The German energy industry could also benefit from the conceptual approach of the Audi e- gas project over the mid-term, because it must address the open issue of how to store eco- electricity efficiently and independent of location. When a lot of sea breeze is blowing, electrical overcapacities could be converted to Audi e-gas and be stored in the public gas network -- with its 217 Terrawatt-hours of energy capacity, it is by far the largest energy storage network in Germany. If desired, it would be possible to convert the energy from the gas network back into electricity at any time.
The potential of electricity-gas coupling to store large amounts of wind or solar energy can provide tremendous impetus to renewable energies. The Audi e-gas project could easily be implemented in any countries in which natural gas networks exist.
Last edited by MCSL; 06-09-2013 at 11:49 PM.
CNG Audi A3 g-tron
While natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline, albeit developing less power and not going quite as far on a gallon thanks to its lower energy, it still requires extraction through some environmentally dubious processes.
Audi's "well-to-wheels" approach means it intends to produce its own synthetic natural gas called "e-gas" using wind turbines in the North Sea off the coast of Germany.
Audi believes up to 1,500 g-trons each year could travel over 9,300 miles each year CO2-neutral on e-gas, but even on its own, using regular natural gas, the g-tron's efficient 1.4-liter TFSI engine emits under 95 grams per kilometer, on the European economy cycle.
The turbocharged unit is good for 110 horsepower, and a top speed of 118 mph. Reaching 62 mph takes around 11 seconds--respectable enough for the car's home market.
The car is also bi-fuel, meaning gasoline can be used when no natural gas or e-gas is available. Both fillers are located under the same flap, and combined range matches Audi's diesel models at up to 800 miles.
Renewable natural gas (RNG)—also known as biomethane or biogas—can provide a clean, easily controlled source of renewable energy from organic waste materials, replacing fossil fuels with a sustainable carbon neutral fuel option.
What is biogas?
Biogas is generated when bacteria degrade biological material in the absence of oxygen, in a process known as anaerobic digestion. Biogas is a renewable fuel, primarily a mixture of methane (also known as marsh gas or natural gas) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Landfill gas is biogas produced by organic waste decomposing under anaerobic conditions in a landfill. The waste is covered and compressed mechanically by the weight of the material that is deposited from above. This material prevents oxygen from accessing the waste and anaerobic microbes thrive. This gas builds up and is slowly released into the atmosphere if the landfill site has not been engineered to capture the gas.
Biogas can provide a clean, easily controlled source of renewable energy from organic waste materials, replacing fossil fuels with a sustainable carbon neutral fuel option.
What is biomethane?
Municipal solid waste landfills account for over one quarter of the total methane emissions in the United States. Landfill gas is a particularly attractive natural gas supply option because it is a low-cost feedstock source due to the minimal processing required to remove the impurities to produce biomethane.
Biogas is normally rich in methane (about 65%) and impurities of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), CO2 and water. Technology is commercially available to remove H2S, CO2 and water contaminants present in the biogas and landfill gas through processing to produce high-purity natural gas (biomethane) suitable for vehicles.
Therefore, biomethane is simply pipeline quality natural gas that can be used directly or added to existing supplies.
Capturing landfill gas or biogas for processing into biomethane suitable for vehicles has significant benefits, in addition to the benefits of natural gas.
• Using biomethane as a renewable fuel has significant greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits.
• Unlike naturally occurring methane emissions, biomethane is converted to CO2 during combustion (a 21 times greenhouse gas savings).
• Biomethane is a renewable resource that can displace fossil fuel by 100%.
• Biomethane does not compete with food production.
• The biomethane that is used as fuel in place of petroleum-based fuels produces less GHG than the fuel it replaced.
There isn't a single wind farm in existence that would without a government subsidy, and if you think a trash dump can produce enough methane per day to run a fleet of dump trucks, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.
Last edited by Ajax; 05-26-2013 at 06:24 AM.
America is addicted to OPEC oil.
It's an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. It touches every part of our lives and ties our hands as a nation and as a people.
The addiction has worsened for decades and now it's reached a point of crisis.
In 1970, we imported less than 25% of our oil. In 2011, it was almost 60%.
Depending on OPEC and other foreign sources for nearly two-thirds of our oil puts America in a precarious position.
In addition to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable OPEC nations, we are jeopardizing our economy. In 2011, we spent $150 billion to import over 1.5 billion barrels OPEC oil.
That's money taken out of our economy and sent to OPEC nations.
Over the next 10 years, this addiction will be $2 trillion. How much is $2 trillion? Let's put it in simple terms. In the history of mankind, no country has ever sent more wealth overseas.
Consider this: Every day 90 million barrels of oil are pumped out of the ground around the world. And 19 million of those are used here in the United States.
That's 21% of the world's oil demand. Used by just 4% of the world's population.
America imports 12 million barrels a day, and Saudi Arabia only produces 9.5 million a day. Is there really more undiscovered oil here than in all of Saudi Arabia?
Oil is getting more expensive to produce, harder to find and there just isn't enough of it to keep up with demand. The simple truth is that the days of cheap and easy oil are over.
America is focused on another crisis: The economy.
Americans are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession. And addressing the economy is still the top priority of our nation, especially in an election year.
To make a real and lasting impact we must seek to do more than create new jobs and opportunities today; we must build the platform on which our economy can continue to grow for decades to come.
There is nothing more important to the present and future of our economy than energy. Any effort to address our economic problems will require a thorough understanding of this issue and willingness to confront our dependence on OPEC oil and what domestic resources we can use.
It is a crisis too large to be addressed piecemeal. We need a plan of action on scale with the problems we face. That is the spirit in which the Pickens Plan was conceived. The Pickens Plan is a collection of coordinated steps that together form a comprehensive approach to America's energy needs.
The Pickens Plan.
There are several pillars to the Pickens Plan:
• Use America's abundant natural gas to replace imported oil as a transportation fuel;
• Build a 21st century backbone electrical transmission grid;
• Develop renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power; and,
• Provide incentives to homeowners and the owners of commercial buildings to upgrade their insulation and increase efficiency.
While dependence on OPEC oil is a critical concern, it is not a problem that can be solved in isolation. Americans must begin to think about energy as a whole, and that begins by considering our energy alternatives and thinking about how we will fuel our world in the next 10 to 20 years and beyond.
Natural gas is a domestic fuel that can free us from OPEC oil.
Nearly 15% of every barrel of oil we consume is used by 18-wheelers moving goods around and across the country by burning imported diesel. An over-the-road truck cannot be moved using current battery technology. Fleet vehicles like buses, taxis, express delivery trucks, and municipal and utility vehicles (any vehicle which returns to the "barn" each night where refueling is a simple matter) should be replaced by vehicles running on clean, cheap, domestic natural gas rather than imported gasoline or diesel fuel.
Currently, domestic natural gas is primarily used to generate electricity. It has the advantage of being cheap and significantly cleaner than coal, but this is not the only use of our natural gas resources.
By aggressively moving to shift America's heavy truck fleets from imported gasoline and diesel to domestic natural gas we can lower our need for OPEC oil and help President Obama reach his goal of zero oil imports from the Middle East within ten years.
But the Pickens Plan isn't just about natural gas.
Natural gas is not a permanent solution to ending our addiction imported oil. It is a bridge fuel to slash our oil dependence while buying us time to develop new technologies that will ultimately replace fossil transportation fuels. Natural gas is the critical puzzle piece RIGHT NOW. It will help us to keep more of the $350 to $450 billion we spend on imported oil every year at home, where it can power our economy and pay for our investments in a smart grid, wind and solar energy, and increased energy efficiency.
By investing in alternative energies while utilizing natural gas for transportation and energy generation, America can decrease its dependence on OPEC oil, develop the cutting-edge know-how to make wind and solar technology viable, and keep more money at home to pay for the whole thing.
It is this connection that makes The Pickens Plan not just a collection of good ideas, but a true plan.
How do we get it done?
The Pickens Plan is a bridge to the future – a blueprint to reduce our dependence on OPEC oil.
By conserving energy and increasing the use of our natural gas resources, we can replace more than one-half of our OPEC oil imports in 10 years. But it will take leadership.
Together with President Obama and the Congress, we can take down the old barriers and provide energy security for generations to come. As the President has said, "Yes, we can."
More than 1.7 million Americans have joined the Pickens Plan Army. Will you?
As of March, 2013 OPEC imports are at a 25yr low at 3.35 million barrels per day. Imports now make up less than 40% of daily supply balance. Your link also implies that OPEC imports were 12 million barrels per day. Not true.
What your Boone Pickens ad isn't saying is that all of this natural gas increase is due in very large part to oil drilling. If you stop drilling for oil, the natural gas goes away. If you drill for natural gas instead, your break even price goes up significantly.
Last edited by Ajax; 06-06-2013 at 10:50 AM.
CNG Ford Escape SUV
World CNG, in partnership with IMPCO Automotive, offers the first-ever EPA- and CARB-certified dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) mini-SUV: the Ford Escape 2.5L.
• Safe and affordable solution for taxi and for-hire companies, utility/municipal fleets, and light cargo delivery services
• No modifications to the factory exhaust and minimal impact on ground clearance
• Close to 90% of original cargo space – nearly 60 ft3 – is retained
• Optional luggage rack
• First-ever ARB certified CNG conversion available for in-use 2012 models
• Type 4 composite cylinders provide up to 250 miles of range
• EPA certified availability: 2011 and 2012 new and existing 2.5L models
• 3 years/36,000 miles warranty on CNG related components
CNG vs. Hybrid & Diesel
German Auto Club Finds That CNG Fiat Panda is Most Economical Car in Europe (2010)
The German equivalent of AAA - Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club, or ADAC - just finished an exhaustive test of almost all cars available for sale in Europe (241 to be exact) in real-world conditions to answer one question: which car can travel the farthest on €30 (~$36 US) worth of cash?
In Europe there are quite a few more choices in the economical range of offerings than we currently have in the U.S., so the competition pitted everything from natural gas to diesel to regular old petrol powered vehicles up against each other.
In the end, the Fiat Panda Natural Power - a dual fuel CNG/gasoline-powered vehicle - won hands down by traveling 724 kilometers (~450 miles) on €30 worth of CNG. If you do the calculations, that's 8 cents a mile, which may sound kind of average to U.S. green car sensibilities, but consider that in Germany gasoline costs about $6.20 per gallon - meaning that even a 30 mpg car would cost about 21 cents per mile to drive there. At $3 per gallon gas, that same 30 mpg car will cost you 10 cents a mile in the U.S.
Even though all the press releases I read on the topic were rather cagey about what the average fuel efficiency of the Panda was during the tests, I did a few back calculations to figure it out myself. ADAC used an average price of €0.94 per kg for the CNG calculations (as shown in the above picture), which means that they obtained a fuel efficiency of 22.7 km (14.1 miles) per kg of CNG, seeing as they traveled 724 km on €30 of fuel.
In the US, CNG is sold in units of gasoline gallon equivalents (gge) instead of kilograms, but using this handy calculator, I was able to figure out that the current average U.S. price of $1.90 per gge is equivalent to €0.62 per kg - roughly 65% of the cost of the €0.94 used by ADAC in their tests. So in the U.S., the same Fiat Panda Natural Power would go 450 miles on about $23 of CNG - or about 5 cents per mile, the equivalent of a 60 mpg car at $3 per gallon gas in the US.
Given that the Fiat Panda Natural Power starts at about €14,000 (~$16,700), if what you're after is pure economy and you live in Europe, that sounds like a steal.
€30 Fuel Test by ADAC
The German Automobilclub (ADAC) carried out an original test on 241 cars in various categories with different fuel systems. The aim: to cover as much distance as possible on €30 of fuel. The test was won triumphantly by the Fiat Panda Natural Power, which covered 724 kilometres, equal to the distance between Frankfurt and the North Sea. With the holiday period approaching, this record achieved by the methane-driven Fiat car shows that it is still possible to save when you travel by car.
Eco- friendly methane systems
ADAC carried out the test on almost all known cars - from small two-seaters to sporting supercars - revealing once again that gas-driven cars offer the best savings. But first of all was the Panda from the Natural Power range, a dual-fuel (methane/petrol) product range made up of 14 Fiat cars and commercial vehicle models able to meet the mobility needs of a huge band of customers. It should be remembered that with nearly 400,000 units sold to date, Fiat leads the field in Europe for vehicles with factory-fitted methane systems (OEM). Due to the extraordinary growth of methane, the most eco-friendly and economical fuel currently on sale, Fiat has been the most environmentally-friendly of the top-selling 10 car brands in Europe for the third year running, with an average CO2 emission level of 127.8 g/km, compared to the market average of 145.8 g/km (analyses carried out by the independent institution Jato Dynamics).
Fiat Panda Natural Power
Two separate methane tanks have been incorporated in the floorpan of the Fiat Panda Natural Power using an under-chassis installation method that is unique in the world, to offer a total capacity of 72 litres (12 kg), thus maintaining the roominess of the original car as far as both passenger space and luggage space are concerned (with a single or split rear seat, luggage compartment capacity increases from 190 to 840 dm3, measured up to the ceiling). The petrol tank capacity (30 litres) offers a back-up for peace of mind even in areas where methane filling stations are thin on the ground.
The Fiat Panda Natural Power may be economical, but this does not limit its speed: the 1.2 8V Bipower propels the car up to 140 km/h when running on natural gas (148 km/h when petrol is used). Last but not least, when natural gas is used, the Fiat Panda Panda achieves a CO2 emission level of just 113/g/km.
Last edited by MCSL; 06-10-2013 at 12:16 AM.
CNG vs. Diesel
In the VIII Polish edition of "Supertest in Economy", which took place on 11th June 2011, vehicles powered by CNG have once more proven their dominance in efficient driving. A Fiat Panda Natural Power (CNG) driven by Wojciech Morawiec, convinced as the most efficient vehicle by burning an astonishing amount of only 3,03m3 (2,23 kg) natural gas on 100 km. This incredibly low consumption ensured the victory of the Fiat Panda in the classification overall. Vehicles powered by methane were also celebrating victories in other classifications, such as ´best combustion´ and 'the cheapest on the road'.
1. Fiat Panda 1.2 Natural Power (CNG)
2. Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG EcoFlex Turbo (CNG)
3. Volkswagen Passat 1.4 TSI EcoFuel (CNG)
4. Skoda Octavia GreenLine 1.6 TDI (diesel)
5. Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life 2.0 EcoFuel (CNG)
6. Fiat Doblo 1.6 Natural Power (CNG)
7. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1.8 NGT (CNG)
8. Alfa Romeo MiTo 1.6 JTDM (diesel)
9. Fiat 500 1.3 Multijet (diesel)
10. Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDI (diesel)
11. Mitsubishi ASX 1.8 DID MIVEC (diesel)
12. Iveco EcoDaily 3.0 Natural Power (CNG)
Best Green Engine of the Year 2013
1. Fiat 875cc 2-cylinder Turbo CNG (Fiat Panda, Fiat 500L)
2. GM 1.4-liter EV range extender (Chevy Volt)
3. Tesla EV (Tesla Model S)
4. Ford 999cc 3-cylinder Turbo (Ford Fiesta)
5. Mazda 2.2-liter Skyactiv Diesel (Mazda 6)
6. Toyota 1.8-liter hybrid (Toyota Plug-in Prius)
In the closest-run category at this year's International Engine of the Year Awards, Fiat made history when its 875cc two-cylinder turbo CNG unit became the first-ever alternative fuels heart to take home the Green Engine title.
Pipping last year's winner, General Motors'1.4-litre hybrid range-extender, to the eco gong by just three points, Fiat's small and lively bio-fuelled powertrain is a unique update on the company's pre-existing TwinAir IC design, which famously stormed the 2011 International Engine of the Year Awards, collecting no fewer than four accolades, before failing to secure even one victory last year.
However, the Italian OEM looks to be in a better position for 2013 because, unlike its pure-electric and hybrid rivals, Fiat's engineers have opted for methane as the most technologically appropriate choice for contributing to emissions reduction. It's a decision that has enabled Fiat to realize a company-record and Euro 6-compliant emissions level of 86g/km of CO2 and fuel consumption of 3.1l/100kg (91.1mpg) in the combined cycle. And while managing a high specific power rating of 80ps and 140Nm of torque for more driving fun, the Panda TwinAir Natural Power can cover up to 340km with only €10 of methane – roughly three and half times the distance achievable by some of its fellow Green Engine nominees.
As summed up by Natan Tazelaar from Autokompas, "Fiat made a bold move by going for a two-cylinder CNG in a segment dominated by three-cylinder diesels and hybrids. It turned out to be a well-played move though, because this tiny 875cc is entertaining, unbelievably cheap to run, and sounds like the classic Cinquecento as an added bonus."
Design-wise, the arrangement of the two methane tanks under the Panda's floor results in the same luggage compartment capacity as on the petrol and diesel versions, while the use of CNG allows the car to have free access to many city centres that enforce environmental charging laws.
"Using natural gas, or even better, bio-gas, might be the best way to widely reduce fossil CO2 emissions. The two-cylinder turbocharged Fiat engine is perfect for this purpose" Yves Maroselli, L'Automobile
Last edited by MCSL; 06-10-2013 at 11:43 PM.
Best Green Engine of the Year 2013
The innovative Fiat 0.9 TwinAir Turbo bi-fuel methane-powered engine received the 'Best Green Engine of the Year 2013' title, one of the twelve categories of the prestigious 'International Engine of the Year Awards'. Now in its 15th edition, the international contest is one of the most significant events on the automotive calendar with the participation of all the major world car manufacturers.
The jury consists of a panel of 76 journalists and industry experts from 36 different countries who recognized the great qualities of the new methane-powered bi-fuel TwinAir Turbo, a cutting-edge engine designed to combine excellent performance levels with financial and environmental sustainability.
The 'Best Green Engine of the Year 2013' award was collected today in Stuttgart (Germany) on the occasion of the'Engine Expo 2013' event.
The methane-powered bi-fuel TwinAir Turbo engine: Launched last year for the first time on the new Fiat Panda, this innovative two-cylinder engine combines the environmental benefits of methane fuel supply with the power and fun at the wheel ensured by Turbo TwinAir technology. This is demonstrated by its maximum power of 80 HP (59 kW) at 5,500 rpm and a maximum torque of a generous 140 Nm at just 2,500 rpm. All whilst ensuring reduced fuel consumption and emission levels: for instance, the new Fiat Panda TwinAir Turbo Natural Power produces 86 g/km of CO2, a level among the lowest on the market, and uses just 3.1 kg of methane every 100 km (combined cycle).
Specifically, compared to the petrol version, the TwinAir bi-fuel includes specific fuel system components, including the intake manifold, injectors, electronic engine control system and valve seats with specific geometry made of low-wear material. The perfect integration of all components and state-of-the-art technology - such as the MultiAir system and the turbocharger - guarantee maximum reliability and ensure that performance and handling remain the same also when running on methane.
Currently the new 0.9 TwinAir Turbo Natural Power 80 HP is available on the Fiat Panda and 500L Natural Power models as well as on the Lancia Ypsilon EcoChic.
TwinAir: multi-award-winning technology ever since its launch in 2011. As early as its début, the TwinAir had already triumphed at the 'International Engine of the Year Awards 2011', winning 4 awards: the one for its displacement category (under 1,000 cm3), 'Best New Engine 2011', 'Best Green Engine 2011' and the 'International Engine of the Year 2011' award, the top award in the competition, which began in the United Kingdom in 1999.
Today, the family of TwinAir engines includes the 65 HP aspirated petrol version and the 85 HP and 105 HP Turbo version, the latter ranked top of its category in terms of specific power (120 HP/litre). The epitome of the concept of downsizing, the efficient engines in the TwinAir family feature the sophisticated MultiAir technology for the smart management of the intake valves, which affords brilliant performance levels and, concurrently, extremely low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The same technology that gained the 1.4 MultiAir Turbo engine the 'Best New Engine' award in 2010, confirming Fiat's undisputed leadership in developing and producing small-displacement engines with high technological content and low environmental impact.
Methane, a concrete and readily available alternative
In the field of alternative fuels, Fiat considers that methane engines are now the most appropriate technological choice for contributing to the reduction of pollution in urban areas and the limitation of CO2 emissions. Methane engines minimize the most harmful emissions such as particulate (practically reduced to zero), nitrogen oxide and the most reactive hydrocarbons, which cause the formation of other pollutants. They also generate 23% less CO2 compared to petrol engines. Therefore, methane is the "cleanest" and cheapest fuel available today and it is also potentially a source of renewable energy thanks to the development of biomethane.
For over 15 years, the Fiat Group has been the leading European original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for methane-fuelled vehicles, the one which offers the widest eco-friendly range with bi-fuel supply (methane/petrol) designed to accommodate the needs of a broad-ranging clientele, including goods transport professionals: between 1997 and today, Fiat has sold over 560,000 Natural Power cars and commercial vehicles.
Lastly, mention must be made that the methane (CNG) range has certainly contributed to a significant extent to the records acknowledged in the latest research by JATO Dynamics, world leader in automotive consultancy and research. Indeed, in 2012, for the sixth year running, Fiat proved to be the brand which recorded the lowest level of CO2 emissions in Europe among the best-selling automotive brands, with an average value of 119.8 g/km. And that's not all. Over the last 5 years, Fiat has reduced its average emissions by 13%, which is significantly lower than the target of 130 g/km set out by the European Union for 2015.
Last edited by MCSL; 06-16-2013 at 12:50 AM.
ACT Expo 2013
The Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo is North America's largest alternative fuel and clean vehicle technology conference and expo—representing electric, hybrid, hydrogen, natural gas, propane autogas, and renewable fuels.
ACT Expo is unrivaled in its ability to provide strong educational content to individuals that are looking to make investments in alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technologies. Here's a snapshot of the educational sessions offered:
• End-user case studies from leading fleets
• Latest OEM technologies and aftermarket solutions
• Rental, leasing, and employee program options
• Fueling infrastructure solutions of all sizes
• Fuel production, supply, and procurement strategies
• Forward fuel pricing projects and commodity markets
• Financial modeling to achieve positive ROIs
• Total cost of ownership case studies
• Industry trends and key market drivers in the years ahead
• Important public policy considerations
By the end of the conference, attendees will have the tools, resources, and industry contacts needed to evaluate, implement, and continue to grow their own alternative fuel initiatives.
ACT Expo provides direct access to the latest OEM and technology products on the market. All alternative fuel types are represented at this show providing a one-stop shop for fleet managers to learn about the wide-range of solutions available.
Gain valuable, hands-on experience from:
• A packed Expo Hall brimming with interactive technology and equipment displays.
• A "Ride & Drive" event with 30+ advanced technology vehicles representing all fuels and weight classes
• Pre-conference training sessions and off-site technical tours
Americans used more natural gas, solar panels and wind turbines and less coal to generate electricity in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. energy charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Each year, the Laboratory releases energy flow charts that track the nation's consumption of energy resources.
Natural gas use is up particularly in the electricity generation sector, where it has basically substituted directly for coal, while sustained low natural gas prices have prompted a shift from coal to gas in the electricity generating sector, according to A.J. Simon, an LLNL energy systems analyst.
The rise in renewables is tied to both prices (the underlying cost of solar panels and wind turbines has gone down) and policy (government incentives to installers of equipment or renewable energy targets in various states), Simon said.
Overall, Americans used 2.2 quadrillion BTU, or quads, less in 2012 than the previous year (BTU or British Thermal Unit is a unit of measurement for energy; 3,400 BTU is equivalent to about 1 kW-hr).
Once again, wind power saw the highest percentage gains, going from 1.17 quads produced in 2011 up to 1.36 quads in 2012.
New wind farms continue to come on line with bigger, more efficient turbines that have been developed in response to government-sponsored incentives to invest in renewable energy.
Solar also jumped from 0.158 quads in 2011 to 0.235 quads in 2012. Extraordinary declines in prices of photovoltaic panels, due to global oversupply, drove this shift.
This is the first year in at least a decade where there has been a measurable decrease in nuclear energy.
"It is likely to be a permanent cut as four nuclear reactors recently went offline (two units at San Onofre in California as well as the power stations at Kewaunee in Wisconsin and Crystal River in Florida)," Simon said. "There are a couple of nuclear plants under construction, but they won't come on for another few years."
Coal and oil use dropped in 2012 while natural gas use jumped to 26 quads from 24.9 quads the previous year.
There is a direct correlation between a drop in coal electricity generation and the jump in electricity production from natural gas.
The majority of energy use in 2012 was used for electricity generation (38.1 quads), followed by transportation, industrial, residential and consumption.
However, energy use in the residential, commercial and transportation sectors decreased while industrial energy use increased slightly.
Last edited by MCSL; 07-21-2013 at 12:03 AM.
America's best-selling vehicle gets CNG package
Ford, America's truck leader, will offer the 2014 F-150 with the ability to run on compressed natural gas, making Ford the only manufacturer with an available CNG/LPG-capable half-ton pickup.
The 2014 Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V6 engine will be available this fall with a factory-installed, gaseous-fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings so it can operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.
When the 3.7-liter V6 F-150 is equipped with a CNG/LPG engine package, it is capable of achieving more than 750 miles on one tank of gas, depending on the tank size selected. The Ford F-150 averages 23 mpg on the highway.
"Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel's low price and clean emissions," said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager. "With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months."
CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs approximately $315 before the customer chooses a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $7,500 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity.
CNG conversions can provide stability against fluctuating fuel prices as well as lower vehicle operating costs for fleet administrators. CNG sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, representing a significant savings over unleaded regular fuel. The national average for unleaded regular fuel is $3.66 per gallon.
In the next year, Ford will offer eight commercial vehicles with a gaseous-prep option, a number no other full-line manufacturer can match:
- Transit Connect van and wagon
- Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab
- E-Series van, wagon, cutaway and stripped chassis
- F-Series Super Duty pickup and F-350 chassis cab
- F-Series Super Duty chassis cab (F-450, F-550)
- F-650 medium-duty truck
- F53 and F59 stripped chassis
- 2014 F-150 light-duty pickup
Customers are enthusiastically responding to this powerful array of choices. Since reintroducing the option in 2009, Ford has established itself as the leader in CNG/LPG engine sales. Ford is on pace to sell more than 15,000 CNG/LPG-prepped vehicles this year, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2012.
AT&T is one of many Ford customers that are finding value in CNG. The communications giant recently purchased 650 F-350 chassis cabs with the CNG-prep option.
"We're almost halfway to our company-wide goal of deploying 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of year 2018," said Jerome Webber, AT&T vice president, global fleet operations. "Vehicles such as CNG F-350s from Ford have helped us avoid purchasing 7.7 million gallons of gasoline over the past five years while reducing our fleet's emissions."
Qualified Vehicle Modifiers
Ford has established a rigorous qualification program for alternative-fuel vehicle modifiers. The QVM program is intended to help modifiers achieve greater levels of customer satisfaction and product acceptance through the manufacture of high-quality vehicles.
QVMs offer a wide variety of CNG/LPG options to help customers find the best, most cost-effective solution to their diverse operating needs. Ford maintains the engine and powertrain limited warranty (five years or 60,000 miles); the modifier is responsible for the system component warranty.
Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is mainly composed of methane. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of approximately 3,600 psi. About 85 percent of the CNG used in the United States is produced domestically.
Another benefit of this alternative fuel: Cleaner emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certifies CNG usage can result in up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.
Last edited by MCSL; 08-01-2013 at 10:41 PM.
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