HOUSTON — GE and Clean Energy Fuels will collaborate to expand the infrastructure for natural gas transportation in the United States. The agreement supports Clean Energy’s efforts in developing “America’s Natural Gas Highway,” a fueling network that will enable trucks to operate on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) coast to coast. Truck fleets often can reduce fuel costs by more than 25% and lower emissions with LNG.
Clean Energy Fuels will initially purchase two MicroLNG plants from GE Oil & Gas. The plug-and-play modular units rapidly liquefy natural gas with minimal physical footprint and support fueling stations along critical transportation corridors that run across the U.S. GE Energy Financial Services is providing up to $200 million in financing for the two GE MicroLNG plants.
Clean Energy expects to complete approximately 70 LNG stations by the end of 2012, with more planned for next year to serve the movement of goods along major transportation corridors throughout the U.S. While CNG, or compressed natural gas, is primarily used in cars, buses and smaller trucks, the LNG fueling being rolled out at Clean Energy’s stations is targeted at long-haul, heavy-duty trucks, which have the advantage of longer driving ranges while not impacting tractor weight and incremental costs. In 2013, four major manufacturers will introduce the Cummins Westport 12-liter LNG engine, which is the optimum size for long-haul Class 8 trucks.
The first two MicroLNG plants will produce up to 250,000 gallons per day. The plant is designed to be expanded up to 1 million gallons per day as adoption and demand increases. The LNG produced by the MicroLNG plants will be used primarily at Pilot-Flying J truck stops that serve truckers across the country. The two GE MicroLNG plants are targeted to begin operation in 2015. The two companies are currently assessing the best locations for these first two LNG plants.
“Our MicroLNG plant was born from the same turbomachinery technology that has made GE a success in large LNG compression such as in the world-scale plants in Qatar and Australia. By taking this technology and reengineering it so that it’s modular and highly efficient, we are able to help customers such as Clean Energy,” says Dan Heintzelman, president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas.
GE’s MicroLNG plant can liquefy natural gas at any point along a gas distribution network, making it ideal for supporting the fueling of vehicles in remote locations by reducing the impact of long distance fuel transport. This MicroLNG technology is part of GE’s expanding technology offerings in the natural gas-for-transportation sector.
The new GE MicroLNG system that will be used by Clean Energy will produce 250,000 gallons of LNG per day, or about 54 million DGEs (diesel gallon equivalents) per year with the built-in capability for further expansion, which is a 67% increase over the capacity of the breakthrough MicroLNG plant that GE Oil & Gas first introduced in January of 2012.