Posts Tagged ‘clean transportation’

Alternative Fuel Vehicle First Responder Training Now Online

Posted on: June 4th, 2014 by shannonhelm

 

Provides education on specialized emergency procedures and more

 

With an increase of alternative fuel vehicles on U.S. highways, first responders are in need of learning more about how to react in an emergency situation with these types of vehicles. Due to an overwhelming request for training, the N.C. Solar Center now has alternative fuels first responder training available online. The objective of the training is to give area emergency response personnel the opportunity to familiarize themselves with, understand the potential hazards unique to and learn some of the specialized emergency procedures associated with the growing number of alternative fuel vehicles and stations that they may encounter throughout the area.

The N.C. Department of Insurance Office of the State Fire Marshall will soon have this training on its website as part of its “Pocket Tools Training” section and as instructor resources. The materials are based on a live a two-day training workshop for area first responders conducted as part of the Carolina Blue Skies & Green Jobs Initiative.

Similar to the live workshop, this online version is broken into three modules–Gaseous Fuels which includes Natural Gas and Propane, Biofuels which includes Ethanol and Biodiesel, and Electric Drive Vehicles which includes Battery Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles. The material is presented in classroom lecture and discussion format with corresponding power point slides, brief subject matter videos and videos of the hands-on static vehicle reviews that were conducted. Each module is broken into 10-30 minute sections for self-paced review online. Click here for links to the materials.

The workshop is led by Rich Cregar, an instructor and vehicle technician with over 25 years of alternative fuels experience. Additional support was provided by Wilson and Nash Community College Fire and Emergency Programs instructors.

The Carolina Blue Skies & Green Jobs Initiative, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, deployed more than 500 alternative fuel vehicles and commissioned more than 140 alternative fueling sites throughout North and South Carolina. The N.C. Solar Center was a principle partner to the project lead by the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition at Triangle J Council of Governments.

 

About the NC Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Apex, NC to get first electric car-charging station

Posted on: May 8th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments

 

As of May 2nd, downtown Apex will have its first public car-charging station.

There will be three charging spaces in the Saunders Street parking lot, across from the Apex Police Department, that are free of cost and available to the general public.

One is equipped with an Eaton DC Quick Charger that can charge Tesla vehicles, the Nissan LEAF, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV to about an 80 percent charge in 20 to 30 minutes. The other two spaces have GE Level 2 chargers, which can accommodate all electric vehicles with about 40 miles of charge in three to four hours.

“Wake County is scattered with dozens of similar stations, providing PEV owners with the opportunity to charge while they work, dine, or shop,” said Town Manager Bruce Radford in a release. “We saw the need in Apex to provide this service to our visitors and residents while allowing them to enjoy the amenities of our downtown.”

Funds for the charging station came from grant programs through North Carolina State University, the North Carolina Solar Center and Advanced Energy.

The town of Apex received another grant to buy four electric vehicles and install charging stations at Town Hall. These stations will be for town use only.

 

Triangle Business Journal

N.C. Smart Fleet program announced

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments

 

State-wide program aims to recognize fleets for their efficiency efforts

Raleigh, N.C. – With gas prices on the rise, the N.C. Solar Center is announcing the launch of N.C. Smart Fleet, an initiative to recognize North Carolina fleets for efficiency efforts, as well as clean transportation technology and policy adoption. N.C. Smart Fleet provides an opportunity for both public and private sector fleets to quantify, aggregate and celebrate all that they are doing for air quality and fuel efficiency. With an eye towards reducing petroleum fuel use, increasing awareness and implementing cleaner burning alternative transportation fuels and idle reduction technologies, the program will require tracking of the fleet’s annual fuel use, outreach activities and internal fleet procedures.

Benefits of joining N.C. Smart Fleet include statewide recognition by the N.C. Department of Transportation at the Center’s annual Mobile Clean Air Renewable Energy (CARE) awards event, promotion of technologies and policies that can save fleet’s money and reduce emissions, networking opportunities and technical assistance. “The N.C. Solar Center is pleased to have the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Department, and Waste Industries join N.C. Smart Fleet as inaugural members and look forward to other fleets both large and small joining throughout the year” announced Anne Tazewell, Transportation Program Manager at the N.C. Solar Center. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. No previous experience with alternative fuels or commitment to reduced fuel use is required. N.C. Smart Fleet application and overview information is available at www.cleantransportation.org.

The N.C. Smart Fleet initiative is a statewide effort led by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University. The Center has partnered with regional organizations Centralina Council of Governments, Land of Sky Council of Governments, Kerr Tar Council of Governments, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Triangle J Council of Governments and Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments to support regional fleet efforts.

 

Click here for more details.

 

About the N.C. Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

Clean Transportation Public Education Campaign Launched

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by shannonhelm No Comments

 

For Immediate Release

December 18th, 2013

 

Program aims to reduce transportation related emissions

 

Raleigh, N.C. – Seven  billboard designs  were unveiled on December 18th  as part of   a two year educational campaign that will include a minimum of 130 outdoor advertising displays to be placed in the 24 North Carolina counties with air pollution concerns  related to  national ambient air quality standards. The N.C. Solar Center, working with the N.C. Outdoor Advertising Association, is conducting the campaign to raise awareness about opportunities to decrease transportation related emissions through alternative fuels, efficiency and conservation.  N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata was a featured speaker along with Representative Nelson Dollar and Senator Josh Stein at the event.
North Carolinians with diabetes, cardio-vascular and lung disease, along with the young and old are especially sensitive to the effects of poor air quality.  Alternative fuels and smart travel options, including bicycle and pedestrian opportunities are transportation technology solutions that reduce emissions and support fuel conservation and diversity. They can also help save drivers money. “Public awareness and education are essential to our efforts to reduce transportation-related emissions across the state,” said Tata. “This billboard campaign helps reach motorists while they are actually driving to encourage them to take steps toward implementing clean transportation.”

The N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University, with support from the N.C. Department of Transportation and partners, is organizing the public education media campaign that includes outdoor advertising and other print and electronic media as part of the $6.2 M Clean Fuel Advanced Technology Project. CFAT is focused on reducing transportation related emissions in NC counties that do not meet national air quality standards. The three year project covers education/outreach, sub-award funding to purchase clean transportation technology, and recognition of exemplary activities.

Click here to learn more and review all the billboard designs.

 

About the NC Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

 

 

 Media Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Project Contact: Anne Tazewell, N.C. Solar Center, 919-513-7831anne_tazewell@ncsu.edu

Clean Fuel Advanced Technology Project Funding Announced

Posted on: November 14th, 2013 by shannon No Comments
Over $1,700,000 awarded for transportation-related emission reductions

 

Raleigh, N.C. – The N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University has announced the results of its 2013 call for projects under the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project. This $6.2 million initiative is supported through federal funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT).  The N.C. Solar Center anticipates conducting another request for proposal process in early 2014.

Over 30 technology project proposals, requesting over $3.75 million, were submitted to the N.C. Solar Center for consideration. With this announcement, over $1.725 million in federal funding is being awarded for eighteen projects to a variety of public and private organizations. The diverse range of awards include seven projects that involve electric vehicle charging stations, four compressed natural gas (CNG) and four propane (LPG) projects, two projects involving on-board vehicle idle reduction and telematics technology,  one project with three biodiesel refueling infrastructure sites, and a clean diesel locomotive project. In all, over 275 vehicles will be outfitted with alternative fuel or advanced technology for fuel savings and reduced emissions, and 21 electric vehicle recharging stations will be installed along with six alternative fuel refueling stations including stations dispensing biodiesel, CNG, and LPG. Taken as a whole, the projects will remove nearly 60 metric tons of pollutants annually from the air in counties not meeting air quality standards.

This is the fourth round of DOT funding available through the CFAT project. From 2006-2012 nearly $2.2 million was distributed for 47 projects to a variety of entities. The CFAT project, funded by federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds, operates in counties that do not meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. More than half of North Carolinians live in counties that have unhealthy air, and transportation related emissions are a primary contributor to the state’s air quality problem.

Funding assistance will be allocated in the form of a reimbursement, which can cover up to 80% of the project cost. “We are pleased that the eighteen awardees are collectively providing almost 60% of total project costs, thereby helping stretch federal dollars to provide more air quality benefits,”  said Anne Tazewell, Transportation Program Manager at the N.C. Solar Center. The projects will reduce transportation-related emissions within 15 of the 24 eligible NC counties. For education and outreach regarding alternative fuel and fuel conservation technologies and policies, the N.C. Solar Center has partnered with Triangle J, Centralina, Upper Coastal Plain and Kerr-Tar Councils of Governments, and the Piedmont Triad Regional Council. 

A full list of awardees can be found by clicking here.

 

About the N.C. Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

Media Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo

Posted on: September 30th, 2013 by shannon

 

Final Logo without Date_Cropped

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Save the Date!
October 22-24, 2014
Raleigh Convention Center
Raleigh, NC

 

The Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference and Expo will provide the opportunity for education and networking among fleet managers, industry experts and other decision makers. Presentations and breakout sessions will focus on alternative fuels and fleet efficiency options covering technical details, policies and programs as well as successful fleet implementation stories. Attendees will also gain hands-on experience with the technologies and one-on-one discussion with the nation’s leading technology providers at the Exposition and Ride-and-Drive events. The NC Clean Energy Technology Center will be hosting the Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference and Expo with support from the NC Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Energy and in partnership with the three North Carolina Clean Cities Coalitions and five neighboring state Clean Cities Coalitions.

 

Join us October 22-24, 2014 at the Raleigh Convention Center to learn how clean transportation is…
Driving the New Economy!

 

 

For more information:
www.altfuelsconference.org
cleantransportation@ncsu.edu
(919) 513?7831

 

Emergency Preparedness Meets Alternative Fuels in First Responder Training

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

The N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University hosted a two-day training workshop for area first responders as part of the Carolina Blue Skies & Green Jobs Initiative.  The workshop was held September 17th and 18th on the N.C. State University campus.  The objective was to give area emergency response personnel the opportunity to familiarize themselves with, understand the potential hazards unique to, and learn some of the specialized emergency procedures associated with the growing number of alternative fuel vehicles and stations that they may encounter throughout the area. Attendance each day exceeded 50 participants with emergency response personnel coming from as far away as the Piedmont Triad area and the North Carolina coast. In attendance was Robert Shuler Engineering Liaison for the N.C. Department of Insurance and State Fire Marshalls office who noted, “The information presented was excellent.  A lot of the facts were clearly presented and myths dispelled.”

Led by Rich Cregar, an instructor and vehicle technician with over 25 years of  alternative fuels experience,  the workshop was a combination of classroom and hands-on learning with a static vehicle review each day that included propane, natural gas, biodiesel, electric hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, hydraulic hybrid and electric vehicles. Additional support was provided by Wilson and Nash Community College Fire and Emergency Programs instructors. Both the classroom and vehicle review portions were filmed for future use. “ We intend to work with the State Fire Marshall’s office and N.C. State’s Distance Education Learning Technologies program to package the two-day training  in modular sections  to be posted online, so that emergency personnel can benefit from the training from their desk,”  said Rick Sapienza, workshop lead for the N.C. Solar Center.

The Carolina Blue Skies & Green Jobs Initiative, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, deployed more than 500 alternative fuel vehicles and commissioned more than 140 alternative fueling sites throughout North and South Carolina. The N.C. Solar Center was a principle partner to the project lead by the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition at Triangle J Council of Governments.

 

About the North Carolina Solar Center:

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

Media Contact:

Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Raleigh to convert more police cars to propane

Posted on: September 5th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

RALEIGH — The city will more than double the number of police vehicles that run on propane, after a two-year test of the cleaner, less-expensive fuel proved successful.

The City Council voted this week to spend $195,000 to convert 30 police vehicles to propane, on top of the 20 patrol cars that already use the fuel.

Those 20 cars are used in the police department’s North District, based on Six Forks Road, where officers have found that the propane performs just as well as gasoline, said Capt. Doug Brugger, district commander.

“It has become so commonplace here, it’s not even an issue,” Brugger said. “The guys don’t even give it any thought.”

But with propane costing less than half as much as gasoline per gallon, the cars have made a difference in the city’s fuel bill. The Raleigh Police Department has used about 92,000 gallons of propane since the test program began in 2011, Brugger said, saving about $126,000 in fuel.

In addition, the city has received a 50-cent-per-gallon federal incentive that has added up to an additional $46,000 windfall for the city, he said.

The city converted the first 10 Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars to propane starting in May 2011 and added 10 a year later. Federal grants paid the $117,000 cost of those conversions, according to the city.

Clean, cheap and U.S.-made

The federal government encourages propane in part because of the pollution benefits. Propane releases 20 to 40 percent less carbon monoxide and about 80 percent less particulate matter than gasoline, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In addition, the vast majority of propane is produced domestically, reducing reliance on imported fuel.

The converted Raleigh police cars are capable of burning both gasoline and propane. The propane tanks are made of quarter-inch steel, Brugger said, making them less vulnerable to puncture than gasoline tanks.

Officers start a cold car with gasoline but switch to propane when the engine warms up and run with propane for the rest of their shift, Brugger said. In emergencies, such as a hurricane, the cars can use both fuel tanks and run for 36 to 40 hours without refueling, according to the city.

The $195,000 approved by the council is already included in the police department budget. It will cover not only the conversion of the vehicles but also installation of storage and maintenance equipment.

 

Raleigh News & Observer

N.C. Solar Center receives $6.2 Million grant for air quality solutions in North Carolina

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

Energy Award Supports North Carolina Alternative Fuel Efforts

RALEIGH, N.C.– The North Carolina Department of Transportation is supporting efforts led by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University to reduce transportation related emissions with a three-year $6,200,000 award for the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project. The CFAT 2013-15 project is the third phase of an initiative that began in 2006 and was previously administered with $3,000,000 in state and federal funding.

The CFAT project focuses on improving air quality in the 24 North Carolina counties that are in non-attainment or maintenance status for national air quality standards. The project centers around three primary activities: education and outreach, emission reduction sub-awards and recognition of exemplary efforts among fleets and organizations that implement clean transportation-related policies and practices. Phase three of the project will include the following new components:

  • A public education campaign, using billboards and other related media such as radio, television and social media;
  • The establishment of a technical advisory committee to develop clean transportation training activities;
  • The creation of a state-wide green fleet program to enhance opportunities for continuing expansion of clean transportation policies and practices.

 

The grant awarded to the N.C. Solar Center is funded with federal dollars through the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program that is administered annually by NCDOT.  CMAQ funds support projects that improve air quality by reducing transportation-related emissions. The most recent federal transportation funding bill, MAP-21, places new emphasis on the use of CMAQ funds for electric and natural gas  infrastructure  along with diesel engine retrofits and other efforts that reduce fine particle pollution.

The majority of federal CMAQ funding supporting the CFAT project is budgeted for sub-award projects that will be allocated through an annual call for project process. Over $4,000,000 is budgeted for eligible CMAQ technologies, such as vehicle and refueling/recharging equipment for biodiesel and E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), electric vehicles, natural gas and propane in public and private sector fleets. Diesel retrofits and idle reduction technologies are also eligible for funding support of up to 80% of project costs

The CFAT project intends to continue successful partnerships with Centralina and Triangle J Council of Governments (COGs) through the Centralina Clean Fuels and Triangle Clean Cities coalitions, as well as expand education and outreach efforts to the Piedmont Triad Regional Council and Upper Coastal Plain and Ker-Tarr COGs. “NCDOT’s funding will significantly expand education, outreach and deployment of alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology to help reduce transportation-related emissions in effected counties ”, said Anne Tazewell, clean transportation manager at the N.C. Solar Center.

 

About the North Carolina Solar Center:

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Natural gas becomes a fuel for the long haul

Posted on: April 29th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

Truckers, UPS join the lot choosing cleaner, cheaper path

 

The natural gas boom has already upended the American power industry, displacing coal and bringing consumers cheaper electricity.

Now the trucking industry, with its millions of 18-wheelers moving products like potato chips, deodorant and copy paper around the country, is taking a leap forward in switching from petroleum to cleaner-burning natural gas. And if natural gas remains cheap, consumers may benefit again.

This month, Cummins, a leading engine manufacturer, began shipping big, new engines that make long runs on natural gas possible. A skeletal network of refueling stations at dozens of truck stops stands ready. Major shippers like Procter & Gamble, mindful of both fuel costs and green credentials, are turning to companies with natural gas trucks in their fleets.

And in the latest sign of how the momentum for natural gas in transportation is accelerating, United Parcel Service announced last week that it is expanding its fleet of heavy 18-wheel vehicles running on liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to 800 by the end of 2014, from 112. The vehicles will use the new Cummins engines, produced under a joint venture with Westport Innovations.

UPS, like the rest of the industry, still has a long way to go in the conversion, but the company hopes to make natural gas vehicles a majority of its new heavy truck acquisitions in two years. The company is benefiting from incentives provided by various states and the federal government, which offer tax credits and grants for installing natural gas fuel stations and using vehicles fueled by natural gas.

“By us doing this it will help pave the way and others will follow,” said Scott Wicker, chief sustainability officer at UPS. “Moving into LNG is a means to get us onto what we see as the bridging fuel of the future and off of oil. It’s the right step for us, for our customers and for our planet.”

The move could also cut the country’s oil import bill. Right now, about 8 million heavy and medium-weight trucks consume 3 million barrels of oil a day while traveling the nation’s highways. That is nearly 15 percent of the total national daily consumption and the equivalent of three-fourths of the amount of oil imported from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Roughly two-thirds of the diesel used as transportation fuel nationwide feeds 3 million 18-wheelers, the main trucks hauling goods over long distances.

 

A slow transition

In the last four years, the natural gas shale drilling boom has produced a glut of inexpensive fuel, leading producers to argue that the country should wean its commercial and municipal transportation systems from a dependence on imported oil to domestically produced natural gas.

Waste Management driver Alan Sadler fills his truck with CNG gas at the company's filling station in Washington, Pa., last November. Some predict that years from now, motorists needing a fill-up might see natural gas pumps sharing space at the neighborhood filling station with ones dispensing gasoline and diesel.

 

It is cheaper, saving truckers as much as $1.50 a gallon, and it burns cleaner, making it easier to meet emissions standards. The domestic fuel also provides some insulation from the volatile geopolitics that can drive up petroleum prices.

Still, manufacturers and fleet owners have been slow to switch, partly because natural gas vehicles can cost almost twice as much as conventional trucks and because only a few gasoline stations have the specialized equipment needed to dispense the fuel.

Now, as name-brand manufacturers and chains like Nike and Wal-Mart have pressed for transportation of their goods by natural gas vehicles and companies like UPS, FedEx and Ryder System have started exploring the option, truck makers have begun bringing natural gas vehicles to the market. Major manufacturers, including Navistar and Volvo, have plans to offer long-haul natural gas vehicles.

Clean Energy Fuels – a company backed by the financier T. Boone Pickens and Chesapeake Energy – has peppered major routes with 70 stations, many at truck stops operated by Pilot Flying J. (The truck-stop company, whose chief executive is Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns, is separately under investigation for potential rebate fraud.)

Clean Energy has plans to complete 30 to 50 more by the end of the year. Shell has an agreement to build refueling stations at as many as 100 TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers while ENN, a privately held Chinese company, hopes to build 500 filling stations as well.

 

Place to fuel few

That emerging network “really has changed the interplay between the shippers and the contracted carriers,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy’s chief executive. “The whole deal’s beginning to change.”

Though the network is growing rapidly, it has a long way to go. As of May 2012, only 53 LNG fueling stations were in the United States, more than two-thirds concentrated in California, along with 1,047 compressed natural gas stations around the country, according to the Energy Department. In comparison, there were 157,000 fueling stations selling gasoline.

Vehicle use of natural gas in the United States is still negligible but it has been growing. Among fleets whose vehicles travel shorter routes, like transit buses, refuse haulers and delivery trucks, use of compressed natural gas is much further along. Last year, more than half of newly purchased garbage trucks ran on compressed natural gas.

The federal Energy Information Administration last year projected that if enough LNG filling stations were built and economic conditions were right, sales of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles could increase to 275,000 in 2035, equivalent to 34 percent of new vehicle sales, from 860 in 2010. But estimates vary.

Citigroup recently forecast that 30 percent of the heavy truck fleet would shift to natural gas by the end of the decade, but some in the transportation industry put that figure much lower.

 

A ‘chicken-and-egg dilemma’

One obstacle is cost. There are some tax incentives, and the Obama administration funneled stimulus money to various projects. ENN, the Chinese company, for instance, has teamed up with a small company now operating as Blu in Utah that used federal stimulus money to help open a natural gas fueling station in Salt Lake City in 2011.

But industry executives say that the incentives are not enough to get the system going and solve what Bill Logue, chief executive of the FedEx Freight Corp., called the “chicken-and-egg dilemma” of which comes first, the trucks or the stations.

“We believe that public policy supporting the development of natural gas infrastructure is critical and should be prioritized,” he said in an email message. “Individual drivers and private companies cannot realistically be expected to resolve the dilemma themselves.”

Another issue arises alongside the very appeal of the fuel: its low price. Because natural gas is in demand to meet so many different energy needs – including industrial electricity and home heating – prices could rise, as they have in recent months, especially if the Obama administration begins approving the fuel for export to countries where gas commands a much higher price, as some producers and lawmakers are pressing the Energy Department to do.

 

By Diane Cardwell and Clifford Krauss — New York Times