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Ride-Share Program Set to Become Active in the Baton Rouge Area

To cut down the numbers of drivers on the road as well as emissions that are released into the air, the Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition is looking to implement a new program that would connect commuters online to organize carpools. 

The long-term goals of this program could be in reach, especially if employers buy into the program.  This could radically change how people get to their jobs, driving down costs for the individuals as well as reducing emissions from the use of fewer vehicles. 

The Capital Region Planning Commission has become interested in the project, and it has been searching for the right software for users in the program.  Recently, it awarded grant funding to Trapeze’s GreenRide software; a rideshare program.

The software uses an Internet-based registration and format to connect riders and drivers based on various criteria.  The software features a way to calculate the money saved by commuting.  Users log in their miles traveled and the software calculates savings as well as the amount of air pollution reduced. 

The reduction, overall, will help the region meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ozone standards.  Many other larger cities have already bought into the GreenRide program.  Other cities include: Detroit, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and New Orleans.  One of the most successful cities using the software has been Redmon, Washington.  This is because Microsoft fully integrated the system into their daily use.

GreenRide software will most likely be available by the end of this year for use by organizational members as well as the general public. 

To read more, click here

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LDNR Requesting Energy Efficiency Loan Fund Applications

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) announces that they are now accepting energy efficiency loan applications from interested parties. 

The parties eligible include: governmental entities, non-profit organizations, privately held commercial, industrial or publicly held entities (located in Louisiana) for the “Louisiana Revolving Loan Fund Program.”   Organizations that are approved for the loan will be eligible for a fixed interest rate of 2% not to exceed a term of ten years. 

The purpose of the program is to encourage the development, implementation and deployment of cost-effective energy efficiency, compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling and vehicle, and renewable energy projects in Louisiana, and to support the creation of additional employment opportunities and other economic development benefits.  The anticipated funding for this project is approximately $3,000,000 to be available for loan applicants that receive approval.

To receive copies of the application along with the guidelines and regulations for the loan, you can begin by writing to:

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources
Technology Assessment Division Attn: Louisiana
Revolving Loan Fund
P.O. Box 94396
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9693

By sending a request via e-mail to:  larlf@la.gov

Or you can attain the information by downloading the forms posted below:

Program Highlights and Requirements:

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/assets/TAD/programs/revolving_loan_fund/LRLFPGuide_20140903.pdf

Application Forms:

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/assets/TAD/programs/revolving_loan_fund/LRLFPAppForms_20140903.pdf

The applications must be turned in by 3:00 p.m. CST on November, 10, 2014.  After this date applications will no longer be accepted. Confirmation of the application by the given date to the larlf@la.gov email address will suffice as having met the program deadline.  Applications will be evaluated and applicants will be given notice if their proposal is selected for loan funding.

For questions and concerns:  
Email: larlf@la.gov
Phone: 225-342-4500

Mailing Address:
Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 94396
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

To read the full article and obtain more information, click here

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Republic Services Quietly Saves the Environment

Republic Services merged with Allied Waste in 2008, then announced their intended conversion of all their trucks to CNG by 2015.

According to Louisiana DEQ’s August newsletter, Republic Services General Manager Calvin Ray explained the two reasons why they chose to convert to CNG: “One, it was the right thing to do for the environment, and second, the CNG trucks are extremely quiet and it makes it much better for the neighborhoods and apartment complexes.”

Republic Services is also benefiting significantly economically. CNG is more cost efficient. It’s a cleaner fuel, so there are fewer oil changes and potential maintenance costs, and CNG is cheaper than diesel.

Ray estimates that the gas equivalent cost will be $1.80 to $2.00 per gallon for their fleet.

Republic’s CNG trucks are automatic side loaders, which are one-person trucks with hydraulic lifts. They are air-conditioned, have power steering and are much quieter than a traditional garbage truck. The drivers have specialized training on the CNG trucks, and all drivers participate in a daily morning meeting with their team and supervisors to go over any challenges.

Republic encountered some obstacles with the differences in CNG trucks and diesel trucks, such as the taller height of the CNG trucks. Because the natural gas tank is on the top of the CNG trucks, they were hitting tree branches that weren’t a problem with Republic’s old trucks. However, Karla Swacker, the Municipal Marketing Manager, told DEQ that Republic is now benefitting from a new sloped wall technology in the CNG trucks that deflects the tree branches.

Republic is well on their way to meeting their goal of becoming a self-sufficient operation.  They constructed a CNG fueling station with 40 operational fueling ports. The automatic, wirelessly controlled station is managed by Clean Energy. The trucks fuel from 5 pm to 3 am, and can run for 10 ½ hours per tank. Republic also has a diesel fueling station and a fast fueling CNG station. The CNG comes from Entergy.

The next phase of Republic’s expansion will begin in Spring 2015 when Republic will add enough fueling ports to accommodate all of their trucks. The top of each CNG station has sensors that will automatically shut the entire system down if it detects a leak.

The warehouses and repair shops for the CNG trucks are specially designed with fans at the top to pull the air out if gas leaks are detected, and they use infrared heaters to avoid open flames.

“Our safety issue was inexperienced drivers and mechanics who had to learn to do things properly,” said Swacker to L-DEQ. It took several years to get the kinks out, said Ray. “First there were power issues, not powerful enough, and then safety issues had to be worked out. When we started the Republic Corporation we set up a playbook of lessons learned. There are lots and lots of fail safes in the operation and on the trucks.”

CNG’s economic, environmental and logistical benefits are hard to ignore. Republic Service’s work with CNG provides a great case study of how to begin the CNG conversion process tactfully and successfully.

“Everyone is looking at CNG now.” said Ray.

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CNG Fueling Station Maintenance: Draining Storage Vessels is Critical Yet Often Overlooked

Performing routine maintenance on compressed natural gas (CNG) stations is essential, and helps protect the investment in both fueling stations and vehicles.  One of the most critical preventative maintenance procedures required at a CNG station is draining the high-pressure storage vessels.  In this article we will explore why this procedure is critical, how to properly drain the vessels and the serious consequences of NOT conducting the procedure.

CNG Starts With a Compressor

CNG is produced by compressing natural gas in a reciprocating compressor.  The natural gas is typically processed through a dryer before it enters the compressor to remove any unnecessary water.  In a fast-fill CNG station, the compressed gas is then stored in high-pressure storage vessels for later dispensing. 

ASME Pressure Vessels

The most common type of high-pressure storage used at CNG stations today is American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) pressure vessels.  These are pressure vessels that have been designed according to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) to have a long, useful service life, and one that ensures the protection of human life and property.  ASME works as an Accreditation Body and entitles independent third parties such as verification, testing and certification agencies to inspect and ensure compliance to the BPVC.  ASME pressure vessels must be periodically drained of any liquids that may accumulate from natural gas in the form of water, or from the compressor lubrication system in the form of oil. 

Managing Oil and Water at the CNG Station

Compressor oil and water are inevitable in a CNG station, but why?  They occur because any water or oil in a vapor phase that is entrained in the CNG as it enters the high-pressure storage system will become a liquid as they cool.  Although CNG stations use multiple coalescing filters to help remove any liquid or aerosols from the gas supply, coalescing filters cannot catch substances in a vapor phase. 

Outward symptoms of oil issues would include oil or water present when draining coalescing filters, or vehicles that fuel at the CNG station that are hard to start, hesitate under acceleration or stall.  Oil likely will not be visible when draining coalescing filters at a relatively new station, but it will happen eventually as the compressor ages and the packings, gaskets and rings wear, and lubricating oil will migrate into the compressor cylinder heads and become entrained in the natural gas that is being compressed.  Ultimately, it is the effects of pressure and the high temperature—along with the physics of gas being compressed in the presence of oil—that will cause some oil to become entrained in the CNG. 

Routine preventative maintenance procedures are the best solution to mitigating the oil problem.  In addition to ensuring that the coalescing filters at the CNG station are properly sized and maintained, each ASME pressure vessel should be periodically drained.  This requires that a block-and-bleed drain system be installed on each vessel, and it is important to specify the drains during the design phase of the CNG station.  These drains should include a ball valve connected to a length of stainless steel tubing that extends down the side of the ASME pressure vessel stack and connected to a needle valve at the end of each vessel’s drain tube. 

Steps for Draining ASME Vessels

To drain the ASME vessels, with the needle valve closed, open the ball valve and allow any liquid to drain from the vessel into the stainless steel tube system.  After allowing time for any liquid to drain, close the ball valve and open the needle valve, being sure to install a container below the needle valve to catch any liquid that may drain out.  Repeat this procedure until there is no additional liquid draining from the vessel. Then repeat this procedure with each ASME vessel at the fueling station.

No special tools are necessary to drain the ASME vessels if the block-and-bleed valve system is installed.  The only item required is a container to collect the liquid. 

When draining the ASME vessels, the technician should expect that once the needle valve is opened, there will be a small amount of CNG that will escape with the liquid being drained.  While it is not something to be concerned about, there will be a small amount of pressure present when the needle valve is first opened. 

It is also important that when liquid is drained from the ASME pressure vessels, the coalescing filters in the supply piping from each compressor should be drained.

The Importance of Record Keeping

In the maintenance records for the CNG station, the amount of liquid drained from the ASME pressure vessel system should be added to any other liquids drained from filters or the compressor blow-down tank.  Over time, the amount of oil placed in the compressor (crankcase and cylinders) and the amount of oil drained from all filters and ASME pressure vessels should equal each other.  Any difference between these two numbers is the amount being transferred to the vehicles being fueled at the CNG fueling station and this will cause vehicle performance problems.


What Happens if You Don’t Drain the ASME Pressure Vessels?

If the ASME pressure vessels are not drained as part of a routine maintenance program at the CNG station, any liquid (oil or water) in the storage system will eventually work its way into the dispenser and ultimately into the fuel system of the vehicles being fueled at that station. This can create serious operational and warranty problems for fleet operators.  In addition to engine and performance problems like difficulty starting, hesitation and engine stalling, unchecked carryover oil can accumulate in the onboard CNG fuel storage cylinders.   NGVi recently was contacted by one of our clients who was removing and purging the CNG storage cylinders from each vehicle in the fleet due to accumulation of oil—an expensive task that easily could have been prevented by proper maintenance procedures, including draining of the ASME vessels. 

Preventative maintenance for the CNG fueling station—specifically draining coalescing filters and ASME pressure vessels—is the number one solution to ensuring that vehicles fueling at that station perform well and do not experience the problems associated with carryover oil.  

If you'd like to learn more about draining the high-pressure storage vessels and other preventive maintenance procedures, sign up for NGVi's CNG Fueling Station Operation and Maintenance Training.

By Leo Thomason, Executive Director, NGVi    

Article via: The Natural Gas Vehicle Institute (NGVi)

For more information, please visit: www.ngvi.com

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EPA pushes economic case of capturing methane

EPA pushes economic case of capturing methane
St. Landry Parish Waste Disposal District is already cashing in

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy is stressing the need for industry to tamp down on methane leaks and flaring.

McCarthy explained at the Barclays 2014 energy conference on Tuesday that taking steps to capture methane helps combat climate change and makes companies more profitable.

"It's not wasted byproduct, it is product that is being wasted," McCarthy said, "The less methane that is leaked and gets away from you, the more profitable your business is."

In Louisiana, St. Landry Parish Waste Disposal District already implemented a BioCNG system that can produce 250 gallons of gasoline equivalent (GGE) of CNG per day at less than half the cost of gasoline. The fuel is produced from 50 scfm of biogas containing 55 to 58 percent methane. The system can be expanded by adding multiple units if necessary.

In January 2013, the St. Landry Solid Waste Disposal District received the EPA’s 2012 LMOP Project of the Year Award, the second such honor given to the innovative BioCNG system.

Earlier this year, EPA released a methane strategy that directed agencies to research ways to tackle emissions. Since then, the administration has published several white papers on mitigation efforts, but nothing has been released on any formal regulation proposals to reign in emissions from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

"We are looking at the most cost-effective targeted regulatory, and or voluntary initiatives that we may be able to put on the table that significantly take a chunk out of methane emissions in the oil and gas sector," McCarthy said. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of utilizing methane, contact us at info@louisianacleanfuels.org or check out Energy Vision

Click here to read more about EPA’s push to capture methane. 

Click here for a fact sheet on St. Landry’s BioCNG accomplishments. 

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BRCAC Proposes Possible Emissions Credit Plan to Allow Industrial Growth in Baton Rouge Despite Federal Ozone Standards

Development in South Louisiana is booming, but many projects may come to a hault in light of the new, federal ozone standards.  The new standard could classify the Baton Rouge area as “non-attainment.”  However, Mike McDaniel, Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition Leader, has created a solution to reduce air pollutants and allow industrial business to grow. 

The ozone standard would mean that any new development must be accompanied by a reduction in overall emissions of pollutants. In the past, this would be done by purchasing emission reduction credits form the emissions “bank” provided by the state Department of Environmental Quality.  Organizations earn the credits when they voluntarily reduce pollutants below current levels.

McDaniel proposed that more flexibility is needed with the “emissions bank.”  Companies could be allowed to pay for projects outside of their facilities, but the projects also reduce the ozone-causing pollution in the area.  Since the company invested in the outside projects, the organization would get “credits” to expand or build facilities that would release some pollutants, although less than the reductions they will provide in the project.   

For example, a company that wants to build a facility that would release 100 tons of volatile organic compounds would need to purchase and prove reductions of 110 tons of volatile organic compounds.  Possibilities could include a company purchasing natural gas buses for school districts or providing electrical hookups at truck stops to stop truck idling during required, and lengthy, mandatory rest periods.

Currently, there are not enough credits to go around in Baton Rouge to complete all of the intended industrial projects.  This new proposal by McDaniel would create a way to get credits provided, and in the long-run reduce enough emissions in total to meet federal ozone requirements.  Other plans are being discussed of “trading” credits from one region to another; as is being done in Texas between Houston and Dallas.  

On a different viewpoint, McDaniel’s proposal seems to be an “excuse” not to reduce pollutants onsite by creating ways to reduce offsite.  Onsite ozone offset initiatives should still remain to be an important issue at hand. 

McDaniel’s proposal will be further discussed by the Department of Environmental Quality and if it decided to be a route of action, it will be submitted to the EPA for approval. 

Louisiana Clean Fuels is a member of the Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition.  For more information, please visit: http://www.brcleanair.com

Article via The Advocate

To Read More on This Topic:

Avery, C. (2014, August 30). Business, industry leaders worry EPA ozone emission changes will cost state billions in stifled economic growth. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/08/business_industry_leaders_worr.html#incart_river.

Ulkins, G. (2014, July 19). It's electric! Local truck stop goes green with IdleAir. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from http://www.wafb.com/story/26061161/its-electric-local-truck-stop-goes-green.

Wold, A. (2014, July 18). No need to idle rigs with truck utility ports. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from http://theadvocate.com/home/9660087-125/no-need-to-idle-rigs.

Wold, A. (2014, July 20). Inside Report: EPA: Ozone standards not enough. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://theadvocate.com/columnists/9662513-55/epa-ozone-standards-not-enough.

Wold, A. (2014, August 2). Lowering ozone standard could cost Louisiana jobs, economic activity, industry group predicts. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://theadvocate.com/news/9869572-123/lowering-ozone-standard-could-cost.

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