Armored Trucks get Natural Gas & Electric Plug-in Hybrid Conversion to Reduce Emissions by 99.9% & Big Fuel Economy

Efficient Drivetrains and American Repower are partnering to convert a fleet of six armored vans to run on compressed natural gas with a plug-in hybrid.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.autoblog.com

>”When hauling around massive amounts of money and valuables around Southern California, security is generally a much bigger concern than fuel economy. However, the need for vehicles to become more efficient is hitting every segment, even armored vans. That’s why Efficient Drivetrains Inc. and North American Repower are teaming up to convert six of these 26,000-pound behemoths run on natural gaswith a plug-in hybrid offering additional help. The first one should be hauling riches for Sectran Security around Los Angeles in 2016.

All three companies are already positioning the upcoming conversion as a win-win solution to current issues. The armored vehicles can still do their job of hauling money around the LA area but with a claimed 99.9 percent reduction in emissions from the current diesel engines. Generally, the vans make frequent stops while at work but must stay running for security reasons. This can potentially run afoul of California’s rule not to let diesels idle more than five minutes. With this upcoming version, drivers will be able to go electrically between stops and then will use the natural gas when cruising.

This work combines the strengths of both firms working on these vehicles. North American Repower already specializes in natural gas engine management and conversions, and Efficient Drivetrains is very familiar with the world of plug-ins. The funding for the project includes a $3-million grant from the California Energy Commission, plus the same amount in private funds.”<

[…]

>”Press Release:

North American Repower and Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. to Deliver First PHEV-RNG Armored Truck
Collaboration reduces emissions by 99.9 percent

OCEANSIDE, Calif. & MILPITAS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two global leaders in developing and manufacturing advanced transportation vehicles have teamed up to manufacture a first-of-its-kind fleet of Class-5 armored vehicles that combine the benefits of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and zero emission Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) technology.

“We’re excited to be partnering with EDI on this breakthrough innovation”

North American Repower—California’s leading natural gas engine management and conversion technology company— and Efficient Drivetrains, Inc.—a global leader in developing high-efficiency Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle solution—will convert a fleet of six 26,000 pound, Class-5 medium-duty armored vehicles operated by Sectran Security into PHEV vehicles that run on electricity and renewable natural gas—known as “Zero Emission with Range Extension” vehicles. The collaboration supports the dramatic acceleration in California toward a zero emissions environment. Today, the Sectran Security trucks make frequent stops as part of their highly congested urban routes. At each stop, the engines are kept idling for security purposes, but now risk violating California’s strict diesel idling regulations, which prohibit idling the engine for more than five minutes. With the modernized trucks, Sectran can completely eliminate engine idling by operating in all-electric mode during stop-and-go operations on urban routes and in hybrid-mode during highway operations. When complete, the vehicles possess impressive performance statistics—the demonstration trucks will enable Sectran to reduce annual diesel consumption by 31,000+ gallons, significantly reduce annual fuel costs, and reduce emissions by 99.9 percent. […]”<

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Nonpetroleum share of transportation fuel energy at highest level since 1954

“In the United States, petroleum is by far the most-consumed transportation fuel. But recently the share of fuels other than petroleum for U.S. transportation has increased to its highest level since 1954, a time when the use of coal-fired steam locomotives was declining and automobile use was growing rapidly.”

Source: www.eia.gov

>” […] After nearly 50 years of relative stability at about 4%, the nonpetroleum share started increasing steadily in the mid-2000s, reaching 8.5% in 2014. Of the nonpetroleum fuels used for transportation, fuel ethanol has grown most rapidly in recent years, increasing by nearly one quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) between 2000 and 2014. Nearly all of the ethanol consumed was blended into gasoline in blends of 10% or less, but a small amount was used in vehicles capable of running on higher blends as the availability of those flexible-fuel vehicles grew. Consumption of biodiesel, most of it blended into diesel fuel for use in trucks and buses, grew to more than 180 trillion Btu by 2014.

In 2014, transportation use of natural gas reached a historic high of 946 trillion Btu, 3.5% of all natural gas used in the United States. Transportation natural gas is mostly used in the operation of pipelines, primarily to run compressor stations and to deliver natural gas to consumers. Natural gas used to fuel vehicles, although a much smaller amount, has more than doubled since 2000.

Electricity retail sales to the transportation sector grew more than 40% from 2000 through 2014, although sales have declined slightly since 2007. Electricity for transportation is mostly sold to railroads and railways. However, this increase does not include the consumption of electricity in electric vehicles that are not used in mass transit, because charging stations for these types of vehicles are likely associated with meters on residential, commercial, or industrial customer sites where this specific use may not be differentiated from other uses. […]”<

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Closed Loop Cooling Saves Millions of Gallons of Water in Texas Combined Cycle Natural Gas Power Plant

Source: gereports.ca

>” […] Instead of water, each of the two plants will use two powerful air-cooled “Harriet” gas turbines and one air-cooled steam turbine developed by GE. “The technology uses the same cooling principle as the radiator in your car,” Harris says. “You blow in the air and it cools the medium flowing in closed loops around the turbines.”

The power plants, which are expected to open next year, will be using a so-called combined cycle design (see image below) and produce power in two steps. First, the two gas turbines (in the center with exhaust stacks) extract energy from burning natural gas and use it to spin electricity generators. But they also produce waste heat.

The system sends the waste heat to a boiler filled with water, which produces steam that drives a steam turbine to extract more energy and generate more power.

But that’s easier said than done. The steam inside the steamturbine moves in a closed loop and needs to be cooled down back to water so it could be heated up again in the boiler. “Normally, we cool this steam with water, which evaporates and cools down in huge mechanical cooling towers,” says GE engineer Thomas Dreisbach. “A lot of the cooling water escapes in those huge white clouds you sometimes see rising from towers next to power plants.” The Exelon design is using a row of powerful fans and air condensers (rear right) to do the trick and save water.

Similar to the steam turbines, GE’s Harriet gas turbines also use air to chill a closed loop filled with the coolant glycol and reduce the temperature inside the turbine. The combined efficiency of the plant will approach 61 percent, which in the power-generation industry is like running a sub 4-minute mile. […]”<

 

 

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China’s Capital City to Shut Major Coal Power Plants due to Excessive Pollution

(Bloomberg) — Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China’s national standard last year, will close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants next year.

Source: www.bloomberg.com

>” […]

The capital city will shutter China Huaneng Group Corp.’s 845-megawatt power plant in 2016, after last week closing plants owned by Guohua Electric Power Corp. and Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co., according to a statement Monday on the website of the city’s economic planning agency. A fourth major power plant, owned by China Datang Corp., was shut last year.

The facilities will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants.

The closures are part of a broader trend in China, which is the world’s biggest carbon emitter. Facing pressure at home and abroad, policy makers are racing to address the environmental damage seen as a byproduct of breakneck economic growth. Beijing plans to cut annual coal consumption by 13 million metric tons by 2017 from the 2012 level in a bid to slash the concentration of pollutants.

Shutting all the major coal power plants in the city, equivalent to reducing annual coal use by 9.2 million metric tons, is estimated to cut carbon emissions of about 30 million tons, said Tian Miao, a Beijing-based analyst at North Square Blue Oak Ltd., a London-based research company with a focus on China.  […]

Closing coal-fired power plants is seen as a critical step in addressing pollution in China, which gets about 64 percent of the primary energy it uses from the fossil fuel. Coal accounts for about 30 percent of the U.S.’s electricity mix, while gas comprises 42 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.  […]

Air pollution has attracted more public attention in the past few years as heavy smog envelops swathes of the nation including Beijing and Shanghai. About 90 percent of the 161 cities whose air quality was monitored in 2014 failed to meet official standards, according to a report by China’s National Bureau of Statistics earlier this month.

The level of PM2.5, the small particles that pose the greatest risk to human health, averaged 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter last year in the capital, compared with the national standard of 35.

The city also aims to take other measures such as closing polluted companies and cutting cement production capacity to clear the air this year, according to the Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. […]”<

 

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Power plant closures quench demand for Pennsylvania’s coal

More than 100 coal-fired power plants nationwide either plan to shut down or already closed their doors in 2014, as the market responds to stricter environmental regulations, cheap natural gas and lackluster electricity demand growth, according to a survey done by the Energy Information Administration. Behind all those closures sit coal mines — many of them in Appalachia — coping with the loss of customers for the fuel that reigned supreme for many decades. Click the image above for a more detai

Source: powersource.post-gazette.com

>” […] More than 17 million tons of coal from Appalachia went to plants slated to shut down in 2013 alone, the latest full year for which such data are available. And the impact is likely to be even bigger, since the EIA’s list of recent or coming closures doesn’t include generators planning a transition from burning coal to burning natural gas.

Companies have been bracing for this change for years, but many have indicated that it’s coming faster and blunter than expected, driven in part by a slew of environmental regulations.

“That’s an unprecedented change to America’s power system in what constitutes the blink of an eye in energy markets — creating enormous potential for market disruptions, supply shortages and rate spikes,” Deck Slone, senior vice president of strategy and public policy at St. Louis-based Arch Coal, wrote in December.

Like its peers, Arch’s stock price reflects the gloom. At $1.30 per share, Tuesday’s closing price represented a one-year low. Virginia-based coal producer Alpha Natural Resources’ also saw its 52-week bottom at $1.13.  […]

Central Appalachian coal mines stand to be big losers in the transition away from coal, Mr. Cosgrove wrote in November. That includes the historically prolific supplies in Virginia, southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

“Falling demand may hasten mine closings in the region, where coal production has dropped 32 percent since 2009,” he wrote.

Some companies have been bracing for the fall for years.  […]

Between 2012 and 2014, Alpha idled 64 mines, reduced its shipments in the eastern part of the country by 28 percent and got rid of more than 4,000 employees.  […]

The situation looks worse for suppliers such as Virginia-based James River Coal Co., which is in the middle of a restructuring, and Virginia-based James C. Justice Co., which has shed a significant portion of its mine portfolio in recent years. The producers stand to lose 28 percent and 48 percent of shipments, respectively, from mines serving affected plants.

For decades, contracts between coal companies and utilities have included force majeure clauses, according to Mr. Cardwell, who has reviewed hundreds of contracts and negotiated dozens during his 18-year tenure as a coal buyer for a Kentucky utility.

Such clauses typically protect power plants from having to take delivery of coal they no longer need if the power plant is prevented from running by some new environmental regulation or another unforeseen circumstance.

Yet lawsuits seem inevitable following current and projected mine closures. “I have a feeling that there’s going to be pretty significant litigation in the future,” Mr. Cardwell said.

One issue that may arise as power plants claim that environmental regulations pushed them out of business is how much of a role competition from cheap natural gas played in their decision either to shut down or use a different fuel.

Gas is all the rage at the moment. The commodity is trading at around $3 per million British thermal units, or Btus, down from more than $13 in the summer of 2008, towards the beginning of the shale revolution in Appalachia.

That’s why some operators, like Consol Energy, now boast flexibility in their contracts with utilities. Consol has refocused its company on a growing shale gas business, retaining only a handful of coal mines.

According to James McCaffrey, senior vice president of marketing at Consol, who spoke at Platts’ Coal Marketing Days in Downtown in September, “Customers want to flip between coal and gas.”

He said the company was actively negotiating a deal where a utility could choose its fuel depending on its preference.

“That’s a good marketing approach: ‘I’ll give you Btus, you tell me how you want them,’ ” Mr. Cardwell said. […]”<

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Renewable Energy Provides Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided nearly half (49.81 percent – 7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service during 2014 while natural gas accounted for 48.65 percent (7,485 MW).

 

Image source:  http://usncre.org/

Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

>” […] By comparison, in 2013, natural gas accounted for 46.44 percent (7,378 MW) of new electrical generating capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03 percent (6,837 MW). New renewable energy capacity in 2014 is 12.08 percent more than that added in 2013.

New wind energy facilities accounted for over a quarter (26.52 percent) of added capacity (4,080 MW) in 2014 while solar power provided 20.40% (3,139 MW). Other renewables — biomass (254 MW), hydropower (158 MW), and geothermal (32 MW) — accounted for an additional 2.89 percent.

For the year, just a single coal facility (106 MW) came on-line; nuclear power expanded by a mere 71MW due to a plant upgrade; and only 15 small “units” of oil, totaling 47 MW, were added.

Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources in 2014 is 34 times that from coal, nuclear and oil combined — or 72 times that from coal, 108 times that from nuclear, and 163 times that from oil.

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.63 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water – 8.42 percent, wind – 5.54 percent, biomass – 1.38 percent, solar – 0.96 percent, and geothermal steam – 0.33 percent.  Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.14 percent) and oil (3.94 percent) combined.

Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Generation per MW of capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 2014) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources now totals a bit more than 13.1 percent of total U.S. electrical production; however, this figure almost certainly understates renewables’ actual contribution significantly because EIA does not fully account for all electricity generated by distributed renewable energy sources (e.g., rooftop solar).

Can there any longer be doubt about the emerging trends in new U.S. electrical capacity? Coal, oil, and nuclear have become historical relics and it is now a race between renewable sources and natural gas with renewables taking the lead.”<

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Potential of liquefied natural gas use as a railroad fuel

Source: www.eia.gov

>” […]  Continued growth in domestic natural gas production, along with substantially lower natural gas spot prices compared to crude oil, is reshaping the U.S. energy economy and attracting considerable interest in the potential for fueling freight locomotives with liquefied natural gas (LNG). While there is significant appeal for major U.S. railroads to use LNG as a fuel for locomotives because of its potentially favorable economics compared with diesel fuel, there are also key uncertainties as to whether, and to what extent, the railroads can take advantage of this relatively cheap and abundant fuel.

Freight railroads and the basic economics of fuel choice  Major U.S. railroads, known commonly as Class 1 railroads, are defined as line-haul freight railroads with certain minimum annual operating revenue. Currently, that classification is based on 2011 operating revenue of $433.2 million or more [1]. While there are 561 freight railroads operating in the United States, only seven are defined as Class 1 railroads. The Class 1 railroads account for 94% of total freight rail revenue [2]. They haul large amounts of tonnage over long distances, and in the process they consume significant quantities of diesel fuel. In 2012, the seven Class 1 railroads consumed more than 3.6 billion gallons (gal) of diesel fuel [3], amounting to 10 million gal/day and representing 7% of all diesel fuel consumed in the United States. […]

The large differential between crude oil and natural gas commodity prices translates directly into a significant disparity between projected LNG and diesel fuel prices, even after accounting for natural gas liquefaction costs that exceed refining costs. […]

Given the difference between LNG and diesel fuel prices in the Reference case, railroads that switch locomotive fuels could accrue significant fuel cost savings. Locomotives are used intensively, consume large amounts of fuel, and are kept in service for relatively long periods of time. The net present value of future fuel savings across the Reference case projection for an LNG locomotive compared to a diesel counterpart is well above the roughly $1 million higher cost of the LNG locomotive and tender (Figure IF3-3).  […]

Relatively large changes in assumptions used to evaluate investments in LNG locomotives (such as a significantly shorter payback period or much higher discount rate) or in fuel prices would be required to change LNG fuel economics for railroad use from favorable to unfavorable. […] “<

 

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Climate Change, Carbon Reduction and Mitigating Natural Gas Use in the Electricity Sector

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan offers states the opportunity to curb rising natural gas use in the United States and achieve steeper carbon-pollution reductions by investing more aggressively in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Source: www.americanprogress.org

>” […] In the United States, electric utilities are the largest source of carbon pollution. Therefore, the reduction of power-sector emissions needs to be a central component of any meaningful climate mitigation strategy. In June, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, released a landmark proposal to establish the first-ever carbon-pollution standards for the nation’s power plants.

This proposal, the Clean Power Plan, establishes a “best system of emissions reduction” based on four building blocks that combine to make the nation’s electricity system more efficient and less reliant on carbon-heavy coal-burning power plants. […]

One of the Clean Power Plan’s central elements is increasing the use of lower-carbon natural gas combined cycle, or NGCC, units to generate some of the electricity now produced by higher-carbon coal-fired power plants. States can use this approach to achieve relatively quick carbon-pollution reductions starting in 2020 while ramping up the deployment of programs that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The EPA modeled two compliance scenarios to understand the costs, benefits, and potential energy-related impacts of the Clean Power Plan. This modeling suggests that the electricity sector’s natural gas consumption will increase sharply at the beginning of the Clean Power Plan’s implementation period as states shift power generation from dirtier coal-fired plants to cleaner-burning NGCC plants. The EPA also predicts that states will build new NGCC plants to replace retiring coal plants and to help meet their carbon-reduction targets.

By 2030, however, the EPA’s models forecast that more renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs will come online as states continue to implement the Clean Power Plan. Electricity generation from renewable sources will displace some generation from NGCC and coal-fired power plants. Energy-efficiency programs, meanwhile, will reduce electricity demand, slowing generation and curbing carbon pollution from the power sector as a whole. […]

While natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it is still a fossil fuel that releases carbon pollution. In addition, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, can escape throughout the natural gas production and supply cycle. For these reasons, several recent studies by prominent researchers have questioned whether natural gas can form the core of an effective climate mitigation strategy. […]

By acting decisively to implement ambitious renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, states can help ensure that the United States does not overcommit to natural gas and that it continues on a path toward decarbonization of the economy. […]”<

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Coal Power Plants Get Repowered With Natural Gas

Old U.S. coal-fired power plants, the target of new anti-pollution rules, aren’t necessarily shutting down. Many are getting a second life as they’re “repowered” with natural gas.

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

>” […] In the past four years, at least 29 coal units in 10 states have switched to natural gas or biomass, according to SNL Financial, a market data firm. Another 54 units, mostly in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, are slated to be converted over the next nine years. The future and completed conversions represent more than 12,000 megawatts of power capacity, enough to power all the homes in New England for one year.

By switching to natural gas, plant operators can take advantage of a relatively cheap and plentiful U.S. supply. The change can also help them meet proposed federal rules to limit heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, given that electricity generation from natural gas emits about half as much carbon as electricity from coal does. […]

While conversion advocates say natural gas is a “bridge” fuel that buys time for a transition to clean energy, others argue its use is hindering renewables by delaying them. Many of the planned repowering projects will extend the already long service of fossil-fuel facilities. (Related: “Switch to Natural Gas Won’t Reduce Carbon Emissions Much, Study Finds.”)

“Do you pump a whole bunch of the public’s money into outdated, inefficient infrastructure, or do you say it’s time to move forward and invest in renewable energy and upgraded transmission to move that renewable energy around?” said Kim Teplitsky, deputy secretary of the Northeast Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Teplitsky’s group is opposed to the revivals of New York’s Dunkirk, Danskammer, and Cayuga power plants.

Power providers and regulators, on the other hand, point to the need for reliability, especially in extreme weather conditions. “The system requires a certain amount of megawatts and a certain amount of reserve margin to ensure that the system will be stable and reliable at all times,” said Gaier of NRG, which operates both renewable and fossil-fuel units. “The number of megawatts is simply not replaceable in the short term with renewables.” […]”<

 

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Cove Point LNG Project Obtains Federal Approval and Opposition

Initially, Cove Point helped the United States overcome what was then an energy shortage. Now that our nation is developing a burgeoning surplus of natural gas, Cove Point can help send a small portion of that surplus to allied nation’s looking for stable supplies of clean energy, supporting economic development and replacing coal as a fuel.

Source: www.fierceenergy.com

>” […] The project offers significant economic, environmental and geopolitical benefits. The construction of the approximately $3.8 billion export project will create thousands of skilled construction jobs, an additional $40 million in annual tax revenue to Calvert County, and millions of dollars in new revenues for Maryland and the federal government, as well as a reduction in the nation’s trade deficit by billions of dollars annually.

Dominion’s project has faced and will continue to face significant and widespread grassroots opposition. Despite these benefits, environmental and community groups are denouncing FERC’s approval of the controversial project, claiming that the facility will incentivize environmental damage from fracking across the mid-Atlantic region and, according to federal data, would likely contribute more to global warming over the next two decades than if Asian countries burned their own coal.

Environmental groups, including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club are poised to petition FERC and potentially to sue the agency to challenge on the basis of an inadequate environmental review. These groups are assessing the issue upon which to file a motion for a rehearing, which needs to occur before an appeal can happen.

The groups claim that in its Environmental Assessment, which was limited at best, FERC omitted credible analysis of the project’s lifecycle global warming pollution, including all the pollution associated with driving demand for upstream fracking and fracked gas infrastructure.

The Dominion Cove Point project would be the first LNG export facility to be sited so close to a residential area and in such close proximity to Marcellus Shale fracking operations, and could trigger more global warming pollution than all seven of Maryland’s existing coal-fired power plants combined, the groups contend.

“FERC’s decision to approve Cove Point is the result of a biased review process rigged in favor of approving gas industry projects no matter how great the environmental and safety concerns,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, in a statement. “FERC refused to even require an environmental impact statement for this $3.8 billion facility right on the Bay. We intend to challenge this ruling all the way to court if necessary…we will continue to fight this project until it is stopped.”

Dominion must now review and accept the order. Upon completion, Dominion will file an implementation plan describing how it plans to comply with the conditions set forth in the order. Dominion expects to ask the FERC for a “Notice to Proceed” at that time and plans to begin construction when the notice is received. This process – from Dominion review through FERC’s notice – is expected to take several weeks.

Cove Point is the fourth liquefied natural gas export project to receive approval to site, construct and operate and is the first LNG export project on the East Coast. “<

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