Growth of the LNG vehicle market would be accelerated if certain technical and economic barriers (…) to expanding LNG fueling infrastructure were removed or reduced. (RFP)
Request For Proposals 500-11-503: Liquefied Natural Gas Vehicle Infrastructure Improvement Research and Development – deadline 17 February 2012
A Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the California Energy Commission aims to provide research and development that reduces or removes the barriers associated with expanding LNG vehicle fueling infrastructure. This solicitation seeks projects that address one or more of the following subjects:
- improving the handling of LNG dispensing;
- improving the reliability of LNG dispensing;
- improving the durability of LNG dispensing;
- minimizing the likelihood of vapor release; and/or
- improving station-vehicle interface issues that affect station design or operation.
Background (extracted from RFP)
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is used as a heavy-duty vehicle fuel, primarily for trucks, buses, and off-highway equipment. This is an important natural gas vehicle (NGV) segment, because these vehicles provide significant public benefits such as reduced petroleum dependence and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Despite the higher cost of natural gas engine technology, the lower cost of natural gas fuel helps offset the initial investment. Also, expanding domestic natural gas supplies provide a steady and secure source of transportation fuel.
The Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Transportation Subject Area sponsored a comprehensive survey and analysis to identify and prioritize the research and development efforts needed to reduce or remove the barriers affecting NGV implementation. This resulted in the PIER Transportation NGV Research Roadmap (publication number CEC-500-2008-044-F), which examined compressed natural gas (CNG) and LNG vehicles and fueling infrastructure, involved input from a variety of stakeholders, and produced a list of research opportunities. A key research recommendation that emerged from this effort was to develop improved handling, reliability, and durability of LNG dispensing. This solicitation responds to that recommendation.
The technical feasibility of CNG and LNG alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) is now well established. The market for heavy-duty natural gas engines and vehicles grew in the 1990s and into the 21st century based on air quality requirements for transit buses in urban areas and funding from federal, California, and local agencies. With California Air Resources Board 2010 ultra-low emission standards in place, petroleum dependence and GHG emission benefits are now at the forefront. This shift in priorities, coupled with the growing difference between the price of diesel and natural gas fuels, increases the economic benefits of natural gas trucks, especially for high-mileage vehicles that consume large quantities of fuel.
With the new development of higher performance natural gas engines suited for large trucks, there is a major opportunity to expand natural gas into new trucking market sectors. Today, there are approximately 35,000 NGVs in California, about 10,000 of which are high fuel consuming heavy-duty NGVs. Heavier NGVs using more fuel tend to choose the LNG option. However, the LNG fueling infrastructure is less mature and less widespread than the CNG fueling infrastructure. It is still limited primarily to early adopters and a few market segments.
These barriers currently inhibit investment decisions by vehicle and equipment manufacturers as well as LNG truck purchase decisions. Removing these barriers would result in more heavy-duty NGVs on the road, reducing petroleum dependence and GHG emissions.
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