The confluence of stricter regulations and the availability of natural gas as a less-expensive domestic fuel has created unprecedented opportunity for the clean-burning alternative to move into new sectors, displacing heavy diesel in ships, trains, mining vehicles, construction equipment, and even the engines that power oil and gas production installations.

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• ECA – Emissions Compliance Area – regulations are already affective marine operators in North America and Europe. The regulations get stricter through 2015, making natural gas an attractive alternative. Liquefied natural gas fuel once used almost exclusively for ferries and short-sea shipping in Norway is rapidly moving to the European mainland, as well as to the Gulf of Mexico and Washington-Alaska routes.

• Railroads, historically among the most conservative of industries, consume on the order of 4 billion gallons of fuel per year, making a cheaper alternative very attractive. Projects in Russia and Canada are setting the stage for an LNG rail renaissance in the United States.

• An increasing number of companies offer equipment for converting large diesel engines to duel fuel operation, with natural gas displacing diesel to a significant extent. Caterpillar and Westport Innovations are working to apply high-pressure direct injection technology that’s been available for more than a decade for road vehicles to greatly increase traditional duel fuel diesel displacement for the mining vehicle and construction equipment markets.

• E&P Operations. Energy exploration and production companies like Encana and EQT have begun shifting some their rigs to natural gas. The prospect is even more alluring for the more numerous and more powerful engines driving the compressors used in hydraulic fracturing – fracking – the very industry that has contributed to today’s surfeit of natural gas fuel.

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Rich Piellisch

Mr. Piellisch draws from an exceptional network of industry contacts and informational
resources as a result of over 30 years of business reporting and editing experience. Mr. Piellisch offers a comprehensive understanding of the equipment, technologies, and policies that drive expansion of markets for alternative fuels and vehicles and this awareness is reflected throughout his in-depth coverage of an extremely wide scope of topics.


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Please note that we’ve ‘seeded’ HHP Insight with high-horsepower news from our sister publication, Fleets & Fuels, and have ordered the articles according to their Fleets & Fuels publication dates. 

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