Strong Commitment for Natural Gas Fueling at HHP Summit 2015
Special to HHP Insight by Energy Connects President Lynn Lyon
We welcomed the Natural Gas for High Horsepower Summit to Dallas this week. I have been fortunate to attend all four of the summits since the conference inception in 2012, and have seen the progression of natural gas customers, technology, collaboration and innovation. Natural gas was covered in all forms including compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), and field gas at the wellhead.
A tour of the new Applied LNG Midlothian Plant southeast of Dallas kicked off the week’s activities. Participants celebrated the addition of a local source of fueling from clean-burning Texas natural gas. Businesses in Texas and surrounding states will benefit from lower transport costs for natural gas from North Texas.
A Competitive Alternative
LNG will be a competitive alternative fuel for locomotives, marine vessels, heavy duty trucking, oil and gas production and mining operations. LNG also provides a powerful alternative for off-grid operations and electrification.
Leadership – Tara Utley, Caterpillar VP, set the tone for the conference at the opening address with her summary that we need to “Learn, Listen, Influence and Commit to Natural Gas.” Strong leadership was demonstrated throughout the week throughout the supply chain.
Customers – Utley moderated an opening day highlight on customer focus. A broad group of customers see the strategic importance of natural gas for their operations. The voice of the customer was shared by BNSF Railway, AEP River Operations, Harvey Gulf, Hawaiian Electric and others. Energy-savvy customers see the long-term advantages of price stability, energy independence and decreasing their carbon footprint. BNSF Railway detailed their decision criteria that included environmental factors and regulatory considerations. With locomotive engines that are used 30, 40 even 50 years, the ability to retrofit existing engines is important to the rail industry.
Emissions – Environmental and regulatory factors are priorities to fuel consumers. New Tier diesel emission standards make natural gas an attractive option. Tote executive VP Peter Keller provided the keynote address sharing their story for building and launching the first LNG container ship in the United States. He emphasized that Tote is committed to LNG because of the environment not the price. Marine vessels have significant emission reductions moving from bunker fuel to natural gas including 97% in Sox, 98% in Particulate Matter, 60% in NOx, and 72% in CO2.
Sustainability – With huge strides towards natural gas and success stories across the board, summit participants have an eye toward the future and are focused on long-term sustainability. An abundance of domestic natural gas provides a steady supply of affordable energy and reduces the impact of volatility in the oil market. Dean Purcelli, senior VP with Stabilis, described how mining operations require long-term energy supply and price stability.
Partnerships – How do we, collectively as an industry, work together to move the industry forward? asked Ferus senior manager Joshua Soles. Groups are working together and getting creative. Many are finding ways to share development costs and production benefits. Chart Industries illustrated how efficient LNG supply chains are developed including liquefaction, distribution, storage and the end-users. Areas with strong pipeline infrastructure provide opportunities for partnerships with gas utilities for processed and compressed natural gas.
Challenges and Solutions
Innovation and Technology – Natural gas fueling and engine technology has proved reliable in a wide range of applications. The HHP Summit 2015 Expo Hall was impressive with natural gas powered combustion engines and turbines including those used for mining, oil and gas production, rail, marine, and electric power. Solution providers like American Power Group led with dual fuel engine conversions that use a combination of natural gas with traditional petroleum-based fuels. Others like the Caterpillar Solar Turbines provided a robust approach for transitioning to 100% natural gas fueling. Innovation was on display with lighter storage and delivery containers like the all-composite Titan from Hexagon Composites. Parker made a strong technical show with cryogenic and fuel control valves to help customers transition to natural gas.
From leadership to technology the Natural Gas for High Horsepower Summit provided insight into the growing natural gas ecosystem and set the stage for the next generation of customers.
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Source: Lynn Lyon of Energy Connects at HHP Summit 2015 in Dallas