GE and Clean Energy Fuels on Tuesday unveiled a
collaboration to expand infrastructure for natural gas
transportation in the US.
The agreement supports Clean Energys efforts in
developing a fueling network that will enable trucks to operate
on liquefied natural gas (LNG) across America, according to the
Truck fleets often can reduce fuel costs by more than
25% and cut emissions with LNG, the company says.
As part of the collaboration, Clean Energy Fuels is
purchasing two ecomagination-qualified MicroLNG plants
from GE Oil & Gas. The plug-and-play modular units, which
are designed to rapidly liquefy natural
gas while minimizing a sites physical footprint, will
support fueling stations along transportation corridors that
run across the US. During a media conference call with
Clean Energy on November 13, GE touted the MicroLNG
system as "highly efficient, modular, repeatable and
GE is providing up to $200 million in financing for the two GE
GE is proud to be partnering with Clean Energy Fuels to
develop natural gas infrastructure in the US," said GE chief
executive Jeff Immelt. "Clean Energy is an industry leader
in pioneering a new way for America to fuel its vehicles and to
further gain energy independence.
With an abundance of cleaner, more affordable natural gas
here in the US, this is an important opportunity for GE to join
Clean Energy in changing the way America drives. Its also
a critical step in developing a natural gas-for-transportation
fuel model that can be easily exported to other countries
interested in exactly these kinds of breakthrough projects."
Clean Energy said it expects to complete 70 LNG stations
by the end of 2012, with more planned for next year to serve
the movement of goods along major transportation corridors
throughout the US.
While CNG, or compressed natural
gas, is primarily used in cars, buses and smaller trucks,
the LNG fueling being rolled out at Clean Energys
stations is targeted at long-haul, heavy-duty trucks, which
will have the advantage of longer driving ranges while not
impacting tractor weight and incremental costs.
In 2013, four major manufacturers will introduce the Cummins
Westport 12-liter LNG
engine, which is the optimum size for long-haul Class 8 trucks,
the company says.
Clean Energy noted that it plans to use a standardized
design of the new GE MicroLNG plants to build additional
MicroLNG plants. These first two MicroLNG plants will produce
up to 250,000 gal/day. The plant is designed to be expanded up
to 1 million gallons per day as adoption and demand increases.
The LNG produced by the MicroLNG plants will be used primarily
at Pilot-Flying J truck stops that serve truckers across the
country. The two GE MicroLNG plants are targeted to begin
operation in 2015, and will likely be built in the upper
Midwest and Northeast, Clean Energy said.
Eight more plants could be operational by the end of 2015,
although "dozens" will eventually be needed, according to
GE. As demand increases, additional capacity can be dropped
into the plants with minimal disruption and cost.
During the conference call, GE noted that 2013 would be a
"year of testing" to ensure that the LNG fuel is compatible
with vehicle engines and that consumers are saving at least
$1.50/gal compared with oil-based transportation fuels.
The agreement announced today with GE is one of the most
significant milestones in Clean Energys history,
said Andrew J. Littlefair, CEO of Clean Energy Fuels. As
the long-haul trucking industry begins its transition to
natural gas, it will be critical to have a reliable supply of
"No other company is as uniquely qualified as GE to help
address this need due to its vast experience in energy, technology innovations and financing
capabilities. GE partnering with Clean Energy on these two facilities will not only help ensure
an adequate LNG
supply for our stations, but it is another confirmation that
the transition to natural
gas as a transportation fuel is gaining momentum.