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Member Spotlight: Renewable Energy Group

We interviewed Andrew Lewis, Renewable Energy Group (REG)’s new Regional Sales Representative for Texas. He brings to his customers many years of experience in the fleet and fuel industry.

REG is headquartered in Ames, Iowa, with a significant presence throughout Texas. In addition to production facilities in Houston and New Boston, REG can distribute fuel from terminal locations in the Houston, Caddo Mills and Ft. Worth areas.

What does REG produce?

REG is North America’s largest producer of biodiesel, a renewable fuel that can directly replace diesel fuel with no engine modifications. REG has 14 active bio-refineries nationwide, including over 50 million gallons of biodiesel production in Houston and New Boston, Texas. REG is one of the only producers of renewable hydrocarbon diesel, a renewable fuel with the same specifications as diesel fuel. In 2016 alone, REG produced over 550 million gallons of biomass-based diesel.

How do Fleets benefit from using biodiesel?

Fleets using biodiesel see a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, biodiesel increases lubricity, with a 2% inclusion of biodiesel doubling the amount of lubricity in the finished fuel blend. Biodiesel has higher cetane which improves engine performance. In Texas, biodiesel is exempt from state fuel tax and can reduce fleets’ overall fuel costs.

Customer information

Petroleum Wholesale of Houston, owns Sun Mart Convenience Stores and has been selling biodiesel blended fuel since 2013, with 95% of their locations now offering biodiesel. They started by offering B10 and gradually increased to offering B20 blends. The Texas state incentive and price advantage of biodiesel over traditional diesel has helped them improve fuel margins. Their biggest concern in switching to biodiesel was availability of product. With its strong network, REG provides a stable supply and steady pricing. “It’s about economics, and there are some very good incentives out there to utilize biodiesel,” said John Cook, President and CEO of Petroleum Wholesale. “Basically, all of our competitors started bringing it in. So, it didn’t take us long to realize we needed to get into it to stay competitive. There’s no downside to biodiesel and a lot of advantages to it.”

For more information about biodiesel or REG:
Andrew Lewis | Regional Sales Representative
REG-Renewable Energy Group | Houston, TX
(M) 515-509-3708 (O) 888-734-8686
andrew.lewis@REGI.com | www.REGI.com

Energy Department Announces $4M for Natural Gas Engine Research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $4 million for research projects on medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engine technologies. As the department explains, its Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) funds early-stage, high-risk research to generate knowledge upon which industry can develop and deploy innovative transportation energy technologies that improve efficiency, lower costs for families and businesses, and increase the use of secure, domestic energy sources.

The DOE says opportunities exist to improve performance, reliability, durability, cost effectiveness, and efficiency of natural gas vehicles through research. Cost-effectively achieving diesel-like efficiency in natural gas engines while meeting current and future emissions standards will improve the viability of natural gas-fueled medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, the department adds.

A public workshop on natural gas vehicles was held at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory on July 25 to identify early-stage research needs for natural gas engines. A summary of the key observations can be found here. VTO is seeking projects to address barriers to the adoption of natural gas vehicles through early-stage research. Projects competitively selected through this funding opportunity will complement additional early-stage research on medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engine technologies at DOE national laboratories.

For more information and application requirements, visit the EERE Exchange website or Grants.gov.

Federal Funding Aims to Spur Faster Electric Vehicle Charging

Source: NGT News

Not long after announcing funding for natural gas engine research, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $15 million for research projects on batteries and vehicle electrification technologies to enable extreme fast charging. As the DOE explains, its Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) funds early-stage, high-risk research to generate knowledge upon which industry can develop and deploy innovative transportation energy technologies that improve efficiency, lower costs, and increase use of secure, domestic energy sources.

VTO is seeking research projects to develop plug-in electric vehicle systems that can recharge rapidly at high power levels, decreasing charge time to 15 minutes or less. Advanced battery projects will focus on early-stage research of battery cells that can enable extreme fast charging, while electrification projects will support the development and verification of electric drive systems and infrastructure for extreme fast charging (400 kW).

In a new VTO-funded report, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory teamed with Argonne National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to identify technical gaps to implementing an extreme fast charging network in the U.S. The report, available here, highlights technical gaps at the battery, vehicle, and infrastructure levels.

In 2017, VTO developed and verified innovative lithium-ion technology with the potential to reduce battery pack cost to $219/kWh of usable energy, an approximately 80% reduction since 2008, according to the DOE. This funding opportunity aims to continue building on this progress to decrease the time needed to charge an electric vehicle and drive down battery costs to save consumers and businesses money.

For more information on this funding opportunity and application requirements, please visit the EERE Exchange website or Grants.gov.

VW Trust Effective Date has Been Set

The final paperwork for the Volkswagen Settlement’s Environmental Mitigation Trust was filed on October 2nd, and the Trust Effective Date is October 2, 2017. States will have 60 days to submit their Certification for Beneficiary Status, which will allow them to become Beneficiaries of the Trust. A fillable Certification for Beneficiary Status and other applicable forms will be uploaded to the NASEO and NACAA VW Clearinghouse by the end of today. For more information, please contact Cassie Powers at cpowers@naseo.org, or visit the NASEO & NACAA VW Settlement Clearinghouse, www.vwclearinghouse.org.

Texas Revives $2,500 Electric Vehicle Credit

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week signed into law a $2,500 electric vehicle rebate program aimed at boosting adoption in the Lone Star State, but it is not clear if the incentive will apply to the most well-known EV manufacturer out there.
  • The law reboots a 2013 rebate that expired two years ago. But that program did not apply to Tesla vehicles because it was run through dealerships—and Tesla sells direct to customers. Electrek.co reports that if the program maintains the same structure, the exclusion would likely apply again.
  • The program is managed through the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, run by the state’s Commission on Environmental Quality.

Texas wants to grow the number of electric vehicles operating in the state, and the law signed by Abbott will allow buyers to add $2,500 on top of their federal $7,500 credit. The program rules are still being crafted, but the rebate is likely to re-start in September, according to the Chronicle.

Electric vehicles are steadily growing in Texas: According to San Antonio Business Journal, there were less than 10,000 electric vehicles on the state’s roads at the end of 2015. Now, the Chronicle estimates that figure at 16,000. But all states fall behind California, where almost a quarter-million EVs are registered.

States looking to tackle emissions, utilities interested in load management and consumers who want to reduce gas spending and environmental impacts, are all showing increased interest in plug-in vehicles.

There are about 580,000 EVs on the road in the U.S. today, representing 1 TWh of consumption. But by 2040, that could grow to 551 TWh, according to a recent report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance. The group says utilities are paying particular attention to the growing resource: 69% of utility professionals are “planning, researching, or considering” demand response programs that include managed charging.

Texas Gas Service is Improving CNG Access in the Austin Area

At the National Coordinator Training, Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance received a certificate  for “Greatest Improvement in Petroleum Displacement – CNG in 2016”.  We give a shout-out to all of our fleets using CNG with an especial acknowledgment to longtime LSCFA member, Wayne Snead of Texas Gas Service for his dedicated work with CNG4America (CNG4America.com) and Sunrise Mini Mart to bring a CNG station to the Sunrise Mini Mart location at 907 E. St. Johns Avenue in Austin.  Specifically designed with a wide turning radius, this station easily accommodates medium and heavy-duty vehicles.  The additional CNG usage from this station gave the significant boost to the Coalition’s usage numbers that resulted in our certificate.

In addition to supporting station development, Texas Gas Service offers rebates to qualified TGS customers with certain rate codes for CNG vehicles and refueling units.  More information can be found on the Texas Gas Service website.

Wayne has also served as the Coalition’s Board president.  Thank you, Wayne and Texas Gas Service!

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