Meter technology lowers maintenance, provides more accurate fuel measurement
CLEVELAND (April 9, 2015) — Mass flow meter technology newly incorporated into Superior Energy Systems’ PRO-Vend 1000, 2000 and Dual Hose propane autogas dispensers delivers more accurate long-term fuel measurement compared with mechanical meters.
The anti-corrosive, stainless-steel Micro Motion Coriolis mass flow meters from Emerson Process Management help reduce fleet operators’ costs. The devices require little to no maintenance compared with mechanical meters, and can be replaced less often since they have no moving parts.
With mechanical meters, fuel is “given away” due to fuel slippage. Mass flow meters virtually eliminate unaccounted fuel that slips through the worn moving parts of mechanical meters. Some states require that dispensers be taken out of service for fuel slippage outside of legal metrology allowances.
Superior Energy Systems will introduce mass flow meter propane autogas dispenser technology at the National Propane Gas Association NPGA Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo, April 11-13 in Atlanta.
“Mass flow metering technology is heavily used in compressed natural gas dispensers, and is long overdue in the propane autogas market,” said Jim Bunsey, director of operations, Superior Energy Systems. “Our customers, particularly internationally, have requested this technology, and so we’re adding it to several of our top-selling dispensers while maintaining our competitive pricing. It’s another way Superior Energy Systems adds value to our customers while reducing their costs.”
Mass flow meters work by introducing Coriolis force into the flow stream of a fuel dispenser, then measuring liquid flow by detecting the resulting change in fluid momentum. Mass flow meters are ideal for measuring liquefied gases such as autogas due to the fuel’s inherent temperature and pressure fluctuations.
By directly measuring the mass flow, no volume corrections are needed to account for fluid variables. This results in a much more reliable, error-free measurement reading.
The company’s autogas dispensers comply with all applicable National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). They also recently gained National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) certification through the National Conference on Weights and Measures.
In addition to dispensers, Superior Energy Systems also manufactures propane-based bulk plants, rail towers and terminals.
About Superior Energy Systems, Ltd.: For more than 40 years, Superior Energy Systems has supplied propane infrastructure and services. We bring together engineering, manufacturing and construction expertise while focusing on operational excellence and turnkey systems. We build made-to-order propane vaporizers and mixers, portable and permanent rail towers, metering and odorant skids, and propane autogas dispensers. We have manufactured more bulk plants and trans-shipment terminals throughout the United States than any other company. Visit us at our Cleveland headquarters or learn more at SuperiorNRG.com.
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What are the state weight limits for heavy-duty vehicles on interstate highways? What weight limit exemptions exist for vehicles equipped with idle reduction technology?
Under federal law, no vehicle weighing more than 20,000 pounds (lbs) on one axle, 34,000 lbs on a tandem axle, or 80,000 lbs overall may access federal interstate highways (e.g., Interstate 70, which runs across the country from Maryland to Utah), regardless of where they get on the highway.1 States must enforce these requirements, or they may not be eligible for federal highway funding. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) allows states to offer weight-limit exemptions for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) with on-board idle reduction technology.
Please note that states may set their own weight restrictions for roads that start and end within their boundaries, but we will focus on interstate highway requirements here.
Federal regulations allow states to adopt weight exemptions for auxiliary power units (APUs) or other qualified technologies that reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions from engine idling. APUs are portable, vehicle-mounted systems that provide power for climate control and electrical devices without idling. For long-haul trucks, these systems typically have a small internal combustion engine (usually diesel) equipped with a generator to provide electricity and heat. Other on-board idle reduction technologies include automatic start-stop controls, energy recovery systems, fuel-operated heaters, coolant heaters, and battery-electric and thermal-storage air conditioners.
States may permit HDVs equipped with idle reduction technology to exceed the specified weight limit by up to 550 lbs to compensate for the additional weight of the equipment. The allowance was previously 400 lbs, but the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation, enacted in 2012, increased it to 550 lbs.
States must enact a law or institute an enforcement policy with their own exemptions to reflect this increased weight allowance. A map of State Recognition of the Auxiliary Power Weight Exemption to Gross Vehicle Weight is available from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). As the map shows, many states have not updated their laws and enforcement policies to reflect the increase in the federal allowance to 550 lbs, which means the exemption is still limited to 400 lbs. There are also six states where the exemption is not permitted at all.
States must require HDV drivers to demonstrate eligibility for vehicle weight limit exemptions. For example, drivers may need to have paperwork on hand that verifies the weight of the idle reduction equipment and be able to demonstrate that it is functional. Requirements are different from state to state.
More information on these state weight limit exemptions is also available on the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Laws and Incentives database. The Advanced Search options allow you to identify specific exemptions by location, technology/fuel type (idle reduction), incentive/regulation type (exemption), and user-type (vehicle owner or driver). Each description of a state idle reduction weight exemption includes a reference to the applicable legislation or policy.
Refer to EERE’s National Idling Reduction Network News and Argonne National Laboratory’s Idle Reduction Tools and Outreach Materials for more information on idle reduction technologies and state vehicle weight limit exemptions for this equipment.
1For specific weight formulas and information about grandfathered weights, see DOT’s website.
Fleets considering a compressed natural gas program now have an online resource to help evaluate cost-effectiveness.
Compressed natural gas (CNG) has garnered interest as a transportation fuel in part because of its cost savings and price stability compared to conventional petroleum fuels.Building a Business Case for Compressed Natural Gas in Fleet Applications, a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) helps readers assess the various aspects of a new CNG vehicle and fueling infrastructure project to determine viability.
The publication details an enhanced version of a previous online modeling tool developed by NREL—the Vehicle Infrastructure and Cash-Flow Evaluation (VICE) model—that helps businesses and fleets evaluate the financial soundness of CNG vehicle and CNG fueling infrastructure projects. The tool, VICE 2.0, can now help assess projects to acquire vehicles and infrastructure, or to acquire vehicles only.
VICE 2.0 offers users robust visual and reporting enhancements, including graphic images of return on investment, cumulative cash flow, and payback periods. It also calculates petroleum displacement (annual and cumulative) and annual greenhouse gas reductions, and displays them based on the fleet’s specific attributes. The publication features an overview of VICE 2.0 and the default values for such factors as investment type, tax exemption status for fuel, and operations and incentives for base-case vehicles. In addition, the report addresses profitability and its sensitivity to parameters such as fuel cost and vehicle miles traveled.
The report and model are especially beneficial to fleets that are well-suited to using CNG, such as those with routes that start and end in the same location and are therefore able to refuel at a central location.
Truckers are ordering new equipment in record numbers, but are not turning to natural gas fueled heavy-duty trucks as fast as had been projected two years ago, according to a new report from ACT Research.
The rapidly declining cost of diesel is making the return on investment for adoption of natural gas less lucrative, according to ACT’s “Natural Gas Quarterly.” Original projections were that 2015 would see a 5% penetration of natural-gas-powered heavy duty trucks, but based on 2014 actual results and the sharp drop in oil prices starting in the fourth quarter of 2014, the report calls that optimistic.
“With the price differential between diesel and natural gas narrowing, the ROI to convert from diesel to natural gas is moving in the wrong direction: payback periods are lengthening,” said Ken Vieth, ACT senior partner and general manager.
ACT has developed a natural gas equipment payback index as a quick reference tool for fleets evaluating a switch from diesel to natural gas.
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From Green Fleet
April 14, 2015 from cleanfuelUSA
In December, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 5705, the Propane Education and Research Enhancement Act of 2014. The legislation modifies the functions of PERC, as well as the data which the Department of Commerce (DOC) uses in developing its annual propane price analysis.
Under the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996, the DOC is assigned to annually calculate the price for “consumer-grade propane” and compare it with an index of prices of specified competing fuels. Whenever the price of propane exceeds a certain threshold, the industry is restricted from conducting most of its educational outreach activities.
In 2009, the DOC calculation triggered such a restriction, and the educational outreach ceased. Though the 1996 law also requires DOC to recalculate the price comparison every six months, it had only been completed three times in the last five years. The new law specifies Congressional intent that DOC must use data reflecting all propane market sectors, not just residential.
Over the weekend, the DOC reported the results of its price analysis, finding that propane prices are below the statutory threshold, and automatically lifting any limitation of PERC’s authority to promote the use of propane.
PERC President and CEO Roy Willis today outlines PERC’s approach for strategic communications ahead:
No Longer Restricted! So Now What?
The recently restored ability of our industry, through PERC, to educate the public about propane and its many uses presents us with both an opportunity and a challenge.
Clearly, the opportunity is to tell the propane story in our own words with the purpose of expanding public awareness of our fuel and its benefits. Done right, greater awareness can lead consumers to be more favorable toward propane and, ultimately, use more of it. We’ve got a great story to tell.
The challenge is making sure that any new public education initiative is done right. When PERC launched its first consumer education campaign a dozen years ago, three key factors were significantly different than what we have to work with today.
First, the media landscape was sparse compared to the wireless, highly mobile, digital communications options of today. Twelve years ago, the cloud was that puffy white thing in the sky; today, it’s where more and more people go to create, manage, and share information.
Second, the portfolio of propane-consuming products and the market growth potential they offer is far greater today – thanks in no small measure to the technology investments we’ve made through PERC, particularly over the last six years. We have more and better options today.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the U.S. market has swung from short propane to long propane, from net importer to net exporter. We have all the propane we need right here at home, so long as we develop sustainable, value-added demand for it at home. Yes, our world is different now, and we must compete globally for supply as we pursue more consumers domestically.
As frustrating as it has been to live under restriction, being freed of that obstacle is a time not for haste, but rather a time for deep thinking about how we move forward on this vital public-education function. We need to have a broad industry consensus on the direction we will take, and that means a lot of talking with each other, and God knows that takes time. No hasty decisions. We want this done right.
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by NGT News on Monday April 13, 2015
“When deploying alternative fuels, it is paramount to match the right fuel with the right location, in accordance with local market conditions,” says the report, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program.
NREL researchers studied each market’s potential for the deployment of what they consider the five most commonly used alt-fuels, including compressed natural gas (CNG), propane, electricity, biodiesel and E85 ethanol.
However, the report says it does not cover liquefied natural gas because LNG is “strategically deployed by large fleets and not considered a promising fuel for non-fleet vehicles.” Hydrogen is also absent in the study because the authors say that fuel market is less developed than the others.
The study analyzes U.S. regions using the following six market indicators, listed in order of which was weighted from most to least:
1. Existing fueling stations
2. Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) density (Note: The study says there is not enough data to “fairly represent” the heavy-duty AFV density in a given region.)
3. Gasoline and diesel prices
4. State incentives
5. Resource proximity
6. Environmental benefit
Granted, the evaluation process gets more complicated than that – and a range of other indicators are not included for various reasons – but the authors say they worked with industry experts to make necessary adjustments for the best results.
So, how did the states rank for each alternative fuel?
According to the study, the strongest CNG markets include Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Utah, California, Washington and Ohio.
“Many of these states are bolstered by the natural gas processing plants over the Marcellus shale play,” explains the report.
Interestingly, the report notes Oklahoma has concentrated, strong regions – “some of the most highly rated in the nation” – with lots of CNG vehicles and stations, but the study categorizes the entire state as weaker due to cheap gasoline.
Furthermore, “relatively poor” CNG states include Florida, South Carolina, South Dakota, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee and Ohio, among others.
And although Georgia and Missouri are ranked low, the report says Atlanta and Kansas City are “notable exceptions.”
The report also says that, of all the fuels studied, CNG has the biggest potential in the most states. That’s “largely because freight traffic provides potential demand for many far-reaching corridor markets and because the sources of CNG are so widespread geographically.”
The authors admit their market evaluation for propane is the “least reliable” in the study, due to a lack of related vehicle density information. Nonetheless, the report says the propane market, though fragmented, is strong in states such as Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Texas, Ohio, Connecticut, Indiana, California, Washington and Mississippi.
Weak propane markets include Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, South Carolina, Wyoming and Georgia, the report adds.
According the report, Hawaii, the West Coast and the Northeast represent the strongest electricity markets for plug-in electric vehicles. Other big markets include North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.
As for biodiesel, the report says the Midwest, especially the Chicago area, is “primed.”
“This is where the majority of biodiesel production occurs, providing both reduced shipping costs and a pro-biodiesel population,” the report explains.
Other markets with high biodiesel potential include highways from Boston to Atlanta, as well as big-name cities such as Houston, Memphis, Denver and Phoenix. Conversely, the report says Idaho, Wyoming and Utah represent the weakest markets for biodiesel.
The Midwest also dominates ethanol markets as well, according to the report. Other large ethanol markets include the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Rochester-Buffalo.
The report says Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana and Idaho comprise the weakest ethanol markets.
The report finds Illinois, Indiana, California, Washington and Pennsylvania are each strong markets for four of the studied alternative fuels, making the them the most promising for alt-fuels overall. Ohio, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York are considered closely behind those market leaders.
On the other hand, the report says Wyoming and Idaho represent the weakest market potential for alternative fuels. Alabama, New Mexico and Maine are also considered weaker markets.
Nonetheless, the report points out that no states ranked weak for all five of the fuels studied, thus proving that every state has the potential to successfully deploy at least one alternative fuel.
The full report, titled “Geography of Existing and Potential Alternative Fuel Markets in the United States,” is available here. To see a complete chart of the state rankings, look for Table 3 in the report.
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