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Maco Services
08-03-2011, 12:24 PM
Just saw the new forum, and wanted to jump in with both feet.

We have a utility truck that is a chevy 2500 which we purchased at auction from a local utility. It has an CNG system which will allow us to use less expensive compressed natural gas to fuel the truck, and it automatically transfers over to fuel if the CNG runs out. Equivilent to gas, it runs about 1.85 a gasoline gallon equivilent, but there is only 1 public station here.

I've considered buying a compresser, special and expensive compressor, which you can put at the shop at it will fill the truck overnight.

Has anyone had any experience with these? Anyone run propane, LPG, or CNG on a lawn truck to save fuel or sell their services as a "green" operation?

ffemt1271
08-03-2011, 07:09 PM
had a propane truck where i worked during high school, you could go a year and still read the writing on the dipstick thru the oil.

i havent had any experience with the compressors but it could benefit you if you convert your fleet or buy new stuff running on CNG. There are lots of tax breaks and benefits out there for going to alternative fuel.

I'm a big advocate of CNG, and replacement vehicles will come with cng from now on.

this was my neighbor for a few months...

Maco Services
08-03-2011, 07:21 PM
I've got an engineering back ground, and lived in TX, and various coastal regions, those rigs bring back memories.

I think any equipment that has fuel flexability is a great thing. It keeps the market in check more quickly, as users can change from tank to tank instead of each time they buy a vehicle. I'm certainly going to keep my eye out for these, especially on the used market. I've been involved with a handful of alternative fuel companies, and our next venture will be along the same lines. Save to oil for plastics and lubrication, domestically we've got plenty of ways to fuel the countries transit needs, but the higher the cost, the longer the transition time.

Do you know if you have many public CNG stations near you?

GQLL
08-03-2011, 08:16 PM
Untill I read this thread I have never heard of somebody using cng in a truck. But we don't have any places around that can compress it that I have seen
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ffemt1271
08-03-2011, 10:51 PM
petrohawk, chesapeake, and the cities of shreveport and bossier city have built CNG stations, and are converting thier fleets. but here in the haynesville shale we have an over aboundance of natural gas. so its easily acquired and cheap.

the rig in my pic is a trinidad rig. NOMAC drilled all of our wells, that was in a section beside us. the ones here are typically 12000 feet deep and 4500 feet horizontal

also heard they are about to drill the first oil well aboit 5 miles from me.

Az Gardener
08-03-2011, 11:41 PM
In 2000 the state of AZ had a rebate program to push the "green vehicles" it was a crazy rebate. I bought 2, 26-K ford f150 trucks and basicly got one for free. The only catch was you had to have enough cash or credit to pay for them up front and then the state refunded you like 40% of the purchase price of the entire vehicle. Even though the cost of the conversion was only about 5-k, funny thing was I looked into it a year or to earlier and it was only about 3,300 bucks, what a scam that was. I was interviewed at a fueling station and whenever they ran a CNG story for the next 2 years it was me on the stock footage in the background. I'm lucky I wasn't shot, once the public found out about it they were rightly outraged. Thank you Janet Napalatano I was one of the first to take delivery. I also got $15 registration for the life of the vehicle that was a 600 savings the first year too. The special license plates allowed me to drive in the HOV lane alone... man those were the good ole days.

I still have one of the trucks 228-K miles with no engine problems. The tranny is shot now and its sitting on the side of my house. It was under-powered on CNG by about 10% hardly noticeable. the fuel mileage was also about the same. I didn't get the compressor on the house another 5-k but again the state reimbursed you for it I just didn't have the $$$. My neighbor did but he didn't like it. It took quite a while to fill the tank and it made a lot of noise.

It was difficult to find service techs to work on the vehicles and they changed the CNG platform on us in 02 or 03 and parts were difficult to get. Also my CNG tank has a "lifespan" of about 10-11 years it is stamped right on the side. I didn't find that out until I pulled off the decorative cover to clean out the bed. Its out of date now. I would buy another CNG truck in a heartbeat.

I have heard you can blend/add CNG to diesel and get improved power and MPG but I'm just too busy to monkey around with that kind of stuff.

ffemt1271
08-04-2011, 11:58 AM
yeah a friend of my dads in oklahoma that works with CNG and products says they are really close to running 18 wheelers on 90% CNG

Maco Services
08-04-2011, 02:46 PM
Glad to hear there are some others out there. If your buddy still has a compressor he wants to sell, let me know. My plan was to hook it up at the end of the day, and have a compressed tank the next morning.

I've heard you can get the tanks reinspected and extend the expiration date, but I've yet to find what qualifications are needed or cost to certify.

Like I said, we have only a single public pump. There are quite a few buses, trash trucks, and city vehicles using CNG, but I doubt many normal citizens use it in this city. If I could, I would use it on everything, but the conversions are cost prohibitive unless I find a compressor.

Any other deals on tanks or systems, please pass on reputable conversion companies. Our local gas company obviously spent an arm and a leg on these trucks and I've heard GM and Ford both offer a factory conversion that can run on CNG. No clue on incremental cost. Anyone can find out if there are filling stations nearby by searching on google, or the national energy website will provide all locations as well.

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/natural_gas_locations.html

Maco Services
08-04-2011, 02:48 PM
GQLL - Looks like there are 4 stations within 25 miles of you, 3 public, 1 private.

GreenI.A.
09-06-2011, 04:59 PM
my guys had an accident 2 weeks ago and tottled one of my f250's and my f450. I decided we're going with a gas/cng combo for the 250 replacement and biodiesel for the 450. I specialize in effiecient irrigation and lighting, being "green" in those areas giving the company name two meanings, now we're going to be green on the road as well. I'm planning to switch all of the vehicles over to cng or bio by spring, other than the 3500 duelly that is my main equipment towing vehicle

Jungle J
10-07-2011, 03:21 AM
CNG fill stations run about $900,000 to $1.5 mill to install. you got to have allot of customers contracted to get these in. Otherswise you may wait for at least 6-14 hours to fill. Propane cost around $10,000 to $20,000 to install and these will fill at rate of gasoline pumps. The tanks will also give you a 90% range of gasoline vs CNG which is about 40%-50% range. It's really not feasable unless you run a long short route of about 40 mile a day. Any longer than that better consider propane. CNG has 3000psi in tanks to overcome and very heavy. Not much weight difference in propane as tanks are lighter and cost less to fill. Faster too! Not to mention the almost doubled range.

thunderthud
10-07-2011, 11:34 AM
CNG fill stations run about $900,000 to $1.5 mill to install. you got to have allot of customers contracted to get these in. Otherswise you may wait for at least 6-14 hours to fill. Propane cost around $10,000 to $20,000 to install and these will fill at rate of gasoline pumps. The tanks will also give you a 90% range of gasoline vs CNG which is about 40%-50% range. It's really not feasable unless you run a long short route of about 40 mile a day. Any longer than that better consider propane. CNG has 3000psi in tanks to overcome and very heavy. Not much weight difference in propane as tanks are lighter and cost less to fill. Faster too! Not to mention the almost doubled range.

That is just plain wrong.

I just installed a CNG fill station for my shop. The cost was no where near $900,000. Heck, my propane filling station was more than $20,000. That $20,000 you quote barely would pay for my LPG tank.

The bulk of the cost for my CNG station was also subsidized by the gas utility. The cost per gallon of CNG is somewhere around $1.00 versus $1.76 for propane. I'm not quite sure where you get a 40 mile range on CNG, my Freightliner has a much longer range than 40 miles seeing as I drove it 130 miles to my upfitter and it's coming home on the same fill. If I bought a Civic CNG it would certainly go farther than 40 miles per fill up even with the slow fill station in a garage.

Seeing as I have both CNG and LPG I think I'm in a position to comment on this, though my CNG is very new, and I have a season with the LPG equipment. I think the blanket statements like those above do a dis-service to anyone who is trying to learn the differences, and go to alternative fuels. How about some fact and experience rather than conjecture about the differences. If someone is reading the forum, they may just dismiss CNG because of your baseless statements rather than take the time to learn. The upfront cost for all of the alternative fuel infrastructure is high, and until people figure out how to get the cost down through experience, discussion and acceptance of a unified standard it is going to continue as a niche market.

GreenI.A.
10-07-2011, 12:43 PM
That is just plain wrong.

I just installed a CNG fill station for my shop. The cost was no where near $900,000. Heck, my propane filling station was more than $20,000. That $20,000 you quote barely would pay for my LPG tank.

The bulk of the cost for my CNG station was also subsidized by the gas utility. The cost per gallon of CNG is somewhere around $1.00 versus $1.76 for propane. I'm not quite sure where you get a 40 mile range on CNG, my Freightliner has a much longer range than 40 miles seeing as I drove it 130 miles to my upfitter and it's coming home on the same fill. If I bought a Civic CNG it would certainly go farther than 40 miles per fill up even with the slow fill station in a garage.

Seeing as I have both CNG and LPG I think I'm in a position to comment on this, though my CNG is very new, and I have a season with the LPG equipment. I think the blanket statements like those above do a dis-service to anyone who is trying to learn the differences, and go to alternative fuels. How about some fact and experience rather than conjecture about the differences. If someone is reading the forum, they may just dismiss CNG because of your baseless statements rather than take the time to learn. The upfront cost for all of the alternative fuel infrastructure is high, and until people figure out how to get the cost down through experience, discussion and acceptance of a unified standard it is going to continue as a niche market.

What did you install for a CNG station? Right now I hit the stations in the areas I work the most, Wolpole, West Roxbury, sometimes Middleboro, it would be nice if the MBTA opened theirs up to the public. I'm hoping to have 3-4 cng trucks this spring. By that point it be worth it to have a fill station. What did you pay around?

thunderthud
10-07-2011, 01:28 PM
What did you install for a CNG station? Right now I hit the stations in the areas I work the most, Wolpole, West Roxbury, sometimes Middleboro, it would be nice if the MBTA opened theirs up to the public. I'm hoping to have 3-4 cng trucks this spring. By that point it be worth it to have a fill station. What did you pay around?

Ingersol Rand. I needed to install my own because I wasn't driving to Tewksbury every day. I wanted to send out my crews with everything they needed on board the truck, and it made sense to refuel them back at the shop. The is never and will never allow any of us on their sites. It would be nice if they did, but it ain't happening in my lifetime. We're stuck with the AVSG locations.

I'm going to have the Freightliner and the Dixie Choppers only next year. In 2013 I have 4 Hinos that will be replaced, and the hope is to replace them with Freightliner M2 112's on CNG.

On the smaller trucks I'm waiting for someone like Roush to have a conversion that is factory backed for the smaller trucks.

Cost: the bulk was picked up by the utility. Total construction cost of the LPG and CNG station was $310,000. We did the site work, the rough plumbing, and the electrical work in-house. I have a fast fill system for the CNG because I know human nature, and they'd forget to fuel the truck overnight. I will overnight fill the trucks, but I needed to be able to fast fill at least one. The bonus to CNG was the fire marshal allowed indoor fueling with the slow fill.

I needed to install fire suppression, I needed to install the heavy truck bollards on the island, and I needed to locate it in one specific part of my yard because of neighbors and fire marshal required setbacks. We also had to dig back to the gas main and install a new feed to the CNG station. Now I won't have real world data until sometime next year and have some miles on the trucks and mowers.

It was two years ago when we started knocking around the idea of LPG, and in the course of discussions we discovered CNG should be in the mix. It's taken two years to get to the point where I have the Freightliner CNG in New England being fitted out, the refueling infrastructure in place, and prepared to go next season.

djagusch
10-09-2011, 03:12 PM
We could start here maybe?

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/alternative-fuel/news/2690341?click=main_sr

Or here:

http://www.cngstations.com/disadvantages-of-cng/

The popular mechanics doesn't even mention propane, why?

For the cng disadvantage article alot can be said for propane also besides tank size and psi.

thunderthud
10-10-2011, 07:02 PM
Terry, we're not the public, we're fleet!

There is a massive difference between what I need, and my software engineer neighbor needs. And he drives a Prius!

The CNG infrastructure works for my fleet for two reasons:

1. The local utility actually wanted me to have the infrastructure so they could sell more product.

2. It is cheaper than propane.

On my box truck the CNG tank isn't an issue, it did increase the overall length of my truck by two feet, but that wasn't a big issue. I went to 22 foot bodies a few years ago because we weren't using the extra two feet.

I don't have a Phill station because it doesn't supply enough gas to the truck. But I do have the ability to refuel 6 trucks overnight in my shop. And frankly, the shop and trucks do nothing between the hours of 5pm and 6am, so there is plenty of time for them to drink. Also, the fire marshal allowed indoor refueling of the CNG equipment where LPG is strictly an outdoor affair.

I bought propane for the mowers because it was cheaper than gas in the long term. I bought the Roush F550 because it made sense to switch the plumber and electrician to a different truck and use propane as a test. Roush didn't have the ability to supply me with a fleet of F150's yet, so we ordered the EcoBoost. I would have bought a CNG conversion as a test for the Chevy's but they only had them for the 2500's which was too much truck for my use.

My biggest annoyance with propane, aside from Jungle J's mis-information as fact shtick, was the suppliers locally. None of them had a clue. Roush was the most helpful with the process and requirements and in turn, they got to sell a grand total of two trucks. Roush did the hard work and the local supplier will get the revenue and they did all the work.

Again, I respect you for being here and helping out with information, It would be more useful if we could get some help with refueling equipment, station design, and infrastructure improvements. Until we're doing the work ourselves and not relying on someone to deliver the product to our door, it isn't going to work.

As I have stated before, if not for the infrastructure in place at the shop, I would not have replaced the mowers with LPG. With only two mowers this year and bottle delivery I wanted to throttle them on a bi-weekly basis.

How can you help us make the switch? Can we get a massive discount on mower bottles? Can we get a bulk price on fuel as a buying group? What incentives are there from the state and feds to help us convert? BMW offers a $3,500 ECO Credit to get diesel X5's off the lot and get the price down of the units, will Toro, Scag or some other manufacturer do the same? Will the propane council or even Heritage propane underwrite some of the cost of the propane unit versus a gas unit to get more of them out there?

These are questions that interest me and my bottom line.