Is the Growing U.S. Natural Gas Infrastructure a Transportation Transformation?
August 21, 2013
About 30,000 natural-gas fueling stations will be operating worldwide by 2020, highlighting the increasing potential for natural gas as a transportation fuel in the United States and globally, asserts a new study by Navigant Research Such infrastructure -- getting natural gas from pipeline to fuel tank -- "is in its early stage of development and requires massive expansion," NAS maintains. In the meantime, "Regional, clustered development will remain the preferred model." The current boom in shale gas The U.S. Energy Information Administration The number of NGVs on the road is hard to pin down. The industry group Natural Gas Vehicles for America The core natural-gas infrastructure in the U.S. consists of a 305,000-mile network of pipelines owned by pipeline companies. EIA says NGV Journal says 21,660 NGV refueling stations are now operating globally, with 1,564 under development. The U.S. has 1,438. The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) identifies To identify some of the important trends in development of North American natural-gas refueling infrastructure, IMT spoke to Patric Rayburn, representative for Clean Energy Fuels Rayburn pointed to the efforts of commercial players who are taking the initiative to build natural-gas transportation infrastructure. His company is rolling out the first phase of its America's Natural Gas Highway "There is a national pipeline that in many cases we draw from, compress, and make the natural gas available for vehicles via our stations," he said. "We also have a fleet of vehicles that we use to truck LNG to customers and stations where the pipeline is not accessible or practical." The LNG "can be used as LNG or can be converted back to CNG." While the ANGH stations are primarily LNG stations designed for trucking, "each one has the capability to add CNG should there be demand," he explained. At a recent transportation energy summit hosted by the National Journal, Clean Energy CEO Andrew J. Littlefair commended efforts in Congress to clear regulatory hurdles and tax barriers to development of natural-gas infrastructure. Referring to infrastructure efforts such as those being made by his company, Littlefair said, "Our country must seize the moment. The private sector isn't waiting. We're seeing them embrace alternative technologies like natural gas ... and they're recognizing that using cleaner American natural gas is an obvious choice to get away from foreign and often dirtier fuels."