Metroplex Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium formed to encourage fleet conversions in North Texas
A number of companies and nonprofit groups have come together to form the Metroplex Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium. The new group aims to develop new transportation markets for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and a fueling infrastructure in the North Texas region.
The idea for such a consortium came out of a natural gas vehicle symposium co-hosted by the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council and the TCU Energy Institute in June. To date, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Republic Services, Chesapeake Energy, XTO Energy, Clean Energy Fuels, EOG Resources, EnCana, Quicksilver Resources, and North Central Texas Council of Governments have signed on, meeting for the first time in June and again in early September.
The consortium’s mission is to develop new and expanded transportation markets and refueling stations for natural gas in the Fort Worth-Dallas area, using industry initiatives, government programs, energy education and community relations.
“Putting more NGVs on the road will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil because the U.S. has huge natural gas reserves,” said Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council. The technology exists to convert transportation fleets to cleaner-burning, cheaper, and plentiful natural gas; but nevertheless, the U.S. lags far behind many other countries, he said. About 15,000 NGVs exist in U.S., but worldwide the number is closer to 8 million.
“Natural gas is the most environmentally-friendly transportation fuel that is currently available, especially for medium and heavy duty trucks,” Ireland said, noting that NGVs emissions are 25 percent lower for carbon dioxide and 75 percent lower for nitrogen oxide than gasoline or diesel.
According to Ken Morgan, executive director of the TCU Energy Institute, a stumbling block to expanding the use of natural gas vehicles is the lack of a natural gas fueling infrastructure in our region. As such, consortium members are exploring three options to solve this problem.
The first is to take advantage of existing “compressor sites” that would step up the pressure of natural gas as it feeds into a larger volume of trunk lines, then set up a pull-through refueling station nearby. The second option is to locate new fueling stations in clusters near existing high-pressure lines, with plenty of “nozzles” for morning or evening refueling “rush” hours. Thirdly, with more planning and financial initiative, the consortium envisions “refueling corridors” along the major arteries between Fort Worth and Dallas, ultimately connecting to Oklahoma City, Waco, Houston, and other major metropolitan areas.
Building more refueling stations, and securing commitments from fleet owners to convert to natural gas, is key to the future of natural gas vehicles in the U.S. The Metroplex Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium is committed to making this happen in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. For more information or to get involved, contact Ed Ireland, [email protected] or Ken Morgan,[email protected].