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GE, Clean Energy to Expand America's Natural Gas Highway

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Clean Energy will use GE's MicroLNG technology at two new LNG factories.

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Manufacturing Group November 14, 2012

GE and Clean Energy Fuels are teaming up to expand what Clean Energy calls “America’s Natural Gas Highway,” a fueling network that will enable trucks to operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG) coast to coast and border to border.

As part of the collaboration, Clean Energy Fuels will purchase two ecomagination-qualified MicroLNG plants from GE, which are designed to rapidly liquefy natural gas while minimizing a site’s physical footprint. GE Energy Financial Services is providing up to $200 million in financing for the two GE MicroLNG plants.

The new GE MicroLNG system that will be used by Clean Energy will produce 250,000 gallons of LNG per day. The new system will help reduce a fleet operator’s fuel costs by more than 25% compared to diesel fuel. LNG produced with this MicroLNG system can be used to fuel approximately 28,000 heavy trucks, replacing diesel-powered trucks with equivalent fuel economy. This could enable fleet operators to avoid more than 139,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 27,000 cars using gasoline or 7,000 trucks using diesel on U.S. roads.

Clean Energy expects to complete approximately 70 LNG stations by the end of 2012, with more planned for next year to serve the movement of goods along major transportation corridors throughout the United States. While CNG, or compressed natural gas, is primarily used in cars, buses, and smaller trucks, the LNG fueling being rolled out is targeted at long-haul, heavy-duty trucks, which will have the advantage of longer driving ranges, while not impacting tractor weight and incremental costs. In 2013, four major manufacturers will introduce the Cummins Westport 12-liter LNG engine, which is the optimum size for long-haul Class 8 trucks.

Clean Energy plans to use a standardized design of the new GE MicroLNG plants to build additional MicroLNG plants. These first two MicroLNG plants will produce up to 250,000 gallons per day. The plant is designed to be expanded up to 1 million gallons per day as adoption and demand increases. The LNG produced by the MicroLNG plants will be used primarily at Pilot-Flying J truck stops that serve truckers across the country. The two GE MicroLNG plants are targeted to begin operation in 2015. The two companies are currently assessing the best locations for these first two LNG plants.

GE’s MicroLNG plant can liquefy natural gas at any point along a gas distribution network, making it ideal for supporting the fueling of vehicles in remote locations by reducing the impact of long distance fuel transport. This MicroLNG technology is part of GE’s expanding technology offerings in the natural gas-for-transportation sector.

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