Sunday, August 1, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The Green Gate Village Historic Inn was selected for the one night accommodations. Behind the green gates are 14-buildings with nine faithfully restored homes, nestled in a garden-like setting around the "Village Green". This turned out to be a great choice!
This Questar/Shell CNG station was busy on a Friday afternoon. The people in St George, UT know how to save money on motor fuel. The line moved quickly, with the drivers exchanging Q&A about their vehicles and MPG claims. St George is looking good for CNG.
Friday, July 30, 2010
We stopped at Fillmore, UT to top off the tanks. This was a convenient rest stop and a fine Questar CNG station, offering a 3,300 PSI fill. We had traveled 170-miles from SLC, using 14.8 GGE, costing $21.70. Fuel economy is a better than it first appears, because we started out with only 3,000 PSI in SLC. Over the long haul, we are averaging 16-21 MPG on the highway.
We are filling up, before heading out to St. George, UT. This is a well used, accessible Questar CNG station with a 3,000 PSI rating and $1.46/gal price. The Ford E-250 van is a 2,000 model year OEM van, with around 60,000 miles. The owner bought the van 1-year ago and has fully paid for the investment in the first year's fuel savings.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
We drove our CNG van up Guardsman's Pass, a steep back country drive which connects Park City to the Salt Lake Valley. At the pass, the elevation is about 9,700 feet above sea level. This road is closed during the winter. A major summer storm broke out, making washboards in some areas. 'Good CNG driving performance. 'Not so good visibility.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The Wasatch Jazz Project Band is a 22-piece team of musicians who practice on Tuesdays at the Sugar House Coffee, near Salt Lake City. They play for public and charity events. Great band! That's Rick Oliver in the right rear, on base guitar. He engineers CNG vehicle components and conversions, by day.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This CNG station works well, but is very difficult to access, due to airport road construction. Navigate to Police Lot 13, from the terminal road, to get there....open 24/7 ... MC/Visa accepted. The price is right at $1.54 per GGE, and that included a recent 50-cent/gallon increase!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Here's the dashboard gauge readings at the Rock Springs, Wyoming CNG station. Distance traveled was 349-miles, consuming 17-GGE of fuel, with 1,500 PSI remaining. As you can see, the dash fuel gauge has a conservative calibration. This gives drivers a built-in fuel reserve. It might be a little too conservative. We will discuss the gauge calibration option with each fleet manager and tailor the fuel reserve to their requirements.
At this point, we have driven round-trip from the Denver Airport to Vail/Edmonds, let the engine run at idle for 8 more hours, and driven another 12-miles this morning to the CNG station. We had 1,500 PSI and 20 GGE of fuel remaining. This demonstrates the ample CNG fuel reserve that is now available for long-distance shuttle van operators.
After the round-trip from DIA to Vail/Edmond, plus 8-hours of engine idling, our long-range CNG van has 1,500 PSI or 40-percent of its fuel capacity remaining. That's the equivalent of approximately 20 gallons of gasoline. That should be enough fuel to weather Colorado winter storms. Tomorrow will tell the rest of the story, when we fill up at the Denver Airport CNG station and see exactly how much fuel was consumed.
What's the significance of this test? It all about creating viable clean fuel options. Being able to confidently operate a dedicated CNG vehicle allows the vehicle owner the option of accessing thousands of dollars of federal and state tax incentives, which can help offset the incremental cost of conversion.
Many thanks to the folks at CME for describing their severe winter driving conditions, which helped define this test.
6-Hours of idling has consumed only 200 PSI of CNG fuel. After the round-trip from DIA to Vail/Edmond, plus 6-hours of idling, our long-range CNG van has 1/2 of its fuel capacity remaining, or the equivalent of 21 gallons of gasoline.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Back to the long-range CNG van challenge...the route today began with a full CNG tank at the DIA Clean Energy Fuel station. Our long-range CNG van was then driven up the mountains, past Vail, to CME's HQ in Edmond, CO and back to the Airport Cambria Suites, just 11-miles from DIA. However, the van engine was never shut off. It is now idling in the parking lot, as if it were stuck in a snow storm and unable to move. Let's see how the remaining CNG fuel holds up,over the next 8-hours of idling...
CME has a fleet of over 240 late model, well maintained vehicles including the 10-passenger vans seen here. The biggest challenge to their operation is winter snow storms. Although rare, it is possible for vehicles traveling to and from Denver to the ski areas to get caught in a snow storm and have to pull over and "wait it out." At that point, drivers need sufficient on-board fuel to keep the vehicle idling and the passengers warm, until the road reopens. This can be a challenge for clean fuel CNG vehicles, since there are less CNG fuel stations than with gasoline. Having the CNG equivalent of 42-gallons of gasoline, our van was put to the test. More about that later....
Every year over 420,000 travelers choose Colorado Mountain Express (CME) for their airport ground transportation to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Aspen and Snowmass. CME offers both shared ride shuttle airport ground transportation and private car airport services from Denver International Airport (DIA) and Eagle County Regional Airport. A great company to visit!
This is a well-utilized Clean Energy Fuels CNG station, at the Denver International Airport. 'Easy access and no lines. We traveled 155-miles in mixed city/hwy traffic and still had 2,000 PSI, or over 1/3 tank remaining. We filled up with 13 GGE at 3,500 PSI, costing $27.92. Open 24/7. Takes major credit cards.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses domestic, clean fuel options with Phil Hodson of Red Top Cab, the provider of the first 50 cabs to be converted by Baker for propane operation in the Alexandria, VA area.
U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack impressed the audience as a sincere and insightful public servant, with a deep passion to help make the United States become the world leader in alternative fuels and renewed economic development. It's happening!
For video and to hear some of U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack's remarks, during the VA Clean Cities Event, please click on the following link: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/business/2010/jul/16/b-fuel16-ar-302241/
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I owed MaryLee a nice dinner out on the town. I didn't mind at all. This is Cru Restaurant, about 6 blocks from the Denver Convention Center. They offer an excellent menu, at reasonable prices. "Easy access and no lines."
We've been on the road for almost 5-weeks and have been given the opportunity to fly back to Richmond for a few days to host U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack at Baker Equipment. We will park the CNG van at the Denver Airport and return to continue our X-Country CNG Van Demonstration. Please join us then
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
By coincidence, the Colorado Oil & Gas Association was having their Rocky Mt. Energy Epicenter Meeting on July 6-9, just across the street, in the Convention Center. There was a special Natural Gas Vehicle session, where they recognized that NGVs are getting increased industry attention as another way that their industry can contribute to energy and environmental solutions. This session provided a comprehensive introduction on the potential to grow the use of NGVs in Colorado. Mike DeArmond, with ATMOS Energy, was able to connect me with Lynn Lyon, at Pioneer Natural Resources, who provided some excellent local contacts. Much appreciated!