Wednesday, September 24, 2014

STN: CleanFUEL USA Provides Details on New Thomas Built Buses Propane Option

See article here.

Eastern Propane and Oil goes green with propane-fueled delivery truck

DANVERS — If you’re a company that sells propane, wouldn’t it make sense to deliver it to customers in a truck fueled by it?
Most of Eastern Propane and Oil’s delivery fleet run on diesel, but the company is testing a new, propane-powered delivery truck its officials say runs more cleanly and efficiently.
Fleet Manager Mike Gagne and District Manager Jim Blake said the company used to have propane-powered delivery trucks, but the technology was not quite robust enough, so the company switched to diesel around 2000.
In August, the company took possession of a Freightliner S2G propane-powered bobtail truck, one of only 25 in existence, and one of the first to be put in service. The company has five more on order, Gagne said.
“The drivers can’t believe the power and the drivability of the vehicle,” said Blake, who added that drivers were hesitant at first to drive the propane-powered truck because some remembered the old technology that did not work well. 
“They love it,” Blake said. The cost of the propane-powered truck is competitive with that of a diesel delivery truck, Gagne said.
Eastern Propane and Oil is headquartered in Rochester, New Hampshire, but its roots in Danvers started in 1932 when the Clement family began selling bottled gas as part of Danvers Hardware on Maple Street. 
In 1959, what was then known as County Gas Distributors expanded to four states, according to the company’s website. The operation grew in Danversport, where there was a rail siding and a large propane tank, Blake said. The hardware store was later sold.

Today, Eastern Propane serves Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island. About 40 people work at the location in Danversport, where the new gas delivery truck first went into service. Its durability is now being tested in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. See original article here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Freightliner taps PIthon engine again

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. chose Powertrain Integration‘s PIthon 8.0-liter V8 LPI engine to power its S2C Propane concept bus. The engine was also previously selected for the Freightliner S2G truck chassis and the Thomas Built Buses C2 Propane Saf-T-Liner. According to a press release, PIthon was developed with fuel system partner CleanFuel USA and with support from the Propane Education & Research Council. Read more here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Join us at TASA/TASB!

The Propane Council of Texas invites you to the Texas Association of School Administrators/ Texas Association of School Boards (TASA/TASB) Convention in Dallas on September 26-27, 2014. There will be an estimated attendance of 6,000 school board members, superintendents, administrators, and other education leaders representing over 1,000 Texas school districts.
We are looking for propane professionals that would like to work the booth that are interested in reaching out to school districts. ProCOT will be promoting propane school buses, vehicles for their white fleet, and commercial propane mowers.
Location: Dallas Convention Center
(also known as the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center)
Halls D-E (Booth J)
Dallas, TX
Booth hours are:
Friday, September 26, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 27, 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Mass Transit Magazine: Preparing for Propane Autogas

Tightening emission standards and shrinking budgets have been driving the transportation industry toward alternative fuels now more than ever before. While there is no one-size-fits-all alternative fuel, many fleets are turning to propane autogas as a simple and affordable fuel option.

The third most popular fuel in the United States and leading alternative fuel worldwide, propane autogas is used by public and private fleets both small and large. Like compressed natural gas, propane autogas significantly reduces smog forming hydrocarbon and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the fuel is American-made, widely available, and is more affordable than gasoline or diesel.

However, where propane autogas differs from some of its alternative fuel competitors is in ease of maintenance and maintenance costs. While fleets often analyze equipment costs and fuel spend before making the switch to alternative fuels, many still forget to consider “hidden costs.” From oil changes to garaging regulations, propane autogas is easy to maintain and requires similar equipment and specifications as that of gasoline or diesel.

As more transportation directors take advantage of the environmental and economical benefits of alternative fuels, including propane autogas, it’s important to analyze how each stacks up when it comes to maintaining not only fleet vehicles, but also fleet facilities. When directors begin evaluating whether their operations are ready for alternative fuels, there are some helpful items to consider.

Prepping the Facility: Code Compliance

The first step a fleet manager should take in readying for alternative fuels is making sure their facility is compliant with general code requirements already required of gasoline or diesel. Several national codes outline detailed requirements for building or modifying a vehicle repair or maintenance facility. Those most important to review include:
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes NFPA 58 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code and NFPA 30A Code for Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages.
International Building Code (IBC), a model building code developed by the International Code Council (ICC). IBC addresses fire prevention in regard to construction and design of the facility.
National Electric Code (NEC), a standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment. NEC is enforced to promote safe electrical practices.

Since propane autogas has similar requirements to gasoline and diesel, facilities operating within these regulations can easily accommodate propane-autogas-powered vehicles without modifications for ventilation, gas detection, or electrical requirements. However, this is not the case for all alternative fuels. For example, a CNG repair and maintenance facility requires additional gas detection and ventilation equipment.

In addition to national codes, review of regional compliance codes with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is recommended before making any changes and crucial to maintaining a safe workplace.

Major and Minor Repairs

Repair garages are placed in two different categories — major or minor — for code purposes. A major repair garage is where actions such as engine overhauls, painting, bodywork, and motor vehicle fuel tank drainage are performed. A minor garage is used for basic tasks such as tune-ups, tire rotation, brake system repairs, parts replacement, and fluid changes.

Major and minor repairs may take place in independent facilities or can be performed in separate areas within the same building. A review of compliance to existing local and national codes for liquid fuels is recommended before making modifications to facilities. With propane autogas, vehicles do not require segregation of major and minor repairs if all areas of the garage are fully code compliant. Segregation of repairs can equate to costly upfront expenses for large shops and increases in the cost of electricity, air handling, cooling, and heating over time.
Refueling Infrastructure Cost Savings

Fleet managers often install private or public refueling infrastructure based on their location and needs. Installing infrastructure offers many benefits, which may include convenience, reduced employee downtime spent at gas stations, and minimized price volatility. Compared with other alternative fuels, propane autogas provides the most affordable infrastructure solution for fleets that need a central refueling location. The installation cost for just one compressed natural gas station is the financial equivalent of installing 10 propane autogas refueling stations.

Additionally, some propane retailers may even cover the installation cost when a fleet agrees to a fuel contract. These savings, coupled with federal or state incentives for infrastructure can make installing a propane autogas dispenser even more cost effective.

Some fleets have been able to take advantage of state and federal grants as well. For instance, the Sheriff’s Department in Jefferson County, Wis., received a $25,000 alternative fuel grant from Wisconsin Clean Cities in 2011 to install on-site infrastructure. Jefferson County currently operates 21 bi-fuel propane autogas vehicles, including nine Chevy Tahoe SUVs and 12 Ford Crown Victoria patrol sedans.

Codes and Installation

Whether transportation directors are planning on storing and dispensing alternative fuels at an existing facility or building on a new facility, they should review code requirements in the jurisdiction where their facility is located. Propane autogas is a very safe fuel when properly stored, dispensed, and used.

Indoor refueling with propane autogas is permitted in facilities that comply with NFPA 58, NFPA 30A, and jurisdictional codes. If propane autogas is stored outside the repair facility, there are rules regarding where aboveground tanks can be stored and placed. For instance, aboveground propane autogas storage tanks must be separated by at least 15 feet from devices that dispense liquefied or gaseous motor vehicle fuels. If the facility also has aboveground CNG or LNG tanks, the propane autogas tank must be separated by at least 20 feet from those fuels. No matter the alternative fuel, it’s always good to have physical protection and security in accordance with local laws.

Propane autogas refueling stations can be installed with minimal site preparation, improvements, or permits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies propane autogas as a non-contaminant of air, land, and water resources. As a result, propane autogas infrastructure can be installed in areas where CNG cannot, and has fewer compliance requirements than conventional fuels.

An on-site propane autogas dispenser is compact and easy to install, and only requires a large propane tank and no-spill low emission dispenser. Propane autogas infrastructure also uses the same pump and motor to handle a number of tanks and dispensers without changing the electrical or site requirements, allowing infrastructure to grow as fleets expand. A CNG refueling station requires a dryer to remove water or water vapor from the natural gas supply prior to compression, a compressor to compress natural gas to the appropriate pressure, storage and a dispenser. The faster the refueling process needed, the larger the compressor needed, which can add up to be relatively costly.

Propane autogas also operates on a closed fuel system, adding another layer of security and peace of mind for fleet managers. The refueling nozzle is threaded and must be screwed into the fuel tank, creating a closed fuel system that is less susceptible to theft and spillage. Still, it’s recommended that portable tanks be stored in a locked cage and that access to refueling dispensers be protected.
Ease of Refueling

Propane autogas infrastructure can save fleets both time and money at the pump. For example, Alvin Independent School District (Alvin ISD) in Texas recently used an $80,000 grant to upgrade to a higher volume pump and dispenser. Alvin ISD currently operates an 18,000-gallon tank with three dual dispensers, allowing the district to refuel up to six buses in the same time.

For fleets that need to refuel while en route, drivers can find propane autogas refueling stations in every state, with many more public refueling stations opening every day. No other alternative fuel offers the same convenience. For county fleet managers like Melvin Rose, who operates a fleet with more than 800 alternative fueled vehicles in Monroe County, NY, the nationwide availability of propane autogas infrastructure was a deciding factor in his decision to add propane autogas vehicles to his fleet.

“We did some research and we can go from here in New York all the way to Florida on propane autogas alone by stopping at propane-autogas-refueling stations along the way,” Rose explains.
Picking a Fuel Provider

Planning for growth is an important consideration when adopting an alternative fuel, and selecting the right fuel provider is a significant part of that. Not only should fleets plan for immediate needs today, but it’s also important for fleets to consider how adaptable their infrastructure is if they need to add more fueling stations or relocate existing stations in the future. Determining which fuel providers can handle everyday deliveries and grow with a fleet’s needs is critical.

Juan Mejias, fleet maintenance manager at Alvin ISD, relies on the 24/7 service of the district’s propane provider to ensure it has the fuel it needs to quickly and safely transport students to and from school.

“They [propane retailers] go out of their way to make sure they deliver our fuel on time,” Mejias says. “Whether it’s at midnight or four in the morning — they’ll make sure we have the fuel we need to get the job done.”
Maintenance Costs

Propane-autogas-powered vehicles can be serviced and stored in the same garage with the same diagnostic tools as gasoline-fueled vehicles. This makes the cost of maintenance with propane autogas equivalent, if not more affordable than, conventional fuels. In fact, Eric Stewart, lead mechanic at Portland Public School District, which operates 59 propane-autogas-powered school buses, says gasoline-fueled vehicles actually require more tools and precautionary actions during maintenance.

“Gasoline fumes can really choke you out of the repair shop if you don’t direct them outside,” Stewart said. “We purchase a hose that can be attached to the exhaust pipe and run outdoors in order to keep the smoke from suffocating the area. This is isn’t necessary when working with propane autogas because the exhaust fumes inside the shop aren’t as harmful due to the fuel’s clean properties.”

New EPA-certified diesel engines also accumulate substantial maintenance costs due to required fuel additives and after treatments in order to reduce emissions. According to Bruce Thomas, master technician with Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Colorado, which operates a total of 148 buses on a combination of propane and diesel, the up-front costs have increased significantly to operate its diesel engines.

“There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through with diesel due to of all of the EPA emission standards,” Thomas explains. “New EPA-certified diesel buses have become much more expensive and difficult to maintain. The best thing about propane autogas is that it doesn’t need any additional parts or maintenance in order to meet emission standards.”

Safety is the most important consideration for any fleet, and safety with alternative fuels is no exception. Propane autogas vehicles meet or exceed the rules and safety requirements set by the Department of Transportation (DOT), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NFPA, and California Air Resources Board (CARB). Additionally, propane autogas engine fuel systems are fitted with safety devices and shutoff valves that automatically shut down in the rare case that the fuel line ruptures.

Propane autogas also offers a number of safety advantages when compared with maintaining engines operating on other fuels.

Propane autogas requires a high temperature to ignite. Gasoline and diesel fuel will catch fire at temperatures as low as 495 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas propane autogas won’t ignite until it reaches a temperature of at least 920 degrees Fahrenheit.

Among alternative fuels, propane autogas has the narrowest flammability range. The flammability range of propane autogas is comparable to that of gasoline and diesel fuel.

Unlike gasoline and diesel fuel, if propane autogas leaks it does not puddle, but instead vaporizes and dissipates into the air.
Propane autogas tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than gasoline tanks, so they are more durable in an accident. They can also withstand up to four times the pressure when compared with a gasoline tank.


Training makes all the difference when it comes to the safe handling of propane. And for propane safety and training programs, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a recognized leader. PERC offers training manuals and resources for maintenance technicians and fleet operators on safe refueling practices. Additionally, original equipment manufacturers and dealers, such as Roush CleanTech, a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM), and CleanFuel USA, in partnership with General Motors (GM), typically offer fleets basic safety, maintenance, and training. This can include tips from how to manage and work on propane autogas fuel systems to driver training. See original article here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Eastern Propane puts environmentally friendly truck into service

ROCHESTER — Eastern Propane and Oil, a full-service propane and oil company serving New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, is pleased to announce the most recent addition to its delivery fleet — the Freightliner S2G Propane-Powered propane delivery truck.

Due to their long history of using propane to power their fleet, Eastern was chosen to test one of just 25 S2G trucks introduced in the country. Additionally, Eastern was the first company to place one in service. The S2G Propane-Powered truck features Freightliner’s newest and most advanced technology, allowing the vehicle to operate at full capacity with reduced emissions when compared to a traditional gas or diesel powered engine.

“We are very excited about this addition to our fleet and plan on adding five more S2G trucks within a few months,” said Mike Gagne, fleet manager at Eastern Propane and Oil.

Eastern debuted their new, S2G Propane-Powered Bobtail at the Northeast Propane Show in early August. The environmentally friendly, propane-fueled delivery truck is the only one in the area and garnered a tremendous amount of industry interest. 
Gagne indicated that the truck will undergo rigorous testing by Eastern and will travel to all of their locations to deliver fuel. As part of the testing, Eastern is required to document performance metrics and share with Freightliner.

Eastern specializes in propane-based energy solutions, and much of their fleet is powered by propane which is comparable in power to gasoline and diesel, cheaper to fuel and cleaner for the environment.

Lower operating costs and reduced emissions show the versatility of propane, making it an ideal solution for more than just heating needs.

About Eastern Propane and Oil
Eastern Propane and Oil is a family-owned business dedicated to delivering high quality, reliable, and competitively-priced propane and oil to over 90,000 residential and commercial customers in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. Personalized Customer Service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by email or by phone at 800-523-5237. For additional information, visit