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Fleet Briefing: CNG at Airports, Nissan, Ryder

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has signed long-term agreements with four major airport complexes to design, build, own and operate new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations to support ground transport vehicles and off-airport parking shuttles. The new Clean Energy stations, available 24/7 for public access, will be located in New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Tampa.

The agreements take the number of major airports serviced by the company’s CNG stations to 27. Clean Energy says it fuels over 21,200 vehicles at 224 locations across the United States and Canada, with customers in the refuse, transit, trucking, shuttle, taxi, airport and municipal fleet markets.

Nissan has won New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow competition, securing a ten-year contract to provide all 13,000 of Gotham’s yellow cabs, the New York Times reports. The NV200 van (pictured), which is already in use in Asia and Europe, offers reading lights, rear passenger airbags and charging stations for mobile devices. It can be converted to an all-electric vehicle.

The NV200 is expected to start rolling out in 2013, CNET reports – which means phasing out all of the city’s current taxis, including its hybrid models, by 2018. As part of its deal with the city, Nissan will also provide 100 plug-in electric Leafs as test vehicles, and will install charging stations.

Ryder System has opened its first natural gas vehicle maintenance facility in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. The facility is the first to be completed under a joint project with the San Bernadino Associated Governments (SANBAG).

Ryder has now taken delivery of the first natural gas vehicles under its 202-vehicle rental and leasing agreement with SANBAG. When fully implemented, the Ryder/SANBAG project will include two natural gas fuelling stations and three maintenance facilities. The project is expected to displace more than 1.5 million gallons of diesel annually.

Finally, the U.S. departments of energy and agriculture yesterday announced $47 million to fund eight research and development projects to support production of biofuels, bioenergy and biobased products. The advanced biofuels produced through these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to fossil fuels, the departments said.

The projects, funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, include $6 million to enhance the yield of biofuels and bio-based products made from switchgrass, $6.9 million to improve the economics for biorefineries and $5.8 million to develop energy crops with improved drought and salt stress tolerance, as well as redesign a process to make hydrocarbon fuels at lower temperatures and energy inputs.

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