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GE, Clean Energy Partner to Expand LNG Corridor

GE and Clean Energy Fuels have announced a collaboration to expand liquefied natural gas infrastructure, to enable trucks to operate on the fuel across the United States.

Clean Energy will buy two MicroLNG plants from GE Oil & Gas as part of the deal (see photo rendering). Each plant, which will support fueling stations along critical transportation corridors, has the capacity to produce 250,000 gallons of LNG per day, GE said.

The plant is designed to expand to 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.

GE Energy Financial Services will provide up to $200 million in financing for the two GE MicroLNG plants, which are scheduled to begin operation in 2015. A final location for the two LNG plants has not been determined.

Clean Energy, a company backed by Texas investor T. Boone Pickens, expects to complete about 70 LNG stations by the end of 2012. More stations are planned for next year along major transportation corridors.

The LNG being rolled out at Clean Energy’s fueling station is targeted at long-haul, heavy-duty trucks. The construction of the fueling stations coincides with the introduction by four major manufacturers of a new Cummins Westport 12-liter LNG engine, the optimal size for long-haul Class 8 trucks, Clean Energy said.

The LNG produced with GE’s MicroLNG system can be used to fuel about 28,000 heavy trucks, replacing diesel-powered trucks with equivalent fuel economy, GE said. This could enable fleet operators to avoid more than 139,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions per year, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 27,000 cars using gasoline or 7,000 trucks using diesel on US roads, assuming an average trucks travels about 14,000 miles per year.

GE said the new LNG system will help reduce fleet operators’ fuel costs by more than 25 percent compared to diesel fuel.

Several other companies have increased their stake in LNG. Motor fuels supplier Gulf Oil announced in August it added 34 LNG trucks to its fleet and would begin distributing LNG to customers in the transportation sector. In June, Royal Dutch Shell said it would supply LNG to about 100 TravelCenters of America sites and Petro Shopping Centers in the US, beginning in 2013. Shell will build more than 200 LNG fuel lanes for heavy-duty trucks throughout the US interstate highway system.

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