Posts filed under 'Marcellus Shale'
The Kanawha Converts Consortium is pleased to announce that Bridgemont Community and Technical College and the West Virginia University National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) have begun training at the Tech Park in South Charleston.
This week, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, the WVU NAFTC will be conducting classes focusing on light duty natural gas vehicles and compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel system inspection. Topics discussed during the class include:
- Understanding theory, equipment, safety and good work practices
- Developing a working knowledge of the types of cylinders and fuel system components used in CNG vehicle systems
- Visually inspecting CNG cylinders and fuel system components for damage and deterioration.
Bridgemont President Jo Harris said their workforce team partnered with the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) to provide this five-day training seminar. She said that 16 individuals are attending, which include diesel technology faculty from Bridgemont, local automotive dealers and city, county and state government representatives.
Funding for the seminar was made available through a grant from the West Virginia Community and Technical College system and the Kanawha Converts Consortium project of the Kanawha County Commission.
“The NAFTC is a pioneer and a national leader in promoting programs and activities that desire to cure America’s addiction to oil, and lead to energy independence and the greater use of clean transportation and energy, “ Harris said. “It is the only nationwide alternative fuel vehicle and advanced technology vehicle training organization in the United States. This type of training can continue to set the building blocks of this already growing industry.”
In January, IGS Energy CNG Services announced an investment to build CNG stations along the I-79 Corridor, which has spurred an excitement to develop a qualified workforce to maintain these alternative fueled vehicles.
“We don’t want to send these vehicles to Oklahoma or Texas to get inspected or converted. The drilling, conversion, fueling and maintenance for these vehicles can all be done in West Virginia,“ Harris said. “This training can help create jobs and provide skills and training that can be built upon to help individuals take advantage of the growing alternative fuel vehicles industry.”
Matthew Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance, said Kanawha Converts is ahead of the curve in natural gas transportation. The Alliance was tasked with leading Kanawha Converts when leading the consortium was created by the county commission in January 2012.
On Thursday, IGS Energy CNG Services announced plans to build the station on Spring Street, next to the Foodland grocery store. The station is part of a CNG Corridor the company will construct in West Virginia. IGS also announced station plans for Jane Lew, Bridgeport and Mt. Morris, Pa.
IGS has worked with and been an active member of the Kanawha Converts Consortium on the creation of the new station. Created in January 2012, the Kanawha County Commission initiated the consortium, which was charged with the development of infrastructure designed to take advantage of natural gas as an alternative, more cost efficient, and cleaner transportation fuel.
The commission designated the Charleston Area Alliance as the non-governmental entity to lead the efforts.
“Kanawha Converts commends IGS for its investment in the area, which will bring options for natural gas as an alternative transportation fuel,” said Commission President Kent Carper. “With the abundant supply of the Marcellus and other natural gas deposits in the state, consortium representatives believe this is the first step in a new fuel infrastructure for the state.”
“With newly accessible natural gas resources under our feet, all West Virginians, as taxpayers and as individuals, should benefit from our own domestic natural resources,” said Matt Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance and head of Kanawha Converts.
“IGS Energy CNG Services chose to concentrate its efforts on West Virginia because of leadership from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and the legislature and their decision to implement economic policies encouraging the development of the CNG industry in the state,” said IGS President Scott White.
In July 2012, Tomblin announced the organization of the state’s Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force. This task force’s mission is in part to evaluate the feasibility of converting the state’s motor vehicle fleet to natural gas vehicles.
Ballard said the state officials should be commended for their efforts to attract the interest of natural gas companies to the area.
“The governor, legislature and other stakeholders helped get legislation approved for tax credits for this type of infrastructure, which will generate new investment and new jobs and a diversified tax base of the state in the long term,” Ballard said.
“In time, these stations will make alternative transportation fuel accessible for all West Virginians, who in turn can save some extra money at the pump. Putting a few extra dollars in the pockets of hard working West Virginians is always something we strive to accomplish.”
CNG consumers can expect a cost savings of approximately 30 to 50 percent over gasoline and diesel fuel. For more information on the CNG Corridor, visit the IGS Energy CNG Services website at: http://www.cngservices.com
The Kanawha County Commission and Charleston Area Alliance applaud the formation of a new state-wide task force that is evaluating the feasibility of converting the state’s motor vehicle fleet to natural gas.
The Commission and the Alliance have been working in partnership since January on a similar initiative, “Kanawha Converts,” to evaluate and encourage development of an infrastructure that would support the use of natural gas to fuel both public and private vehicle fleets.
In July, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed a new Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force, which includes several members of the Kanawha Converts consortium.
Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper said that the consortium will support Governor Tomblin’s statewide efforts.
“The Governor and his appointed taskforce are welcome to use the information we’ve already developed if it will expedite their process. Our consortium and the County are committed to the development of the infrastructure necessary to make sure our natural gas benefits the taxpayers of Kanawha County,” Carper said.
The partners in the consortium have been working hard to get to where we are now. We have established good data and information with which to move forward. Currently, we are gauging interest in usage volumes to determine if a Request for Proposal can be issued to locate an initial compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Charleston.
With these newly accessible natural gas resources under our feet, all West Virginians, as taxpayers and as individuals, should benefit. Last week, the Governor also announced that Charleston will host the Appalachian Basin Natural Gas Vehicle Expo and Conference in May 2013.
This expo, to be attended by natural gas industry leaders, members from the auto industry representatives and a dozen other governors, will promote natural gas as a fuel for both public and private vehicles.
Since its creation in January, the the Kanawha Converts Consortium has:
• Conducted a market analysis determining return on investment and opportunities for city, county and private fleets to convert to natural gas vehicles;
• Drafted Senate Bill 624, which gives allows government units to transfer special tax credits for certain natural gas projects to conversion of government vehicles to natural gas, saving tax payers dollars.
• Determined public and private sector demand as part of the due diligence process for the development of a CNG fueling station;
• Coordinated with Bridgemont Community and Technical College in the development of training programs for the installation or “up-fitting” of vehicles and maintenance on natural gas vehicles;
• Supported the county’s purchase of a 2013 Chevy Tahoe that will have a bi-fuel AutoGas America CNG conversion kit installed. The vehicle is expected to arrive in Kanawha County ready for use sometime in the early fall of this year.
• Applauded the Kanawha Valley Rapid Transit Authority receipt of a $2 million federal grant that will potentially be used to purchase CNG buses.
• Hosted Clean Fuels USA in Charleston to discuss propane as a source for natural gas fleet fuel.
Until next time,
Marcellus and the Charleston Area Alliance
The Charleston Area Alliance is focused on maximizing job creation, economic diversification, building the tax base, and keeping the value of the Marcellus Shale to benefit West Virginia and her citizens. One of the most interesting parts of the Marcellus discovery is that the deposit is rich (or what some call “wet”) in ethane. The percentage of the whole that ethane represents of the different types of gases extracted in the Marcellus (others being methane, propane etc) can be as high as 15-20%. Ethane can be converted into Ethylene which is a building block of many other products we all use on a daily basis.
You have likely heard about the Charleston Area Alliance efforts to attract an ethane “cracker” to West Virginia and specifically the Kanawha Valley, where ethane would be converted to ethylene. Such a facility would cost upwards of $1-2 billion dollars to build, creating approximately 2000 construction jobs in the process. Once operational, the facility would likely employee approximately 750 full time employees. Additionally, an ethane cracker would create new feedstock for the region which would likely attract more new manufacturing facilities to locate nearby.
In a recent radio interview, Charleston Area Alliance President and CEO Matthew Ballard talks about the Marcellus and the ethane cracker in part one of this radio interview (more to be posted later):