GE will collaborate with Clean Energy Fuels in its plan to provide liquefied natural gas as a fueling option at truck stops across the country, the companies announced Tuesday.
Clean Energy, which is backed by Texas investor T. Boone Pickens, said it would buy two MicroLNG plants from GE Oil & Gas, with each plant capable of producing 250,000 gallons of LNG per day.
The GE plants would be able to rapidly transform dry natural gas into LNG for efficient use in long-haul trucks and would support Clean Energy’s plan to add 150 LNG refueling stations at truck stops across the country by 2014 , the companies said.
LNG is more expensive than natural gas, but still far cheaper than diesel and can provide the same driving range and power as the conventional trucking fuel, gas advocates say.
Truckers switching to LNG can cut their fuel costs more than 25 percent and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the companies said.
The MicroLNG plants will be especially significant because they can generate LNG at any point along a natural gas distribution network, the companies said. No specific site for the plants has yet been developed.
“With an abundance of cleaner, more affordable natural gas here in the U.S., this is an important opportunity for GE to join Clean Energy in changing the way America drives,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement. “It’s also a critical step in developing a natural gas-for-transportation fuel model that can be easily exported to other countries interested in exactly these kinds of breakthrough projects.”
Booming production of natural gas from shale has made the resource especially cheap in the United States, making it an increasingly attractive option as a fuel and power resource. But the United States lags far behind other nations in its use of natural gas for transportation, with only one consumer car model available and few refueling stations.