Second demonstration of new mobile natural gas compressor

Source: press release, 15 January 2019

The GoFlo® CNG80 compressor offers improved backup capability and increased capacity for refuelling smog-reducing CNG fleets
The GoFlo® CNG80 compressor offers improved backup capability and increased capacity for refuelling smog-reducing CNG fleets (photo: ObDI/SoCalGas)

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and Onboard Dynamics, Inc. (ObDI) have announced the field demonstration of new mobile compressor technology that provides on-site backup and supplemental compression at natural gas fuelling stations. The new compressor, called the GoFlo® CNG80, is now being demonstrated at the Antelope Valley School Transportation Agency in Lancaster, California, where 43 natural gas school busses refuel using the fuelling station at AVSTA’s fleet yard. SoCalGas and ObDI are partnering to fund the demonstration project to validate the performance of the new mobile compressor, which they expect will further improve on-site refuelling for natural gas fleet customers.

“The new GoFlo mobile compressors increase reliability and resilience of natural gas fuelling stations by helping mitigate the risk of electric power supply interruption,” says Yuri Freedman, SoCalGas senior director of business development. “This type of equipment will enhance the function of any fuelling station and make refuelling even easier for fleet operators who fuel with clean natural gas and renewable natural gas.”

“The GoFlo compressor technology provides an affordable and reliable refuelling solution for compressed natural gas (CNG) fleet operators that provides additional value to all customers including those with inadequate electric infrastructure or higher electricity rates,” says Rita Hansen, chief executive officer of ObDI. “This technology promises to offer both the backup capability and capacity increases that many CNG fleet operators need today.”

“Antelope Valley schools switched to natural gas buses 36 years ago to help clean our air,” says Mike Breivogel, fleet manager for AVSTA. “Installation of the GoFlo compressor partially offsets use of our aging electric compressor, provides mobile and easily deployable backup capability, increases capacity of our pumps and reduces our operating costs.”

The Antelope Valley School Transportation Agency installation represents the second phase of field demonstration of the new mobile compressor. In the first phase, field testing was conducted and completed at Mountain View School District (MVSD) in South El Monte, California. There, the GoFlo compressor enabled MVSD to improve on-site refuelling of eight compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses, reduce vehicle fuel costs and improve driver productivity. The demonstration at MVSD provided information that led to product improvements of the commercial unit that is now running at AVSTA.

The GoFlo compressor uses natural gas instead of electricity to operate, which increases its cost-effectiveness and allows it to provide backup in the event of an existing CNG compressor failure. It is also an economical way to expand CNG refuelling capabilities without relying on a connection to an external electric power source to operate.

The mobile CNG compressor helps to fuel CNG fleets of all sizes (for example, school buses, waste haulers, box trucks, etc.) and helps to reduce operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The availability of a more affordable on-site CNG refuelling system is expected to increase overall adoption of natural gas – and renewable natural gas – among fleet operators. Renewable natural gas is produced from the methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing and dairies. Depending on its source, it is either low-carbon or carbon-negative.

Natural gas engines for heavy duty vehicles greatly reduce smog-forming emissions and when renewable natural gas is used as fuel, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by at least 80%. Using renewable natural gas in one diesel truck is equivalent to taking 325 cars off the road. This makes renewable natural gas an important tool for reducing emissions from California’s transportation sector, which is responsible for about 40% of the California’s greenhouse gas emissions and more than 80% of its smog-forming (NOx) emissions.

Near zero emission natural gas trucks are helping achieve the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals and clean the air around California’s transportation corridors. Because of this, California provides incentive funding to help trucking fleets transition to renewable natural gas. Close to 70% of natural gas fleets in California are fuelled with renewable natural gas.