KSI converts six vans to propane fuel

Milford, Del.

Kent-Sussex Industries, Inc. in Milford recently converted six of its vans to propane, with an expected savings of $1.50 per gallon to further assist people with disabilities in the pursuit of potential employment.
The fuel savings realized by switching half a dozen vehicles to propane AutoGas will allow KSI to continue providing transportation, assessment, training and employment services to nearly 300 disabled individuals annually.
An on-site refueling station featuring an Alliance AutoGas dispenser was also recently installed at the KSI facility by Sharp Energy.
KSI is currently seeking grants and funding to convert more of its 48 vehicle fleet to this alternative fuel.

Propane inventories fall

Propane inventories fall
U.S. propane stocks fell by 2.7 million barrels to end at 62.1 million barrels last week, 11.6 million barrels (15.7%) lower than a year ago. Midwest regional inventories dropped by 2.1 million barrels, and Gulf Coast inventories declined by 0.5 million barrels. Inventories on the East Coast decreased by 0.2 million barrels, while stocks in the Rocky Mountain/West Coast region were unchanged from previous week. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 4.5% of total propane inventories.

More Mowers Running on Propane

The propane industry has been focused on lawn care and landscaping companies for several years now. Incentive programs designed to encourage contractors to buy new propane-fueled mowers and/or convert existing gas-powered fleets over to propane have been successful, says Jeremy Wishart, projects manager for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Wishart spoke to Green Industry Pros at the recent GIE+EXPO in Louisville.

Roughly 925 end users (i.e. landscape contractors) had applied for PERC incentives leading up to GIE+EXPO on October 24. "We're starting to pick up more now at a faster pace," Wishart added. The 2012 rebate program had been extended through this year, and will continue through 2014. "Then, when the fund runs out, we'll just ask the PERC Board for more," Wishart said.

There's good reason to believe that the PERC Board will respond favorably. Thus far, the majority of the action has taken place on the "new mower" side as opposed to conversions. As more contractors look to upgrade existing mower fleets in coming years, and more mower manufacturers incorporate propane mowers into their lineups, demand is expected to grow organically.

John Deere recently added propane-powered models to its lineup, bringing the number of manufacturers to 16. Additionally, the introduction of Kohler's propane EFI (electronic fuel injection) engine, which helps to substantially reduce fuel consumption, offers further incentive for contractors to make the switch to propane. Kohler's propane EFI engine is currently exclusive to Exmark, but will be expanded to additional brands in coming years.

Right now, Wishart estimates that propane mowers have roughly 3% market share in the commercial mower arena. "We have a goal of 10%," Wishart said.

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Dealers have helped to grow market share, and will continue to play a pivotal role going forward. Seven manufacturers currently participate in PERC's Dealer Demonstration program. Dealers are given $2,000 per mower to stock and demo it for at least 90 days; the $2,000 that can be applied to their OEM floorplan purchase price for the mower

States Take New Look at Propane-Fueled Buses

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Busing Business Booming

TORRINGTON—Green Fleet magazine last week recognized John Dufour, president of All-Star Transportation, as a ‘Sustainability All-Star’ based on his efforts to “green” the company’s fleet of school buses.

The award was presented at the 2013 Green Fleet Conference in Phoenix, Ariz.

“This is well-deserved recognition among your peers and the key movers and shakers in the area of sustainability,” said Lauren Fletcher, managing editor of Green Fleet Magazine.

“This award is about as far from me as can be,” said a modest Mr. Dufour this week in a telephone interview. “This is really something that [the whole firm] was involved in.”

Whole firm or just its president, the fact remains that All-Star brought the first propane-powered school buses to Connecticut, initiating them this year in the 51-bus fleet serving Torrington public schools. In addition to reducing emissions, the use of propane is cutting fuel costs, which are paid directly by the school district. The district also gets a 50-cent per-gallon tax reimbursement for switching to an alternative fuel, as well as a fuel tax exemption of 18-cents per gallon.

“I believe propane-powered buses are the future of the business,” said Mr. Dufour, who who headquarters his business in Waterbury. “Propane buses have been around since the 1980s, but they were gutless. Now, they have more horsepower than diesel—they run fantastic and they burn fuel with 99 percent efficiency. The buses do cost about $7,000 more and you get a little less mileage than with diesel, but propane is $1.20 a gallon as compared to $3.50 for diesel. Torrington, where they run 51 buses, can save over $200,000 in just one year in fuel costs.”

“You can’t beat them environmentally,” Mr. Dufour continued, “particularly with school buses that sit and idle around where kids are. There is none of the black exhaust you get with diesel.”

And, the buses are safe, with reinforced tanks that are positioned in a way that enhances safety in case of a crash. “We did a lot of homework,” said Mr. Dufour, “talked to school districts and contractors. We were very concerned with safety and whether they would start in cold weather. The Board of Education wouldn’t want to put kids on buses that were unsafe. We did a lot of training with local first responders and all our mechanics got training.”

“Torrington superintendent of schools Cheryl Kloczko said the district is “extremely impressed” with the new propane buses provided by All Star Transportation. “They are quiet, odorless and allow Torrington Public Schools to safely transport children from home to school and back again.

Port Colborne, N.Y., hears pros of propane

Port Colborne Leader

When your gas receipts total more than $100,000 a year, any way to find savings is welcome.

On Monday representatives from Primemax Energy Inc. were at council to talk about savings that can be found by converting the city’s gas-powered vehicles to propane.

Ron Driedger, from Primemax, said a dual propane-gas system can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27 per cent and emit 50 per cent fewer toxins, and costs 50 per cent cheaper to run that straight gas engines.

And with conversion costs being roughly $4,200 to $4,750 per vehicle, he said the systems would pay for themselves in less than two years.

Director of corporate services Peter Senese estimated yearly costs of $130,000 for gas and diesel to power the city’s fleet.

Council directed staff to look into the possibility of converting some or all of its gas vehicles to propane. The report is expected to return for council consideration at a future meeting.

City says yes to police plan for propane squad cars

Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 18:17

Aldermen OK spending $26,800 to convert vehicles for long-term cost savings

    A proposal by the Port Washington Police Department to convert its squad cars to propane-fueled vehicles was approved Tuesday by the Common Council.

     Aldermen approved spending $26,800 to purchase a conversion kit and install a propane station at the Street Department garage.

   By approving the measure now, the city will ensure it receives a 30% credit for the dispensing station, officials said.

    Aldermen were effusive in their praise of the program, saying it is a cost-saving measure that will also help the city in its efforts to go green.

    “I think this is a great proposal,” Ald. Kevin Rudser said.

    Propane-fueled vehicles aren’t new, and certainly aren’t new to the field of law enforcement, said Capt. Mike Keller, who researched the proposal for the police department.

    “It’s a well-kept secret,” he said, noting the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has been using propane-fueled squad cars for more than 20 years.

    “They’re saving a considerable amount of money doing this.”

    Officials have said the department is paying about $3.38 a gallon for gasoline, but propane would cost about $1.47 a gallon. That amount would be offset by a 50 cent per gallon credit, bringing the final cost to about $1 a gallon.

    The payback begins immediately, officials said, adding that if the department had used propane to fuel two of its squad cars last year, it could have saved $16,300. This year, the department budgeted $60,000 to fuel its cars.

    Squad cars aren’t outfitted with the propane system when they are purchased but must be retrofitted. The system costs about $5,500

    The department would like to retrofit its newest vehicle, a Ford Interceptor sport utility vehicle, with the propane system this year, Keller said.

    In addition, the department’s new Chevrolet Impala, also purchased this year, would be retrofitted if a conversion kit can be found, Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said.

    The department typically buys two new squad cars a year, and it would retrofit those as they are purchased.

    “Will the vehicles still perform at the same level?” Ald. Dan Becker asked.Daily-Press

    Keller said the vehicles will run on either propane or gasoline. They will start with gasoline, then automatically switch to propane when appropriate, he said, although officers can manually switch them to run on gas when needed.

    The performance will remain the same, he said.

    Ald. Paul Neumyer asked whether other law-enforcement agencies are interested in converting their vehicles.

    “There’s interest out there,” Keller said. “I think once the vehicle is out there and people see it, others will try it.”

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