CNG’s Market Barriers Weakened by FuelMule™ Deployment
27 August 2012 (TAMPA, FL) — When Ultimate CNG Chief Operating Officer Brian Fimian drove his one-of-a-kind mule 1,372 miles from Monroe, WI, to Tampa, FL, without refueling, he raised quite a few eyebrows.
He had fed his mule a belly full of clean natural gas before the trip, and didn’t stop once to replenish the fuel stores on his way to the site of this week’s GOP National Convention. Once here, COO Fimian met up with Ultimate CNG CEO Dennis Pick, and they prepared to show this special mule — the FuelMule™ — to the world.
Ultimate CNG was incorporated in March 2011 with the key purpose of creating the FuelMule™ to revolutionize CNG fueling and make the cleaner, “greener” fuel the preferred alternative to diesel for transportation fleets across America. The market driven innovation gives fleets CNG fueling capability at their home base, or elsewhere, without the need to build a fueling station, Ultimate’s CEO Pick said.
The FuelMule™ is a mobile fast-fill CNG fueling station equipped with a reciprocating gas compressor capable of dispensing 8 diesel gallon equivalents’ (DGE) per minute at a pressure of 3,600 pounds per square inch (psi). The FuelMule’s™ payload area is fitted with light-weight, carbon composite tanks providing on-board storage capacity of 700 DGE. It can fuel 35 to 50 medium to heavy-duty vehicles, and separate electronic metering allows filling two vehicles simultaneously.
“This is fast-fill CNG coming to your door to service your entire fleet quickly and easily, with the ultimate savings of time and money,” Pick said. “FuelMule™ is the innovative answer to providing large scale, convenient and economical transportation, powered with clean, American sourced natural gas.”
Up to now, Pick said, “CNG transportation has been intractably stuck in the ‘Chicken or Egg’ conundrum. There have been too few CNG fleet vehicles to justify the high investment in building many CNG fueling stations, and there are too few stations to allow widespread growth and adoption of CNG in various fleets.”
When Pick and business partner Fimian studied the market for CNG transport, the problem became obvious to them. “Quite simply, no matter where you build a permanent CNG station, it’s in the wrong place for 90 percent of the potential vehicles,” Fimian said. “Fleets economically cannot, and therefore will not, drive more than a few miles out of their way to get their fuel.”
“With diesel, most fleets want the cost-saving, hassle-free benefits of on-site fueling. They want the same thing when using CNG, but the capital investment of new fueling infrastructure can be a deal breaker,” Fimian said. “A truly mobile CNG fueling capability puts the deal back on the table.”
So they incorporated Ultimate CNG, took the one-of-a-kind concept to ANGI Energy Systems of Wisconsin, and with engineering support from the Gas Technology Institute in Chicago, developed the FuelMule™.
Fimian took possession of the vehicle in Monroe, WI earlier this month and promptly drove to Tampa to prepare for the FuelMule’s™ coming out party on one of the world’s biggest stages — the 2012 Republican Party National Convention.
“We drove 1,372 miles from Monroe to Tampa and did not have to stop once for fuel,” Fimian said. “The FuelMule™ fueled itself, and it operated beautifully the entire way.”
The FuelMule™ quickly began kicking up a storm of attention in Tampa. During the convention the unit will refuel a dozen “GOP EZ Shuttles” used to ferry convention goers to hotels, attractions and the convention site. America’s Natural Gas Alliance and a local gas utility are working with Ultimate CNG to provide the shuttle service, said Regina Hopper, ANGA’s president and CEO. Similar arrangements have been made for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC next month, she said.
The cleaner-than-diesel, quieter-than-diesel, cheaper-than diesel, CNG powered shuttle service, with convenient FuelMule™ refueling, is an eye-opener for delegates, media and others.
“Our message in Tampa and beyond is that this is an extraordinary opportunity for our nation, and it’s time to get on board with this American fuel choice,” Hopper said. “Companies and local leaders across the country are embracing natural gas.”
Ultimate CEO Pick said the FuelMule™ is the refueling innovation key to large scale, convenient and economical transportation powered with cleaner, greener CNG. “The FuelMule™ was born to solve this problem. It allows almost any transport fleet to take advantage of and benefit from the significantly lower price of this dependable, domestic fuel,” he said.
A U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report this year stated natural gas costs some 35% less than diesel per diesel gallon equivalent. EIA projected for the next 20 years natural gas will become even less expensive compared to diesel, which comes mainly from imported petroleum crude. Natural gas is nontoxic, won’t contaminate ground or water in the event of accidental release, and has low carbon content, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions compared to diesel.
“With FuelMule™ CNG fueling services, no longer must fleets choose between the convenience of diesel and clean natural gas. They can have access to CNG with no capital investment required, no personnel time needed to fuel vehicles, no fueling infrastructure maintenance,” Pick said.
“Making the switch early to cost-efficient clean natural gas will give businesses a jump start on saving the environment and saving money,” he said
For more information about Ultimate CNG and the FuelMule™, please visit www.UltimateCNG.com or contact Carla R. York at (423) 802-6190.