Bringing Lean Concepts to CNG Fueling Station Construction

Look for the 'Bright star in the dark night'.

Look for the ‘Bright star in the dark night’.

Let me start by stating what is obvious to any companies that are operating in the CNG-for- Transportation industry in North America…it’s a bear.

As we at InsightFuel begin the process of setting our course for the next 1-3 years, we find ourselves using creative business planning discussion phrases like “looking for the bright stars in the dark night” and one that our owner, Jeff, was recently introduced to, “Strategy under uncertainty”.

Although uncertainty abounds in our industry right now, one thing I am certain about is that these times call for extraordinary execution in planning, designing and operations. No one is carrying underutilized resources. Nobody has “extra” money (you know…like my kids always used to ask me for when they were young).  As well, programs and projects cannot have unexpected cost overruns and lengthy schedule delays. We’re all “Leaned-up” just to protect our businesses.  It’s for those reasons that Lean concepts have a clear place in the construction of CNG fueling stations.

Now, I have to come clean on one thing before I continue pronouncing the value of Lean concepts… I hate (okay Mom, I strongly dislike) Lean terminology. All the terms like “Muda”, “Heijunka”, “Kaizen”, “Poka-Yoke” and the like irritate me and so, I will not be using any of those in describing opportunities to improve execution.

Below are four ways to improve project execution:

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The National Clean Fleets Partnership Grows to Include 18 Member Companies

What do Best Buy, Johnson Controls, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Veolia Environmental Services have in common? Each company has been added to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Clean Fleets Partnership, a public-private venture that assists the country’s largest fleet operators reduce the amount of gas and diesel they spend nationwide.

“As part of [President Obama’s] approach to reducing fuel costs for helps American consumers and businesses, the National Clean Fleets Partnership leading U.S. companies reduce their fuel use, save money, and become models for fleets across the national to improve their efficiency,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

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Station Mid-life Crisis

abandoned gas station

Abandoned gas station.

Is your station having a mid-life crisis?

Many are, as they reach their service midlife.

Stations built 10-15 years ago were designed with the materials available at the time.  This means smaller diameter tubes, less efficient gas flow, and slower filling rates.

Standards have evolved since then as well.  Current standards can be easily incorporated during a station upgrade.

InsightFuel can upgrade and repair your CNG fueling station in just a matter of days by the following process.

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Unveiling at Midwest Green Fleet Forums

CNG Time Fill Hose Nozzle

Our CNG time fill hose nozzle.

A reminder that we will be at Midwest Green Fleet Forums next week, August 1st-2nd, in Columbus, OH. Join us at this exciting show and network with clean transportation stakeholders from throughout the midwest who are dedicated to reducing emissions with alternate fuels and saving money.

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Come see us at Midwest Green Fleets Forum

Come see us at Midwest Green Fleets Forum August 1st-2nd! We will be sharing details of two new programs available to existing NG fleet owners – a fueling hose refurbishment program and a minimally-invasive station expansion program.

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Maintain Coalescing Filters to Prevent Poor Engine Performance

poor-coalescing-filter

Extensive sludge discharge shown in the photo below the coalescing filter indicates it is poorly maintained

There is so much information available about selecting the right coalescing filter type and size. You can read for hours about how coalescing filters work and where to place them in order to reach the desired outcome for the oil carryover and cleanliness in high pressure CNG fuel lines.  Coalescing filters are positioned in multiple locations along the fueling station CNG lines, in the fuel dispensers and in the CNG vehicle high pressure fuel system lines.  The specification sheets for coalescing filters are full of details including the oil carryover Parts Per Million weight (PPMw) and micron size of the particles that will be trapped.

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Preventing Damage Caused by Linear Expansion


The photo above shows damage cause by linear expansion of stainless steel tubing. Linear expansion can lead to damage ranging from unsightly workmanship to connection leaks and complete failure on CNG Fueling stations, CNG vehicle fuel delivery systems, CNG tube trailers or any system where high pressure CNG stainless steel tubing is being run and significant temperature changes are present.

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Prevent CNG leaks with the Right Knowledge, Skills and Experience

cng-leaks

Don’t let high pressure become your weak link

From a safety standpoint, nothing is more critical to successful station commissioning than properly installed high pressure gas lines.   Involving experts who have specific knowledge, skills and experience with the materials, components and installation methods can add value to the station project from design through commissioning.

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How NGV 6.1-2016 is Changing the CNG Vehicle Industry For the Better

NGV-New-Standards

“It’s a System, Man”. Those were words I spoke often back in my industrial automation systems design days as my team tried to channel people’s understanding away from the detailed components level focus and toward defining & meeting the top level system objectives. “A well-designed system is much greater than the sum of its parts” says Mike spears, automotive and alternative fuel vehicle industry expert.

In September of 2016, CSA Group released the NGV 6.1-2016 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel storage and delivery systems for road vehicles standard.  Like some other standards associated with CNG vehicles, such as NGV 3.1-2014, this standard is still largely voluntary, but encouraged.  However, that does not diminish the hard work done by the committee and the value provided by the standard.  With only about 155,000 natural gas vehicles on U.S. roads today and the lull in the industry, mostly tied to the price of gasoline and diesel, there has not been a strong push to adopt these standards as mandatory. This will likely change as the industry matures and grows. Unfortunately, at some point, litigation will likely help that effort.

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