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HHP Summit Indicates Market Confidence After Tough Year

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October 24, 2016

The fifth annual High Horsepower Summit in Chicago Oct. 11–13 showcased major investments in natural gas infrastructure around the country, indicating a significant upswing in the availability of natural gas fuels—and confidence in the market after a tough year.

“Even in tough market conditions, with the price of oil down as low as $27 this year, the natural gas industry is finding a way to make investments in natural gas work—and people at the HHP Summit were really excited about the projects,” said Erik Neandross, CEO of Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, which organized the event.

“People are thinking about what would happen if oil prices go up to $70 or $80. [In that case] new natural gas projects would make even more sense. Because the infrastructure is being built now, the supply is in place to make those projects happen really quickly,” he said.

Event highlights

More than 700 attendees joined dozens of sponsors, including Coalition members Chart Industries and Cryogenic Industries, at the summit to discuss the environmental and long-term economic benefits of using natural gas to displace diesel fuel for high horsepower applications. In the expo hall, vendors displayed the latest advancements in natural gas technology, including new virtual pipeline and natural gas storage solutions.

Chart Industries announced a new CNG fueling option for its skid-mounted LNG fueling station, which allows the station to fill up vehicles running on either fuel. The fueling station is intended to be a cost-effective, temporary way to provide natural gas in remote locations and small ports, or a stopgap until completion of a permanent station.

Quantum Fuel Systems, a manufacturer of CNG fuel storage systems, showcased its new VP-650 virtual pipeline trailer. According to the company, this trailer has the highest gaseous capacity available—650,000 standard cubic feet. That makes it suitable for high fuel use applications, such as fleet refueling in areas where there is no traditional pipeline and generating power in far-flung locations. The VP-650 will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

LightSail Energy, which develops energy storage systems, also announced a high-capacity gas transport module at the summit. The LightStore module uses lightweight carbon composite pressure vessels, which bring down the cost of transporting natural gas fuels, the company says. Each module can hold 500,000 standard cubic feet of natural gas—enough to fuel a fleet of Class 8 trucks, according to LightSail.

Speakers from the marine, rail, mining, and utility sectors shared case studies of natural gas projects in action. From the construction of multimillion-dollar LNG production plants in Florida and Washington to the deployment of LNG-powered locomotives and cruise ships, the HHP Summit highlighted the many inroads natural gas has made into high fuel use operations.

New infrastructure supports growth

Sam Thomas, chairman of the board and CEO of Chart Industries, told attendees during his Oct. 12 speech that the increased investment in natural gas infrastructure will accelerate downstream projects.

“Even though these projects might begin as HHP applications, such as LNG plants to fuel container ships, the fuel will eventually find its way to the on-highway market,” said Neandross.

Pointing out the importance of natural gas infrastructure projects, he added, “You have supply—you even have redundancy in supply. You’ll start to see great adoption rates.”

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Photo ©Westport Innovations, used by permission

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