Member Profile: California Alternative Fuels Market Compels AMP Americas to Expand ampCNG Station Network

With a high-volume dairy RNG production facility in Indiana and a network of 20 public-access CNG and RNG stations spread across the Midwest, the Southeast, and Texas, AMP Americas is ready to expand its station business into California. Thanks to a recent $47 million capital infusion, the company is moving quickly on its plans to build new RNG and CNG stations in Southern California as well as establish new biogas production facilities.

Barely a month since announcing the funding from EIV Capital, an equity firm focused on the energy industry, AMP Americas has already made a mark in California. On Sept. 27, the company reported that its RNG operation at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana has received the first waste-to-vehicle fuel pathway certified by CARB.

“CARB awarded us a life cycle carbon intensity score of -254.94, the lowest score ever issued by CARB,” said Grant Zimmerman, CEO of ampCNG, one of three AMP Americas business units. The other two are Renewable Dairy Fuels, which includes the biogas production facility, and ampRenew. “We are committed to bringing ultraclean fuel to California,” he added.

On the same day, ampCNG opened an office in Los Angeles and announced the hiring of new chief operating officer Martin Gilkes.

“This is our vote of confidence in the opportunity created by California’s commitment to cleaning up pollution from mobile sources, improving local air quality, and reducing greenhouse gases,” said Zimmerman.

Amping up RNG production
AMP Americas brings a wealth of livestock waste-to-vehicle fuel expertise to California, straight from one of Indiana’s major dairy farms. The company’s biogas facility at Fair Oaks Farms has been transforming dairy waste into natural gas since 2011.

“Our biogas production facility is the first dairy waste project to be certified by the EPA to make RNG. It’s also the only one so far accepted in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program,” said Zimmerman.

The facility produces more than 1.5 million gges of RNG every year, and Zimmerman said AMP Americas will expand its RNG production capacity “significantly” to meet California’s growing demand for renewable transportation fuels. Eventually, AMP Americas will both produce RNG in California and sell it through ampCNG stations in the state. Until it builds the new facilities, the company will continue to sell its biogas to third-party stations throughout the state.

Raising awareness with the Coalition
According to Zimmerman, ampCNG joned the Coalition to help “elevate the consciousness of RNG” as an immediate component of California’s overall air quality plan.

“We can reduce pollution so much faster by mobilizing RNG for heavy-duty vehicles,” said Zimmerman. “It’s extremely positive that California is putting budget behind meeting its air quality goals. But as an industry, we need to do more to raise awareness of the benefits of RNG in heavy-duty trucking.”

Zimmerman said one of the NGV industry’s goals should be to offer greater support for smaller trucking operations, including truck owner-operators. Their older trucks are often the worst polluters on the roads, but they lack the capital to upgrade to near-zero-NOx trucks and often don’t qualify for government incentive programs.

“The market can provide solutions in concert with state agencies to reduce the cost of the truck and guarantee credit for these smaller guys who don’t qualify for leases,” said Zimmerman.

He pointed out that, unlike other alternative-fuel technologies, RNG is ready to make trucking cleaner now, and waiting for heavy-duty electric vehicles would have an enormous negative impact.

“Waiting to replace old diesel trucks with EVs will do significant damage to the environment,” he said. “People need to realize that low-NOx engines running RNG are a full solution right now.”