Motorweek: Gaseous Fuel Facilities Upgrades

January 7, 2019


For many transit bus, refuse, delivery and Long-haul truck fleets, making the switch from Diesel or gasoline to clean gaseous fuels like CNG, Propane and hydrogen has far-reaching benefits. But stepping up to these alternative fuels can also Require special training and equipment to ensure that Refueling and maintenance facilities can handle them Safely.

The us department of energy has teamed up with industry experts, the gas technology Institute and marathon technical services, to address that very need. Specialized Training is being offered free of charge at nearly 20 locations around the country to Educate public safety officials, fleets operators, car & truck dealers, and repair Garages who want to learn more about gaseous fuels. A series of ten technical Manuals and best-practice guides have been developed. But the training isn’t limited To book-learning in the classroom. Site visits and tours of facilities that have already Been upgraded are included so that students can gain real world practical experience.

The GRTC transit system in Richmond, Virginia, recently hosted one of these events.

Carrie page: when GRTC relocated over to this facility on Southside Richmond, it was already in the vision that there would need to be some kind of feeling relocation. And hopefully alternative fuel. So GRTC worked collaboratively with the city of Richmond to start the process of moving towards compressed natural gas.

GRTC’s CNG fuel station and bus maintenance shop, like many around the country, was originally built to service diesel-powered vehicles. And in order to safely handle the fleet’s conversion to CNG, the buildings needed to be retrofitted with systems to safely accommodate the gaseous fuel.

It’s important to remember that storing and dispensing gaseous fuels is safe. But personnel need to be trained to understand the differences between conventional fuels and gaseous fuels, and how to handle any leaks or other emergencies that might come up.

To begin with, gaseous fuels can’t be seen, and don’t puddle on the ground like liquid fuels. So these modern garages have electronic detectors that constantly monitor for any gas in the air, and automatically set off alarms, open doors, and turn on ventilation fans if a leak is suspected.

The training also provides practical advice on how to design and operate a safe facility and teaches important gaseous fuel skills-sets, like what kind of sounds or smells might indicate even tiny trace leaks, the location of emergency shut-off valves and switches, and how to calmly respond when alarms go off or other situations occur.

As more fleets, maintenance garages and car dealerships train their employees then upgrade their facilities to accommodate alternative fuels like natural gas, propane and hydrogen, they are making it that much easier for others to follow suite. These efforts help increase the availability of alternative fuels across the country. And also most switching to them more practical and affordable than ever before.

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