For Immediate Release: September 14, 2016
Media Contact: Edward Ortiz - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Funds Natural Gas Engine Development for Heavy-Duty Trucks and CNG Fueling Infrastructure

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission approved a $1 million grant today to develop a 12-liter natural gas engine that produces near-zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) tailpipe emissions. The engines would be suitable for heavy-duty vehicles.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will work with Cummins Westport, Inc., to develop the engine. Cummins has a history of developing natural gas engines for heavy-duty application, and its engines are being used globally in a variety of commercial vehicles.

The grant focuses on existing engine research and consists of engine development and on-road vehicle demonstration. The engine will offer fleets an option for larger vehicles, such as drayage trucks equipped with natural gas near zero technology. Drayage trucks are used to haul cargo containers from ocean ports to distribution centers and rail yards.

The development of the natural gas engine will help meet California Air Resources Board 2010 emissions standards and support efforts to improve air quality in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air basins.

According to the Air Resources Board’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan, transportation - and heavy-duty vehicles in particular - play an important role in achieving California’s emission reduction goals. Additionally, these near-zero engines, when fueled with California-produced renewable natural gas, become a near-term and viable solution for greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts.

The Energy Commission also approved a $500,000 grant for the Fullerton Joint Union High School District to upgrade its existing compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling infrastructure in La Habra. The upgrade includes improvements and expansion to a fleet refueling system and the addition of a fast-fill dispenser for public use.

The upgrades will allow the Fullerton school district to retire older diesel and gasoline burning vehicles in their bus and service vehicle fleet. The upgrades also will allow the district to meet its projected CNG needs over the next 10 years.

The dual hose fast-fill dispensers on the new public CNG vending islands would operate unmanned 24 hours a day, with an automated payment system. Funding for the upgrade project and new fast-fill dispenser islands comes from the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which supports alternative fuel and transportation projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and California's dependence on fossil fuels.

The Energy Commission also approved a staff report that found that California’s 2016 energy efficiency standards for nonresidential buildings exceeds projected energy savings from the equivalent federal energy code for nonresidential buildings.

California’s nonresidential building energy standards contain building measures and performance operation impacts that are more rigorous and result in higher efficiency levels than what is required in the federal energy code, known as the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and Illuminating Engineering Society Standard (ASHRAE 90.1), according to the report.

The total amount of energy saved by complying with California’s standards is roughly equal to half the total amount of electricity generated from all in-state solar thermal plants in 2015 and is 13 percent better, on average, than what is achieved in complying with ASHRAE 90.1 requirements, according to staff analysis.

For details on all actions taken at today’s business meeting see the business meeting agenda.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The agency was established by the California Legislature through the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation and preparing for energy emergencies.