Government assistance to alternative transport fuels

If, like me, you have often read about how the incoming excise on alternative fuels is going to make it difficult for the fledgling industry to compete against fossil fuel the following article may provide some clarity. It is a few years old so if anyone has a current version please let me know.

Government Assistance to Alternative Transport Fuels.pdf

Commonwealth of Australia 2006: Government Assistance to Alternative Transport Fuels (PDF)

In basic terms LPG, CNG, LNG, ethanol and biodiesel are excise free until 30 Jun 2011. From then on excise gets applied at different rates through to 2015 depending on the type of fuel. Click the image above to read more.

Orbital technology to be used in Brazilian flex-fuel engines

Perth based Orbital Corporation has announced that its FlexDI™ technology has been selected for a new family of high efficiency heavy duty flex-fuel engines currently being developed in Brazil. The technology will be used by Sygma Motors on two engineering programs for Vale Solutions in Energy.

The application of the FlexDI™ technology will commence with an engine test and development program supported by Orbital with a total value of $A1.6m. Also included in the scope is co-development of a spark ignited ethanol combustion system to be used in a demonstration program, and targeted for retrofit of existing diesel engine applications.

Applications include ethanol and CNG flex-fuelled internal combustion engines in the 80 to 1500 hp power generation class in Brazil. Vale Solutions in Energy intends to utilize these engines, primarily in the resources sector, in support of a clean energy strategy.

The companies will also cooperate on possible flex-fuel original equipment and retrofit applications for transportation, either with spark ignition FlexDI™ or diesel pilot ignition, for ethanol and CNG fuelling of heavy duty engines, and for the light duty commercial vehicle sector.

Sygma believe that they will be able to achieve spark ignited operation with ethanol that matches or exceeds that obtained with advanced high efficiency natural gas reciprocating engines of equivalent size.

Source: Orbital Corporation via iStockAnalyst

Reading: Fuel for thought

While digging around the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) web site I discovered Fuel for thought, a publication by the Future Fuels Forum 2007. This June 2008 publication informs us how the Future Fuels Forum thinks transport fuels will pan out in our future with modelling from now to 2050.  It is an interesting document and I suggest you read it if you are at all interested in the future of transport fuels in Australia. Click the cover page below to download the PDF (1.5Mb).

challenges and opportunities (PDF)

CSIRO 2008: Fuel for thought - The future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities (PDF)

Apart from being relatively easy to read and informative for those of us without a scientific or economic background it provides great insight into the conservative information upon which our governments are making decisions that impact your future and mine. It isn’t all conservative mind you. The modelling for a continuing rise in demand for oil and a sharp decline in supply shows we could pay as much as $8 per litre for petrol in the not too distant future and the authors do stress the urgency with which alternatives for oil must be found.

While the document was written before the global financial crisis really started to bite the bulk of it remains relevant. If you do read it I’d like to know what you think so please leave a comment.

Advanced Engine Components is doing good business in China

Following on from its December 2008 deal with Tata Motors in India (previous post), Perth based Advanced Engine Components (AEC) has recently announced a $1.2m order for their Natural Gas Vehicle System (NGVS) kits and associated engine components from Aussen Engine (Aussen) in China. Aussen is building compressed natural gas (CNG) engines for buses and trucks. The buses are for Wuhan Public Transport. Wuhan, with a population over 9 million, is the capital of Hubei Province. The trucks are for the Guizhou Province.

Separate negotiations for delivery of a further $600,000 worth of NGVS kits to Wuxi Xilian Diesel Engine Manufacturing (Xilian)  is in final stages of negotiation with delivery expected by 30 April 2009. The CNG engines, to be built by Xilian, are for the Nanjing Xincheng Bus Company. Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province. Nanjing Xincheng Bus Company has been running fifty buses delivered in April 2008 that were built by Chongqing Hengtong Bus Company with Xilian AEC CNG engines. Xilian has also taken delivery of twenty two ACE NGVS kits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) bus engines for Haikou Public Transport Company. Haikou is the capital of Hainan Province.

Xiamen Kinglong Bus Company in Shaoxing has purchased and taken delivery of ten Weichai WT 615 LNG engines from AEC. The buses are for Hangzhou Public Transportation Company. The order follows extensive trials in a competitive tender situation.

Guiyang Public Traffic Company has purchased forty buses from Huanghai Bus Company in Dandong. The buses have FAW DDE 230 hp AEC LNG engines. The purchase follows eight months of competitive trials against other LNG engines.

At 31 December 2008 there were approximately 400 natural gas vehicles, using the ACE NGVS, in active service throughout China. The above sales are certain to at least double that number.

Source: Advance Engine Components (PDF)

Volvo truck engines to get Clean Air Power

UK based Clean Air Power has announced an agreement with Volvo to development and incorporate their Dual-Fuel™ technology into Volvo truck engines. Dual-Fuel™ is a patented system which enables heavy duty diesel engines to run on up to 90 percent natural gas with a small amount of diesel fuel providing the ignition source. The benefits are lower fuel costs and lower emission.

The intention of the agreement is that the resulting products will be marketed and supported by Volvo Trucks. The products will have the Clean Air Power technology fully interfaced with the Volvo engine management system and will be applied to Volvo’s D13 engine. Clean Air Power and Volvo engineers will work together to develop the products and the agreement provides for Clean Air Power to receive revenue from Volvo during the project.

Clean Air Power has over 1,600 Dual-Fuel™ installations operating in some very demanding environments around the world. Beginning in early 2007 Clean Air Power sold a minimum of 84 Dual-Fuel™ kits to Western Australian trucking company Mitchel Corp Australia Pty Ltd ( previous post). Mitchell’s fleet of LNG and diesel powered road trains (multi-trailer vehicles running at over 100 tonne gross vehicle weight) transport a range of goods on long haul journeys in and out of Perth, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie.

Locally produced four-cylinder Holden due in 2010

Holden and the Prime Minister held a combined press conference today at the Holden plant in Adelaide to announce the production of a new front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder car at the Elizabeth plant. The new car will be designed and engineered at Port Melbourne in Victoria and will commence production in the third quarter of 2010.

The car will be produced as a result of a co-investment agreement between the Federal Government, Holden and the South Australian Government. The Federal Governement will contribute $149 million under the $6.2 billion New Car Plan for a Green Future which is designed to transform the Australian automotive industry to produce fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles. It is understood the South Australian Government will be contributing $30 million.

The new car will be built on the General Motors global Delta small car platform. The initial models will feature direct-injection petrol and diesel engines. Hybrid engines and engines powered by alternative fuels, including LPG and E85 and CNG, have been mentioned as possibilities for future models.

Advanced Engine Components executes CNGV deal with Tata Motors

Not long ago we reported that Advanced Engine Components (AEC) in Western Australia had agreed a Letter of Intent to enter into a ten year Purchase Agreement with Tata Motors of India for the sale of natural gas vehicle systems, related components, spares and services. AEC have announced the execution of that deal with Tata.

AEC will design, develop, test and certify compressed natural gas (CNG) kits as part of the natural gas vehicle system (NGVS). The NGVS is for naturally aspirated and turbo charged CNG versions of Tata’s four and six cylinder engines for commercial vehicle application.

AEC has commenced development on the NGVS for the Tata CNG engines. A key component of the NGVS for the Tata engine development programme is completion of the fifth generation AEC electronic control unit (“ECU”). The fifth generation ECU is a significant advance on the current ECU incorporating simplified state of the art components, with incremental development capacity.