October 28, 2013

The potential marriage of natural gas and transportation

At the Utica Summit 2014 in Canton, Ohio, major industry players discussed the potential of the region's natural gas boom.

At the Utica Summit 2014 in Canton, Ohio, major industry players discussed the potential of the region's natural gas boom. With the Marcellus and Utica shales producing huge amounts of natural gas and the potential for more future production, discussing the region's economic future necessarily includes the various applications of natural gas. One of the applications of natural gas that is often overlooked in discussions of energy and manufacturing is transportation.

Roe C. East, Cummins Inc.'s general manager for on-highway natural-gas business, touted the benefits of natural gas as fuel. In compressed form, it is an appealing alternative to diesel. According to East, it is 40 percent cheaper as a fuel than diesel and also 85 percent more fuel-efficient. It can save companies a significant amount of money, though currently there are not enough fueling stations nationwide to make it a truly viable alternative source of fuel for transportation. Many companies, including Lowe's, Frito-Lay and more, are working to change that by using compressed natural gas to fuel their vehicles and promising that they will use fueling stations that are installed in certain places.

Ohio already has a compressed natural gas fueling station near Canton, the only one in the state. SARTA operates it and uses compressed natural gas fueled vehicles for its local operations, according to The Canton Repository.