ACT Expo 2015
Autogas in Action at the Pump
Propane autogas dispensers have come a long way.
This is welcome news to fleet operators whose goals are to run a more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly operation.
PERC (the Propane Education & Research Council), a presenting sponsor of ACT Expo 2015 is providing timely information about why autogas makes sense at Booth 407. The clean, abundant and domestic alternative fuel results in reduced costs and better performance, and recent innovations at the pump have allowed for more accurate and simplified use for fleet operators.
All-inclusive web-based networked dispensers, advanced metering technology, more certifications and new fuel nozzles are streamlining the autogas refill process while providing greater efficiencies for fleet management.
Data Drives Decision
Until just a few years ago, it was a challenge for a fleet operator to capture data that proved propane autogas vehicles made business sense. Today’s web-based dispensers, like the new PRO-Vend 2000 from Superior Energy Systems (Booth 407), can track data for a virtually unlimited number of vehicles, drivers and customers.
A driver pulls up to a web-connected autogas dispenser, identifies himself through a keypad, and enters his personal identification number, vehicle number, mileage and any of the custom data fields his company requires. By recording fleet data like vehicle miles, miles per gallon and cost per mile, fleet managers can have real data to compare fuels.
Tailored system reports show whether the fleet is meeting its goals. Fleet operators can import that data into a third-party fuel management system and compare how their vehicles fueled by autogas are performing compared to their gasoline or diesel vehicles.
Some dispensers have touchscreen systems with a built-in video monitor that can be used for driver training, friendly fueling reminders – or even an advertisement.
Mass flow metering is another recent advancement. Mass flow meters eliminate “fuel slippage,” an unavoidable side effect with mechanical meters. No volume corrections are needed to account for fluid variables, resulting in more reliable, error-free fuel measurement. Units with mass flow meters also lower costs, as they require little to no maintenance compared with mechanical meters, and can be replaced less often since they have no moving parts.
Mass flow meters work by introducing coriolis force into the flow stream of a fuel dispenser, then measuring liquid flow by detecting the resulting change in fluid momentum. Mass flow meters are ideal for measuring liquefied gases such as autogas due to the fuel’s inherent temperature and pressure fluctuations.
Both CleanFuel USA (Booth 300) and Superior Energy Systems offer dispensers with mass flow meter technology.
Positive Fill Experience
Countries in Europe have been using it for years, and now a new lightweight “euro-style” nozzle is gaining momentum in the U.S. The benefits include a quick auto-connection, less emissions and faster fueling. Several propane autogas “euro nozzles” are on the market, including one manufactured by Sweden’s Staubli (Booth 1323) that Alliance AutoGas (Booth 312) and Superior Energy Systems use.
Mike Walters, VP of safety and training for Superior Energy Systems, says the nozzle simplifies the autogas refill process. He notes that no gloves or eyewear are needed to fuel. Todd Mouw, VP at Roush CleanTech (Booth 407), says that the euro nozzle offers a positive fill experience for the end user, reduces fugitive emissions, and puts the U.S. on par with how autogas is dispensed around the world.
There’s been a recent industry-wide consensus to standardize the euro nozzle instead of the Acme device currently used. To refill with the new nozzle, vehicles fueled by autogas can be retrofitted or an adaptor can be purchased.
Safe and Certified
Propane has long been known as a safe energy. And the fuel dispensers are no different. Propane autogas dispensing systems comply with all applicable National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, and are Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed and Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved. Now, many dispenser manufacturers are getting their units certified through the National Conference of Weights and Measures. The National Type Evaluation Program certification ensures national, uniform technical standards exist for weight and measuring devices and add yet another level of security for the end users.